Since being elected president last November, Donald Trump has behaved like an angry chimpanzee, slinging its feces defiantly at faces seen only through the glass of a Twitter feed. Having turned the White House into a zoo, he is nonetheless unhappy to find himself the star exhibit.
While he has raged against his own chosen fate, the rest of the free world has found itself having to look after its own affairs. To an extent it hasn’t seen since World War Two. A leader was needed. The voice that has raised most clearly above the din, is that of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is up for reelection in another few weeks.
Germany’s general election is set to take place on Sept. 24. Chancellor Merkel is considered an overwhelming favorite to be elected for a fourth term. Her party is currently polling near 40 percent.
As recently as two years ago, this still was not the case. Her decision to open Germany’s borders to refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern or Third World areas was unpopular. It was considered unlikely she’d end up elected again. But that was all before the Brexit, which was hotly debated as recently as Thursday.
That was followed by the disaster of Donald Trump’s election, and the America First policies he promotes. These events, along with the strengthening on Russia’s position viz. the EU, have fundamentally altered the global political landscape. In this set of circumstances, her style of leadership has offered a quiet and unostentatious approach to navigating an increasingly darkening course.
This is new for us. We have all grown up in a world where American supremacy was always assured. Even at the height of the Soviet Union, we were always the stronger of the two superpowers. After it collapsed it wasn’t really necessary for Americans, including millennials, to know so much about elsewhere, particularly European elsewhere. There was so much going on here, after all, and they focused on it in school very little.
In the absence of a mighty Soviet Union to constantly fear and prepare against, and in the aftermath of 9/11, what global interest Americans have had has mostly been focused on the Middle East. As a result, a troubling stereotype has grown increasingly prevalent in Europe and other countries about American lack of knowledge and interest towards global affairs.
Even here, there is widespread concern about this. The late comedian Patrice O’Neal did a sketch making reference to this issue. “We don’t know the name of anybody else’s president, he said. We don’t know and we don’t care.”
There is some truth to that, as sad as it may be to admit-a 2007 study conducted by a George Washington University researcher showed 80 percent of the surveyed students didn’t know that India is the world’s largest democracy, and couldn’t point out places like Israel on a global map.
That all came to a screeching half, when Russia’s cyber-disinformation apparatus became strong enough to throw a stick in our wheels last year by successfully hamstringing Hillary Clinton.
Since then, it has become necessary to become very much interested in the affairs of other parts of the world, particularly Germany. With Trump on Putin’s side, they are the ones shouldering much of the weight of the torch for progress and liberal values. The one at the head of that procession is Angela Merkel.
This is why the eyes of all those concerned with the future of the world are pointed at Germany’s election on Sept. 24. In any civilization, it has always been the center of the populace who hold it together.
Millennials, who will be the ones responsible for the management of world affairs twenty years down the road, have a particular responsibility to educate ourselves on world affairs and take part in them here and now. The stakes are very high, and the danger is immediate and present.
Vladimir Putin has long been out to destroy Merkel. His attempts to undermine the German election, will be on behalf of the underdog Schulz. Putin was also for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and for the same reason. The inexperience and lack of discipline they bring to the table with them are weaknesses he can exploit.
With certainty, we can say that weak leadership will weaken also the countries they govern. It stands to reason Putin will wish to weaken his enemies in NATO. Tough and resolute world leaders, like Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton, know exactly what it takes to keep a bully like Putin from acting up on the geopolitical schoolyard. Of course he’d prefer their alternatives.
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who fled Russia to New York after being hounded out of his home country for opposing Putin, claims the Russian leader sees the removal of Mrs Merkel as the key to crushing the European Union.
By now it has become clear to all but the deliberately blind and woefully ignorant that what happened in November here in America was not an isolated event, nor one that should have been unexpected. Rather, it is part of a consistent and growing phase of aggressive Russian attempts to rebuild at the expense of NATO and the United States.
The rest of the European world has been dealing with this as it grew, for the last decade. Attempts to warn us have mostly fallen on deaf ears, and so our opportunity to catch it early has already long passed us by. And so we return to our current situation today, where far-right white nationalists in Germany had the indecency to pelt their own Chancellor with garbage.
In case anyone is still wondering why this affects us, simply consider that these are the very same Nazis we’re fighting over here. Putin is literally paying the bill for all of them. We’re tired of these people. We know them well. We saw them in Charlottesville, where they murdered our sister, Heather Heyer.
Richard Spencer, the despicable coward who claims to have invented the term “alt-right”, slobbers all over himself at the merest mention of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, describing the country as the “sole white power in the world.” He led a smaller protest in Charlottesville, in May, in which torch wielding white nationalists chanted “Russia is our friend.”
Matthew Heimbach, co-founder of the white supremacist Traditional Workers Party,was in attendance at the larger, lethal August rally. He’s got a lot of love for Putin, too.
“I really believe that Russia is the leader of the free world right now,” he recently told Business Insider. “Putin is supporting (white) nationalists around the world.”
In 2015, he led a rally at which Russian and Confederate flags were flown alongside each other.
Whether in America or Germany, the face of the enemy is the same, regardless of what country they’re from, or even whether or not they wear swastikas openly. Those who show up in number, to suppress free speech with violence, are Nazis. In order to fight them, we’ve got to stick together, and we’ve got to not stoop to their level.
What’s being threatened now is a very different type of struggle than ever before. A new type of World War seems to be looming on the horizon, a sort of Civil World War, with populists from the right and left squaring off in numerous countries and across borders around the world. This could be a conflict in which trenches are dug through backyards and in between houses. Nationalism will be an excuse, but the struggle will transcend all bounds and sides will have to be taken.
Until such a time as we can clean up our backyard, and resume our rightful place as leaders of the free world, Angela Merkel is the single biggest obstacle to that terrible fight beginning in earnest. In other words, that’s our people. We will not have Nazis pelting her with filth.
Our hearts are with the Chancellor of Germany and the European Union, and there’s a lot more of us then there are of them. So long as that’s the case, neither Putin, nor any other white nationalist, will ever lead the free world again.