Angela Merkel’s failure may be just what Europe needs

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionIn an unpredictable world, it’s always a pleasure to claim vindication for one’s own prophetic powers, and the political crisis in Germany — the inability of Angela Merkel to form a coalition government that keeps her country’s far right sidelined — could easily inspire an “I told you so” from those of us who have criticized the German chancellor and doubted her leader-of-the-free-world mystique.That mystique is undeserved because it is too kind to her decision, lauded for its idealism but ultimately deeply reckless and destabilizing, to swiftly admit a million-odd migrants into the heart of Europe in 2015.No recent move has so clearly highlighted the undemocratic, Berlin-dominated nature of European decision making and the gulf between the elite consensus and popular opinion. But while it’s possible that a Bourbon Restoration scenario awaits, in which our overclass learns nothing and forgets nothing during the Trumpian disruption, there is something mildly encouraging in the willingness of Merkel’s competitors in the political center, not just on the extreme right, to act as though they’ve learned lessons from her high-minded blunder, and to campaign and negotiate as if the public’s opinions about migration policy should actually prevail.Better that kind of crisis-generating move by far, in fact, than a grand coalition of parties united only in their anti-populism, and perfectly designed to ratify the populist critique that all the elites are in cahoots.What will save the liberal order, if it is to be saved, will be the successful integration of concerns that its leaders have dismissed or ignored back into normal political debate, an end to what Josh Barro of Business Insider has called “no-choice politics,” in which genuine ideological pluralism is something to be smothered with a pillow.In Angela Merkel’s Europe right now, that should mean making peace with Brexit, ceasing to pursue ever further political centralization by undemocratic means, breaking up the ‘60s-era intellectual cartels that control the commanding heights of culture, creating space for religious resistance to the lure of nihilism and suicide — and accepting that the days of immigration open doors are over, and the careful management of migrant flows is a central challenge for statesmen going forward.But a necessary first step, in the country that really rules the continent, would be for more people to recognize that if Merkel’s long rule is threatened it need not be a sign of liberalism in crisis, but rather an indicator that it could yet be restored to health.Ross Douthat is an op-ed columnist with The New York Times.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? And no move has contributed so much to the disturbances since — the worsening of Europe’s terrorism problem, the shock of Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, and the growing divide between the EU’s Franco-German core and its eastern nations.So it’s fitting that the immigration issue has finally come back to undercut Merkel directly, first costing her votes in Germany’s last election, which saw unprecedented gains for the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, and then making a potential grand coalition impossible in part because the centrist, pro-business Free Democrats now see an opportunity in getting to Merkel’s right on migration policy.Yes, thanks to the continued fallout from her rash decision, and just as her critics predicted, Germany stares into the abyss of … well, actually, no, it doesn’t really stare into the abyss at all.It just has to choose between a new election, which would probably deliver the same divisions but would still leave the nationalists stuck at 10-15 percent of the vote and Merkel’s party with a plurality, and a minority government led by Merkel herself, which would be a novelty in Berlin but which is normal enough in other stable Western countries.Both options promise problems that Germany hasn’t had to deal with in its modern and unified shape, but also problems that are quite routine for developed-world democracies.Neither option is going to suddenly elevate the AfD to power, unravel the European Union or bring National Socialism lurching back to life.As political crises go, the one Merkel has brought upon her country isn’t exactly a Weimar moment, or even a Trump-scale shock.center_img And for all the pleasures of “I told you so,” those of us who never bought into the Merkel mystique should not pretend that she’s delivered some sort of catastrophe just yet.Instead, what she’s delivered is an opportunity for leaders in Germany and in the wider West to learn from her mistakes. For all the understandable talk about the crisis of Western liberalism, the political chaos of the last few years has also demonstrated that many supposed agents of post-liberalism are unready to really push the liberal order to the breaking point.President Donald Trump is a political weakling, not a Caesar; Marine Le Pen can’t break 35 percent of France’s presidential vote; the Islamic State has all-but-fallen.Which means that the custodians of the liberal order, the kind of people wringing their hands over Merkel’s present struggles, still have an opportunity to prove their critics wrong, to show that their worldview is more adaptable to changed circumstances than it has seemed.I’m not sure they’re ready for that adaptation; instead, my sense of the state of Western elites after Trump and Brexit is similar to the analysis offered recently by Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review.Dougherty has been circulating in high-level confabs since Trump’s election and reports a persistent mood of entitlement and ‘90s nostalgia — a refusal to take responsibility for foreign policy failures, to admit that post-national utopianism was oversold, to reckon with the social decay and spiritual crisis shadowing the cosmopolitan dream.Indeed, all the high-level agita surrounding Germany’s political crisis — good heavens, not a minority government! — suggests a basic deficiency of elite imagination that will be one of the things that brings down the liberal order if it does eventually fall.last_img read more

Read More »

Richardson eyes up Leeds

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Read More »

Army fights move to quit £100m barracks

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Read More »

The vision thing

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Read More »

Man U about town

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Read More »

Midtown faces style challenge

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Read More »

