American Jewish Committee begrüßt Stellenwert Israels im Koalitionsvertrag: „Sicherheit Israels für uns nicht verhandelbar“.

December 2, 2013

Pressemitteilung

Berlin, den 02.12.2013

Das American Jewish Committee (AJC) begrüßt das deutliche Bekenntnis zu Deutschlands Verantwortung für die Sicherheit Israels im Koalitionsvertrag und wertet die Aussagen als wichtiges Fundament für den Ausbau der deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen. Zugleich mahnt das AJC vor dem Hintergrund der jüngsten EU-Antisemitismusstudie die zügige Umsetzung des Bundestags-Maßnahmenbeschlusses an.

„Dass in diesem Koalitionsvertrag noch stärker als in der vergangenen Vereinbarung von 2009 die besondere Verpflichtung Deutschlands für den Schutz der Sicherheit Israels betont wird, zeigt den besonderen Stellenwert der deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen auf. Wir begrüßen zudem, dass die Feierlichkeiten zum 50-jährigen Jubiläum der Aufnahme diplomatischer Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Israel für das Jahr 2015 im Koalitionsvertrag hervorgehoben werden und das deutsch-israelische Verhältnis dadurch eine besondere Würdigung erhält“, so Deidre Berger, Direktorin des AJC Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations.

Im Koalitionsvertrag heißt es: „Wir bekennen uns zu der besonderen Verantwortung Deutschlands gegenüber Israel als jüdischem und demokratischem Staat und dessen Sicherheit. Das Existenzrecht und die Sicherheit Israels sind für uns nicht verhandelbar. 2015 feiern wir das 50-jährige Jubiläum der Aufnahme diplomatischer Beziehungen zum Staat Israel. Dieses Jubiläum wird die Bundesregierung angemessen würdigen.“

Auch die transatlantischen Beziehungen werden im Vertrag besonders betont.

„Ein wichtiges Signal angesichts der jüngsten Spionage-Diskussionen“, sagte Berger weiter.

Beim Thema Antisemitismus und Rechtsextremismus wollen CDU/CSU und SPD zivilgesellschaftliche Initiativen und Programme verstetigen. Weitergehende Umsetzungsstrategien zum Thema Antisemitismus finden sich im Koalitionsvertrag jedoch nicht. Erst am 13. Juni beschloss der Deutsche Bundestag einen fraktionsübergreifenden Antrag zum Thema Antisemitismus. Die Resolution forderte die Bundesregierung dazu auf, den Maßnahmen-Katalog zur Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus umzusetzen.

„Die Ergebnisse der jüngsten EU-Studie, wonach mehr als 63% der deutschen Juden angaben, das Tragen jüdischer Symbole aus Angst vor Antisemitismus zu vermeiden, erhöhen den Handlungsdruck. Es braucht nun einen Umsetzungsplan der beschlossenen Maßnahmen, auch damit die Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus verbindlicher und kontinuierlicher erfolgen kann“, sagte Berger weiter.

Der Bundestags-Beschluss vom 13. Juni sieht unter anderem Förderprogramme zum deutsch-israelischen Austausch, Maßnahmen zur Unterstützung von Holocaust-Überlebenden durch deutsche Jugendliche und eine bessere Darstellung jüdischen Lebens im deutschen Schulunterricht vor.

Zum Thema Ghettorente vereinbarten CDU/CSU und SPD, dass „den berechtigten Interessen der Holocaust-Überlebenden nach einer angemessenen Entschädigung für die in einem Ghetto geleistete Arbeit Rechnung getragen wird“.

„Es ist wichtig, dass die zukünftigen Koalitionsparteien endlich eine Lösung beim Thema Ghettorenten erzielen wollen. Nun kommt es darauf an, dass CDU/CSU und SPD in den nächsten drei Monaten einen Umsetzungsplan für das Thema Ghettorenten vorlegen. Die noch wenigen Überlebenden können nicht noch länger warten, um verspätete Entschädigungszahlungen zu bekommen“, so Berger abschließend.

