Angela Merkel should realise that with the fall of Berlin Wall, demise of communism and breakup of Soviet Union, a new chapter in world history had opened.
On 16 December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported to have stated at Davos that the new world order based on globalism was being destroyed by US President Donald Trump. She did not approve of the US President’s message of “polarisation, protectionism and populism”. She poured scorn on the popular patriotic movement currently sweeping across the Europe, the United States, Australia, Brazil and other parts of the world.
Evidently, Frau Angela Merkel is living in the past. She is not in step with time. If she were a student of history, she would realise that with the fall of the Berlin Wall in her own country, the demise of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, a new chapter in world history had opened. The world had sighed with relief that the Cold War or World War III had ended and the Damocles’ sword of a nuclear blow-up had retreated into its scabbard. The world had tired of the butchery and destruction witnessed in World War II, which had spread right across the Eurasian landmass, without leaving out fringes of Africa. Not long before this ghastly phase, the killing of 50 million people had taken place in WW I, which again, had witnessed senseless carnage. Imagine the civilisational fatigue that had been witnessed in a matter of 31 years.
In their wisdom, world leaders stepped out to abolish, even if gradually, nationalism, which they perceived as the cause of these ugliest three decades in history. They banked on the United Nations Organization to be a shadow of a global confederation, a world order, a platform wherefrom nations could speak but do little in the way of fighting. This was the new world order dreamt of by the idealists, which Angela Merkel spoke about at Davos. The dream, however, lasted only as long as the statesmen slept. They woke up to find two big blocs, one led by the US and the other by the Soviet Union, manufacturing nuclear weapons. Although they were allies in WWII, so began the Cold War or World War III.
Another name for it was the balance of terror. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had taught the combatants what nuclear weapons meant and hence no bomb was burst during the new war. However, the Soviet bloc, known as the Second World, lost more than could be imagined. The US and its allies, called the First World, won hands down. This happened in 1991 and yet another new chapter in history was opened.
Angela Merkel was the leader who was born with this chapter and continues to loyally stick by that chapter. She did not realise, what Prof Samuel Huntington predicted in terms of the clash of civilisations, had commenced at Munich in her own country in the 1972 Olympic Games when a dozen Israeli athletes were massacred by West Asian terrorists. Although realised much later, this was the beginning of a clash between Islamists and virtually the rest of the world. At least five of the six continents have been involved. With the election of Jair Bolsonaro as the President of Brazil, it is apprehended that the clash may have touched the shores of even the sixth continent, namely, Latin America.
Regardless of these developments, it should have been clear soon after the breakup of the Soviet Union that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had become redundant: who was this organisation against? It was established in 1949 as the first ring around Communist Russia in defence of the free world in general and Western Europe in particular. The second part of the ring was the Baghdad Pact, which became the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). The third was the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The last two treaties were wound up in due course, but the first still survives at an enormous expenditure, with the US paying most for it. Being across the Atlantic Ocean, America faced the least danger and yet paid the most. President Donald Trump has raised this question 25 years after it could have been. Yet, Frau Merkel sees this questioning as “destabilisation”.
The lady could not understand that the Islamists are on a warpath. She could not anticipate that more and more Muslim migrants would be arriving in Western Europe. Some kind of a defensive arrangement, call it a wall or otherwise, should have been made around the European Union. It was not difficult to anticipate that the offensive by the ISIS in Iraq and Syria would cause an exodus from these countries. Instead, Frau Merkel prepared herself to welcome the Syrian migrants into Germany. Moreover, along with France, Berlin worked out how many migrants each EU country should be prepared to host. Not unexpectedly, a number of EU members protested. Poland, Hungary, Austria, Spain and later Italy put their foot down and said a big no to immigration. Now, Frau Merkel has realised her folly and has offered each migrant 3,000 euros as a return package. Notwithstanding, she has the audacity to question President Trump, implicitly also his building the wall against Mexican migrants rushing into the US.
Instead of helplessly watching North Korea brandishing its nuclear potential, President Trump intervened with the ultimate hope of inducing this Chinese satellite to disarm. In the bargain, one could allege that he has interfered with the Chinese backyard. He has reopened the issue of US-China trade relations as the former found it to be disadvantageous. Consequently, the various commitments which had been made on the platform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) may need revision. Not every effect of the agreement could be envisaged by every country and amendments became necessary. A conservative observer would criticise an upward revision of import export tariffs as going back on one’s word. Whereas Donald Trump would see it as serving his country’s best interests.
Even when former President Barack Hussein Obama had a nuclear agreement signed between the US and Iran, there were sceptics who suspected that the latter’s intentions were to go nuclear militarily. They were not entirely for having nuclear fuel for peaceful uses. President Trump was one of the sceptics. As a result, he reopened the agreement, which met with Iranian disapproval. Hence the sanctions on its trade were re-imposed.
Coming to Judea, the Trump administration saw greater advantage by getting closer to Israel than merely being politically correct. The President therefore recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transferred its embassy there from Tel Aviv. When the ancient city was divided with Palestine, the latter was the capital. No other country protested, but some European leaders might have seen the change as pro-Semetic and not fair to Palestine. Frau Merkel is clearly a conservative and to that extent not in step with time as seen in her treatment of the Syrian migrants. Not everyone realises that there is no present except for some fleeting seconds. One can therefore mentally live either in the past or alternatively in the future. The German Chancellor appears to belong to the former category. Whereas, Donald Trump wants to catch up with time. “For the first time, an American President believes that Europe is a has-been”, in the words of Bruno Macães, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, trying to explain the Trump doctrine. Briefly, Trump’s approach to Europe is this: he will not allow the United States to be dragged down with Europe, even if that means bringing about a new schism in the trans-Atlantic alliance.