PREMIUMAfter coalition splits up, PKS, Gerindra face off for Jakarta’s deputy governor post

first_imgFacebook Topics : LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Log in with your social account Linkedin Google city-council Two former coalition partners, the Gerindra Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), are set to duel over the long-vacant deputy governor post in Jakarta in a fresh race after their post-presidential election break-up.The two, which supported now-Governor Anies Baswedan in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, have both claimed control over the second highest position in the city administration and named their own members to compete in a selection process at the Jakarta Legislative Council (DPRD Jakarta).  Gerindra named lawmaker Ahmad Riza Patria as its nominee for the position while PKS backed former city councilor Nurmansjah Lubis. Both have begun to lobby political parties to back them in the voting at the council.  “As a candidate, my task is to communicate, to discuss [with the parties],” said Ahmad on Tuesday.He still has to tende… Forgot Password ?last_img read more

Read More »

Boeing will need ‘several quarters’ to return 737 Max fleet to skies

first_imgBoeing suspended production of its best-selling aircraft in January, 10 months after regulators grounded the plane following two fatal crashes linked to a software issue. The company said last week it had discovered another software problem on the plane, but still aims to get the jet flying again by mid-2020, a deadline it previously said includes room for additional flaws.The time needed to return the Max fleet to service, before Boeing picks up the pace of production, will do little to ease pressure on Boeing’s suppliers.Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, a maker of fuselage, engine pylons and wing components which depends on the Max for half of its sales, has slashed its dividend to preserve cash and laid off 2,800 employees. Supplier United Technologies has said sales and profit will take a hit this year from the crisis that has engulfed the Max.One key element of returning the jet to service is training pilots on simulators. While countries like India have advised Boeing to set up simulators locally, Tinseth on Tuesday said existing equipment should cover all training requirements.“The training that will be linked to the Max is manageable with the simulators that are in the market,” Tinseth said. “If we look at the footprint today that we see in the market, we look at the retraining that is going to be needed to bring those planes back into the marketplace, we’re OK.”Topics : Boeing said it will take “several quarters” to return the global 737 Max fleet to the skies following a grounding that has left about 700 planes on the tarmac.“We are not going to over-stress the system,“ Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president for marketing, said in an interview Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow.The Chicago-based manufacturer will first ensure the 400 planes with customers and the 300 more stored in factories are flying again before ramping up production, Tinseth said. “The process of doing this will take several quarters,” he said.last_img read more

Read More »

Saudi Arabia imposes temporary ban on ‘umrah’ pilgrims amid coronavirus concerns

first_img“We ask the management of umrah travel agencies to be proactive in conveying this information to the pilgrims,” he added, saying that the ministry was awaiting further information from the Saudi government.Read also: Airline fares cut to boost sales amid COVID-19 scareGolkar Party lawmaker Ace Hasan Syadzily has responded to the news of the umrah suspension, saying that he was still awaiting an official confirmation from Saudi authorities.“If such a policy is indeed in effect, we are honestly shocked,” Ace said on Thursday, adding that he had expected the Saudi administration to have been more prepared in anticipating the viral outbreak given that the country had also faced a similar challenge in 2013.“We are, of course, thinking about umrah pilgrims who have been scheduled to depart soon for the country. They surely must have been looking forward to their departure, in accordance with the original schedule as organized by their travel agencies.”He went on to say that he expected further explanation from Saudi officials regarding the duration of the ban, as well as whether the Saudi administration has recorded any confirmed coronavirus cases among umrah pilgrims. (rfa)Topics : In an unprecedented move that will likely have massive repercussions the world over, Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporary ban on all umrah (minor haj) pilgrims to keep the county safe from the coronavirus.As reported by Arab News, the temporary ban was one of several precautionary restrictions announced on Thursday as health authorities in the country observed the latest developments of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.In addition to umrah pilgrims, the Saudi government will also impose a similar ban on tourist-visa holders from “countries judged to pose a particularly high risk of spreading the virus”. Read also: Going to a country with COVID-19 cases? Here are the Foreign Ministry’s recommendations for Indonesian travelersThe country welcomes nearly 7 million umrah pilgrims every year, most of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah. Data from the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry show that, as of last December, Indonesia contributed the second highest number of umrah pilgrims with 443,879 arrivals, just below Pakistan with 495,270.Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry staffer Ubaidillah Amin Moch said that requests for umrah visas and other visas to Saudi Arabia would be stopped as of Thursday and that a number of pilgrims had been held up at the airport due to the new restrictions.“We respect Saudi Arabia’s decision as part of an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and we ask all Indonesian umrah pilgrims to be patient while we wait for the Saudi government to reopen [access],” he said in a statement on Thursday. last_img read more

Read More »

Israeli supreme court allows surrogacy for same-sex couples, single men

first_imgIsrael’s supreme court on Thursday authorised surrogacy for same-sex couples and single men wishing to have children.Only heterosexual married couples were able to access surrogacy in Israel until 2018, when a law was passed permitting it for single women or those unable to bear children — but not for same-sex couples or single men.”We have won! It’s an emotional day when Israel has finally taken a step towards the advanced countries in the world on rights for LGBT people,” Julien Bahloul, spokesperson for the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, said in a statement. Bahloul launched an appeal against the law in 2018.”We are happy that the supreme court has made this courageous and just decision,” he added.The court said Thursday that parliament “has 12 months to put an end to the discrimination against same-sex couples and single men”.The decision comes just days before a general election in Israel, a country considered a trailblazer for gay rights but where same-sex relationships remain a taboo among religious conservatives.Parties allied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular ultra-Orthodox groups, are vehemently opposed to allowing surrogacy for LGBT people and single men.Netanyahu’s main rival Benny Gantz, head of the centrist Blue and White party, said that only a government led by him could put forward a law in line with the supreme court decision.Topics :last_img read more

Read More »