Pressekontakt

Deidre Berger, Director

Email: berlin@ajc.org

American Jewish Committee (AJC) Berlin Office

Leipziger Platz 15, Mosse Palais

10117 Berlin

Tel.: +49 (0)30 22 65 94-0

Fax: +49 (0)30 22 65 94-14


Wolfgang Kubicki: „Große Koalition ist großer Mist“

November 28, 2013

FDP-Präsidiumsmitglied und Vorsitzender der FDP-Fraktion im Landtag von Schleswig-Holstein Wolfgang Kubicki hat die Große Koalition wegen nicht eingehaltener Wahlversprechen und mangelhafter Wirtschaftspolitik kritisiert.

1

In einem „Stern“-Gastbeitrag wirft er der Bundeskanzlerin vor, die deutsche Wirtschaft durch staatliche Eingriffe zu schwächen. Immerhin seien die meisten Versäumnisse der Koalitionsverhandlungen der SPD zuzuschreiben.

Zum Artikel.


Neues aus der Anstalt: Das Guttenberg-Syndrom in der Politik

December 25, 2011

Ein Kommentar von David Berger

WAS KÖNNEN WIR VOM VERHALTEN DES QUARTALS-IRREN DER KONSERVATIVEN GUTTENBERG LERNEN?

Mit Glämour wollte der Telenovela-Populist Karl-Theodor beim Fußvolk punkten, was ihm gelungen ist, da die Massen bekanntlich dumm und leicht manipulierbar sind. Eine heile Welt und schnelle Lösungen zu allen Problemen versprach denen der Messias des deutschen Stammtisches.

Wie es sich an der Bundeswehr-Reform herausstellte, ist davon nicht viel übrig geblieben, ausser mehr Probleme, die sein Nachfolger Thomas De Maizière ausbaden muss…

Mit mimosenhaften Verhalten, den man sonst nur aus dem Kindergarten kennt, meldet sich der narzissistische Baron zurück. Auf der einen Seite, Schelte für die Parteikollegen austeilen (nach dem Motto: “Ihr habt mein Spielzeug kaputt gemacht!”), auf der anderen Seite Mitleid beim Stammtisch suchen, um zumindest als Märtyrer bei denen besser anzukommen (nach dem Motto: “Seht ihr, sie sind alle böse zu mir!”).

Diagnose: Patient Guttenberg leidet offensichtlich an einer negativen narzisstischen Persönlichkeitsstörung.

Die Betonung liegt auf “negativ”, weil Selbstliebe an sich gut ist. Schlimm wird es erst, wenn der Patient an mangelndem Selbstwertgefühl leidet. Vermutlich hatte dieser Patient als Kind nicht genug Bestätigung von seinen Eltern bekommen. Die sucht er nun bei der Öffentlichkeit.

Rezept: solche Patienten sollte man möglichst den Zutritt zum Polit-Geschäft verweigern. Gefährlich und unberechenbar, daher ungeeignet ein politisches Amt zu bekleiden.


Zum Ausklang eines Jahrzehnts der Angst und Hoffnung

December 31, 2010

Eine Glosse von Narcisse Caméléon, Ressortleiter Deppologie

“Es gibt keine Hoffnung ohne Angst und keine Angst ohne Hoffnung” verkündete einst der Philosoph Baruch de Spinoza. 

11. September 2001, globaler Terror und Kriege, Epidemien, Finanzkrisen, aber auch Fortführung der digitalen Revolution, Einführung des Euro, listiger Sieg der historischen Vernunft i.e. Gleichstellung in den USA mit dem ersten schwarzen Präsidenten, und in Deutschland mit der ersten Frau als Bundeskanzlerin: Das erste Jahrzehnt des XXI. Jahrhunderts  wird sicherlich als das Jahrzehnt der Angst und Hoffnung in die Geschichte eingehen.

Angesichts dieser schwebenden Dialektik zwischen Furcht und Aussicht, zwischen Demagogie und Pädagogie, zwischen Obskurantimus und Aufklärung, zwischen Manipulation und Emanzipation, stellt sich die Frage des kommenden Jahrzehnts: Was ist ein Menschenleben wert in einem vom Informationsüberfluss behafteten Zeitalter? Was ist der Menschen Leben im Zeitalter des “letzten Menschen”, in dem Freizeit Freiheit definitiv begraben hat?

