For many years German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been regarded, with reason, as the most powerful woman in the world. Over the past few months Merkel’s authority has diminished precipitously, however, mainly due to her irrational immigration policy. That much became obvious at last weekend’s emergency EU summit on immigration.
The meeting was hastily convened at Merkel’s insistence to develop a joint European strategy to deal with the ongoing migrant onslaught. In reality it was meant to be “Operation Save Mutti”: a means of preventing her government’s collapse by showing that the Union can develop a tougher immigration strategy. Her goal was to ease the pressure from the Christian Social Union (CSU)—her Christian Democratic Party’s (CDU) Bavarian partner—which had threatened to leave her ruling coalition unless she agreed to end her open door policy. CSU leader Horst Seehofer had threatened to resign as Germany’s interior minister unless Merkel agreed to refuse entry to migrants who had applied for asylum elsewhere in the EU, potentially forcing an early election at which the Alternative for Germany (AfD) would be likely to increase its share of the vote.
“This is not about whether Frau Merkel stays as Chancellor next week or not,” Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, announced as he came out of the meeting in Brussels. Unwittingly (or perhaps mendaciously), he let the cat out of the bag. Indeed, the summit’s true objective was to appease Merkel’s domestic detractors—but the task proved to be beyond her. The former powerbroker of Europe has been reduced to the mendicant pleading for the appearance of unanimity on a key issue which has divided the EU and changed the political landscape of Europe beyond recognition.
The Brussels “deal” merely asks member-countries to voluntarily accept migrants in the name of “solidarity,” and to settle them in “processing centers” (don’t call them “camps,” please!). It does not say where those centers would be located, how they would be organized, or where unsuccessful asylum seekers would go in the end. It also proposes the creation of “disembarkation platforms” in non-EU countries, to deter Africans and others from crossing the Straits of Sicily. It is some light years away from Merkel’s earlier calls for a “joint European solution” which would have entailed mandatory resettlement quotas, and thus facilitated the creation of Sharia-based no-go areas in Central European countries unaffected by the demographic jihad thus far.
The plan is a meaningless fudge. For starters, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt have already announced that they will not cooperate in setting up migrant processing centers on their territory; in reality they may relent, but only if their leaders are encouraged with billions of mainly German taxpayers’ euros. The Visegrad Four (Hungary, Poland, Bohemia and Slovakia) are adamant that they will not accept a single migrant, either voluntarily or under mandatory EU quita system previously proposed by Merkel. Italy’s sovereignist new government is skeptical: its leaders note that there is no binding agreement, and that “voluntary” EU arrangements invariably fail. Whatever its operating terms, “the deal highlights Merkel’s journey from championing Wir schaffen das to running a government with an ever-tougher approach to migration.” Her forced conversion is only tactical, though. She remains, somewhat inexplicably, a population-replacement fanatic at heart; but she has run out of good options to maintain the old consensus.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country took over the EU six-month presidency on July 1, says that protecting European citizens – not showing “solidarity” and “compassion,” as per Merkel’s standard rhetoric – remained the bloc’s top priority: “We need a paradigm shift in our migration policy. We need to focus more on the safeguarding of our external borders as the precondition for a common border-free Europe.” Herr Kurz and his Danish counterpart Lars Løkke Rasmussen a month ago suggested sending failed asylum applicants to camps inside Europe, but outside the EU borders. (Let it be added this plan would resolve nothing in the long term, as most migrants would remain within a few hours’ journey from the EU heartland where they long to go—and it may have catastrophic consequences for the non-EU countrues in the Balkans.)
The circle between Merkel’s and Kurz’s visions cannot be squared. In 2015 Merkel’s open-door policy flooded Germany with over a million unassimilable, unemployable, often hostile and disproportionally criminal-minded aliens, most of them young Muslim men from the Greater Middle East. Their presence has drastically reduced the quality of life of millions of Germans who had never been asked whether they supported the influx. The rise of the AfD reflects a tectonic shift in the country’s politics. Even within Merkel’s CDU, Chancellor Kurz (31) is seen by many as the role-model for a new generation of leaders who could turn a new leaf, after decades of tepid centrism, failed pandering to multiculturalism, and last year’s worst electoral result since 1949.
To Germany’s east, Viktor Orban in Budapest, Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Warsaw, and their less outspoken but staunchly like-minded colleagues in Prague and Bratislava, have every reason to revel in the way their position on immigration has been vindicated in countries as diverse as Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and Denmark. The balance of power in Europe has shifted, irreversibly, away from Merkel’s liberal consensus which ruled the Old Continent only two years ago. It is an even bet that the Leaderin will not remain at the helm for the three remaining years of her unprecedented fourth term. It is well-nigh certain that she will not run for Germany’s top office again. To her chagrin, millions of Europeans—Germans included—are rediscovering the vital importance of identity and cohesion based on shared ancestry and culture. The discourse in Brussels has not caught up with this new reality, but in the fulness of time it will.
As I noted in these pages nine months ago, Merkel’s 2015 migrant experiment was a massive and unprecedented exercise in social engineering, worthy of similar national-socialist and communist horrors. It is not by chance that the survivors of red totalitarianism in the former German Democratic Republic and their descendants are voting for the AfD en masse. It is also not surprising that the former Soviet bloc countries of the Visegrad group remain solidly united in defense of national sovereignty and cohesion. They know ideologically driven idiots when they see them, and they are able and willing to stand up to them. Merkel’s greatest contribution to the history of Europe may be that with her suicidal bullying she has forced millions of otherwise complacent hedonists to wake up. Angela delenda est.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.