The German people have developed a preference for the status quo, writes AICGS Trustee and former German Ambassador to the United States Wolfgang Ischinger. The world is fundamentally changing, yet German politicians are responding passively in concert with the status quo preference, a shortsighted view that does nothing but harm future generations of Germans and Europeans, Ischinger argues. This essay originally appeared in the July 6, 2011, edition of Der Spiegel.
As the financial crisis within the euro zone widens, governments have been at a loss for immediate action to resolve the situation. In an essay based off of his remarks given at a recent AICGS conference on Balancing Global Macroeconomic Discrepancies, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics suggests that the Brady Plan from the Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s might provide a good model for the euro zone as it tries to extricate itself from further crisis.
In this week’s At Issue, Executive Director Dr. Jackson Janes examines how the FDP lost support since the 2009 election and the challenges they – and all parties – face in getting voters to buy in to their messages.
In the case of the recent Land elections in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, the use of the word ‘sensational,’ for once, seems justified, writes Dr. Simon Green, Professor of Politics at Aston University, UK, and a frequent contributor to the Advisor. The results show that the Greens are the party of the moment, Dr. Green contends, but the realities of governing in Baden-Württemberg will present a challenge and at the federal level, Chancellor Merkel’s position continues to look somewhere between safe and unassailable.
As violence continues in Libya, NATO has taken the lead in enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1973 by “all necessary measures,” the result of strenuous debates on who should be in charge. The mission – as well as the considerations leading to NATO’s decision – has ignited an intense debate in public discourse and in policymaking circles. The analysts of the NATO Defense College in Rome, including regular contributor Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp, have assembled their views on the situation and present some options for the Alliance as it continues the mission in Libya.
The CDU has been in charge in Baden-Württemberg either solely or with a coalition since the 1950s and a CDU loss of leadership here would be a serious blow to Merkel’s position as chairman of the party. Up until recently, the CDU has been in good position to maintain power with Minister-President Stefan Mappus and an economy that is doing very well given its strong manufacturing base. However, nuclear power concerns after Japan will dominate the debate, and the Greens look poised to potentially have their first-ever Minister-President in Winfried Kretschmann.
Mostly overshadowed by the same-day election in Baden-Württemberg, the neighboring state of Rhineland-Palatinate has been in the hands of the Social Democrats (in coalition with the FDP until 2006) since the early 1990s. Minister-President Kurt Beck remains popular and the state is also doing well economically; booming high-tech and pharmaceutical companies result in Rhineland-Palatinate having the highest rate of exports among all Länder. Still, this tumultuous election year shows that nothing can be taken for granted, and this election will also come down to the wire.
In this week’s At Issue, Executive Director Dr. Jackson Janes examines Germany’s abstention from the UN vote on Libya and the questions surrounding the German and other European responses to the continuing developments in the larger region.
When it comes to Libya, the Merkel government finds itself on the defensive on many fronts, writes DAAD/AICGS Fellow Pia Niedermeier. The German government has correctly pointed out that a political vision for the conflict is missing, Ms. Niedermeier argues, but it must also take the blame for not developing such a vision together with its partners.
In Saxony-Anhalt, the retirement of Minister-President Wolfgang Böhmer has opened the door to aspiring leaders Reiner Haseloff (CDU) and Jens Bullerjahn (SPD), who would like nothing more than to avoid another CDU-SPD ‘grand coalition’ in the government. Currently, the SPD looks likely to retain its position in the majority, but whether that will be in a coalition with the CDU, the Left Party, or the Left Party and the Greens remains to be seen. Another victory here for the SPD on March 20 would add to the momentum gained in Hamburg. AICGS has compiled essential links and media coverage surrounding the election in Sachsen-Anhalt, and will do so for each of the remaining Land elections throughout the year.