Was ist der Menschen Leben?

von Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843)

Was ist der Menschen Leben? ein Bild der Gottheit.

Wie unter dem Himmel wandeln die Irdischen alle, sehen

Sie diesen. Lesend aber gleichsam, wie

In einer Schrift, die Unendlichkeit nachahmen und den /Reichtum

Menschen. Ist der einfältige Himmel

Denn reich? Wie Blüten sind ja

Silberne Wolken. Es regnet aber von daher

Der Tau und das Feuchte. Wenn aber

Das Blau ist ausgelöschet, das Einfältige, scheint

Das Matte, das dem Marmelstein gleichet, wie Erz,

Anzeige des Reichtums.


WikiLeaks Bullshit: Much Ado About Nothing, False Flag, Strategia della Tensione, or Sabotage Act against U.S. Foreign Policy?

November 29, 2010
WIKILEAKS REAL AGENDA

WIKILEAKS REAL AGENDA

A Satirical Op-Ed by Narcisse Caméléon, deputy editor-in-chief

***

On Bullshit: It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose. (Princeton University Professor Harry Frankfurt)

And if, to be sure, sometimes you need to conceal a fact with words, do it in such a way that it does not become known, or, if it does become known, that you have a ready and quick defense. (Niccolò Machiavelli)
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. (Edward L. Bernays)

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. (Edward L. Bernays)

WikiLeaks released yesterday a batch of about 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, exposing confidential information about U.S. relationships with the rest of the world and U.S. assessments of foreign leaders.

The White House denounced the disclosures as “reckless and dangerous".

The White House denounced the disclosures as “reckless and dangerous".

In light of the revelations, apparently leaked by US Army soldier Bradley Manning, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information (check out statement below).

The cables – a sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates – specify that Iran has obtained nineteen BM-25 missiles from North Korea with a range adequate to reach western Europe, and they also document Arab leaders calls for a military strike on Iran.

The documents also divulge U.S. diplomats were ordered to engage in spying by obtaining foreign diplomats’ personal information, such as frequent-flier and credit card numbers. The documents could abash the Obama administration and destabilize its diplomacy. In cables drafted by U.S. diplomats, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is called “Emperor without clothes”, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is described as an “alpha-dog,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “driven by paranoia,” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “avoids risk and is rarely creative.” It also allegedly said that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi never travels without a trusted Ukraninan nurse, a ‘voluptuous blond’.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs expressed concern in a statement that Wikileaks release could jeopardize private talks with foreign governments and opposition leaders. The Pentagon announced yesterday it will take action to prevent future illegal releases of classified information.

In a opinion piece for the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, calls these revelations an act of sabotage. Really? Or: Better bad press than no press at all? Or Bullshit as usual…

Read full story.

***

Remarks to the Press on the Release of Confidential Documents

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
November 29, 2010
Hillary is very angry about the disclosures...

Hillary is very angry about the disclosures...


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Do we have enough room in here? I want to take a moment to discuss the recent news reports of classified documents that were illegally provided from United States Government computers. In my conversations with counterparts from around the world over the past few days, and in my meeting earlier today with Foreign Minister Davutoglu of Turkey, I have had very productive discussions on this issue.

The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. This Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.

So let’s be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.

I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority – and we are proud of the progress that they have helped achieve – and they will remain at the center of our efforts.

I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world.

I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information. I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.

Relations between governments aren’t the only concern created by the publication of this material. U.S. diplomats meet with local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside of governments who offer their own candid insights. These conversations also depend on trust and confidence. For example, if an anti-corruption activist shares information about official misconduct, or a social worker passes along documentation of sexual violence, revealing that person’s identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, even death.

So whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.

Now, I am aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so I want to set the record straight: There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends.

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems – to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability. This is the role that America plays in the world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud.

The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans, but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government.

People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern. I know that diplomats around the world share this view – but this is not unique to diplomacy. In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. And so despite some of the rhetoric we’ve heard these past few days, confidential communications do not run counter to the public interest. They are fundamental to our ability to serve the public interest.

In America, we welcome genuine debates about pressing questions of public policy. We have elections about them. That is one of the greatest strengths of our democracy. It is part of who we are and it is a priority for this Administration. But stealing confidential documents and then releasing them without regard for the consequences does not serve the public good, and it is not the way to engage in a healthy debate.

In the past few days, I have spoken with many of my counterparts around the world, and we have all agreed that we will continue to focus on the issues and tasks at hand. In that spirit, President Obama and I remain committed to productive cooperation with our partners as we seek to build a better, more prosperous world for all.

Thank you, and I’d be glad to take a few questions.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll begin with Charlie Wolfson of CBS in his last week here covering the State Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Where are you going, Charlie?

QUESTION: I’ll (inaudible) into the sunset, but let me get to a question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, sir. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you embarrassed by these leaks personally, professionally? And what harm have the leaks done to the U.S. so far that you can determine from talking to your colleagues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, as I said in my statement, and based on the many conversations that I’ve had with my counterparts, I am confident that the partnerships and relationships that we have built in this Administration will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority, a real centerpiece of our foreign policy, and we’re proud of the progress that we have made over the last 22 months.

Every single day, U.S. Government representatives from the entire government, not just from the State Department, engage with hundreds if not thousands of government representatives and members of civil society from around the world. They carry out the goals and the interests and the values of the United States. And it is imperative that we have candid reporting from those who are in the field working with their counterparts in order to inform our decision-making back here in Washington.

I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, “Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.” (Laughter.) So I think that this is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.

MR. CROWLEY: Kim Ghattas of BBC.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Kim.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I was wondering whether you could tell us what you think your upcoming trip is going to look like. Presumably, a lot of the people who have been mentioned in those alleged cables are going to have conversations with you. Do you think it’s going to cause you discomfort over the coming week as you engage in conversations with those leaders?

And I know you don’t want to comment on the particulars of the cables, but one issue that has been brought up into the daylight is the debate about Iran. What do you think the impact is going to be of those documents on the debate about Iran in the coming weeks and months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, you’re right. And I don’t know if you’re going on this trip or not, but we will be seeing dozens of my counterparts in Astana, and then as I go on from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and then ending up in Bahrain for the Manama dialogue. And I will continue the conversations that I have started with some in person and over the phone over the last days, and I will seek out others because I want personally to impress upon them the importance that I place on the kind of open, productive discussions that we have had to date and my intention to continue working closely with them.

Obviously, this is a matter of great concern, because we don’t want anyone in any of the countries that could be affected by these alleged leaks here to have any doubts about our intentions and our about commitments. That’s why I stressed in my remarks that policy is made in Washington. The President and I have been very clear about our goals and objectives in dealing with the full range of global challenges that we face. And we will continue to be so and we will continue to look for every opportunity to work with our friends and partners and allies around the world and to deal in a very clear-eyed way with those with whom we have differences, which of course brings me to Iran.

I think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern not only in the United States, that what comes through in every meeting that I have anywhere in the world is a concern about Iranian actions and intentions. So if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors, and a serious concern far beyond her region.

That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States went out and said, “Please do this for us.” It happened because countries, once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions, reached the same conclusion that the United States reached – that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

So if anyone reading the stories about these alleged cables thinks carefully, what they will conclude is that the concern about Iran is well founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the source of the policy that we pursue with likeminded nations to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve got to let the Secretary get to her airplane and get to her trip. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will leave you in P.J.’s very good hands. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, did you talk to anyone in Pakistan or India?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam. (Inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: What we’ll do is we’ll take, say, a 30-minute filing break, and then we’ll reconvene in the Briefing Room and continue our discussion.


Alan Posener’s Column: The Open Society and its Trends

October 23, 2009

by Alan Posener
Die Welt / Welt am Sonntag  / HIRAM7 REVIEW

Something’s going on in Europe, and I don’t like it.

There’s the future German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s refusal to even listen to the question of a BBC correspondent, unless it’s put to him in German:

There’s the BBC giving the British National Party’s Nick Griffin a nationwide TV platform for his racist and anti-Semitic views.

And there’s people not only defending German Central Banker Thilo Sarrazin’s right to make racist comments, but denying that they are racist and demanding a muzzle for people who dare to say they are racist.

You only have to look at the comments on Youtube and elsewhere to realize what it is that is going on here: the political and chattering classes have abandoned the rules governing their chatter; nationalism, racism and intolerance in general are being allowed back into polite society after spending the past 40 years out in the cold.

Political correctness – that great civilizer – is dead. Multiculturalism is under siege. And the ban on anti-Semitism – which the Catholic Church has already lifted by welcoming back the anti-Semitic Pius Brotherhood into its ranks – will soon be as worthless as the paper on which Sir Karl Popper’s great book on the Open Society was written.

I mention Karl Popper, because in the age of Totalitarianism he confronted a vexing question of democracy head-on: was the open society bound by its own philosophical, legal and political parameters to tolerate the propaganda of its enemies?

Popper said no: there was no reason to tolerate intolerance; no reason to grant freedom to the enemies of freedom; there should be no openness towards the enemies of openness. People who want one man, one vote one time should not – as they were in Gaza – be allowed to contest elections. Democracy is more important than freedom; more important than truth; more important than justice – or any one of the multitude of ideas, concepts, slogans and ideals in whose name one could (and people have tried to) suspend democracy.

It’s always the enemies of tolerance who chafe at this seeming intolerance of democracy. One shouldn’t let oneself be fooled. People say, “If you stop people from saying what Sarrazin said, you are denying 80 percent of the population a voice.”

Well, if 80 percent of the population are racist, which I don’t believe for a moment, but I’m saying if, then fuck them and there’s all the more reason to keep a tight lid on what is said by public figures, isn’t there?

Popper didn’t call his book “The Majority Rules”, he called it “The Open Society”. Even 99 percent of the population don’t have the right to dismantle the open society and replace it with a society in which privileges are awarded or denied according to race, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation or social background.

That’s what Europe has been about this past half-century. Let’s keep it that way.


Alan Posener’s Column: German Election Blues – and Reds, Greens, and Yellows

September 24, 2009

by Alan Posener
Die Welt / Welt am Sonntag  / HIRAM7 REVIEW

With the German election drawing near, commentators have turned from castigating the politicians for the alleged lack of alternatives they present (bullshit, actually), to a more general wail of despair about an alleged crisis of democracy itself, as represented by the growth in the number of non-voters.

In the last election, we are told, non-voters were a bigger group than those who voted for Angela Merkel, and polls seem to indicate that the number of non-voters will be even higher this time around. Crisis! Bullshit again.

The point about democracy isn’t that everyone goes to vote. That’s what happens in dictatorships. The point about democracy is that I’m free to vote or not as I see fit. So if people don’t go to vote, that’s a sign that democracy is working.

The point about democracy isn’t that voting produces good governments. That’s patently not the case. The point about that democracy is that really bad governments can be voted out. (Good governments can be voted out, too.) Karl Popper once compared the democratic procedure to the procedure by which a scientific theory is defined. If a theory is scientific precisely because it can be falsified (J.B.S. Haldane’s famous “Precambrian rabbits” that would falsify Darwin’s theory of evolution), a government is democratic if it can be falsified – i.e. discarded – by the voters. If the voters choose not to – either by voting for the government or by not voting, i.e. not voting against it: well, that’s the way the democratic cookie crumbles.

As I said above, I don’t think the German election is boring at all. We have a clear choice: between Angela Merkel plus Walter Steinmeier and a continuation of the high-tax / high-spending CDU/CSU/SPD coalition, and Angela Merkel plus Guido Westerwelle and a CDU/CSU/FDP coalition dedicated to boosting growth through lower taxes. As a taxpayer, I know where I’m going to make my cross. It isn’t rocket science.

Ousting the Social Democrats from power will probably result in a putsch by the Left within the SPD, which will eventually lead to some form of rapprochement between the SPD and the “Linke”. This in turn will mean that in 2013 at the latest, probably much sooner, say 2011, a left-wing coalition will challenge Merkel’s right-of-centre government, and things will get really exciting again: How will the Greens react? Will they choose “Jamaica” in order to keep the extreme left out of power, or will they try to tame the left by joining a “Red-Red-Green” government?

And what will the electorate say? One good guess is: they won’t be staying at home.


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