Germany in the 21st Century Part I

Compromise policy

According to paradisdachat, the novelty is destined to make history: the Germans, for the first time since 1949, since after the end of the Third Reich political democracy returned to govern the fate of their country, went to bed after voting without knowing ‘which there would have been in their future and even ‘if’ there would have been one. Not even the by-election held in Dresden two weeks after the general political elections of 18 September helped to clarify.

This political climate of extreme uncertainty and sudden uncertainty constitutes a real trauma for a nation as lover of governability as Germany is. It is no coincidence that a sort of syndrome spread rapidly in public opinion and in analysts’ comments: the syndrome of an Italianisierung, of a possible ‘Italianisation’ of German political life. Obviously, this is not exactly the case. Establishing a comparison between today’s German political situation and the Italian one of the first Republic (or that of the next future) appears all in all an instrumental polemic forcing, perhaps good for the campaigns of certain media but certainly not useful for giving a realistic picture of the state. political health of the demographically and economically stronger country of the European Union. It is true, however, that the result that came out of the polls not only blatantly denied all the forecasts of the eve, but it has, and this is what counts, produced a situation that, to take up an expression of a famous essay by Jürgen Habermas, we could define the ‘new German political opacity’. In fact, neither of the two coalitions vying for the government has won: the red-green one, made up of Social Democrats and Greens, has lost the majority it had. The yellow-black one, made up of liberals and Christian Democrats, did not conquer it as he hoped.

Angela Merkel, the woman from the East to whom everyone predicted a sure triumph, albeit greatly reduced, managed to defend the right of the CDU, as the strongest parliamentary group, to appoint her to the office of chancellor. While Gerhard Schröder will have to accept to leave the scene, even if in fact he was ‘politically’ the real winner of these elections and never as at this moment does the fate of the SPD seem totally dependent on him, the only international leader of which the party dispose, the recognized charismatic leader who alone was able to prevent, as all analysts had predicted, an electoral catastrophe for his party. For this reason the SPD appears today literally orphaned by Schröder, as never happened in the past.

It will therefore be big Koalition: the government that no party wanted on the eve of the vote but also the reasonable compromise to which the two great contenders, the CDU / CSU and the SPD, were obliged by the conjunction of constructive realism and the result of the elections (as well as, of course, from the game of cross vetoes placed by the other parties). Angela Merkel will lead German politics in the coming years. From this point of view, the fact that a woman goes to occupy in the country that had made the apology for politics like Machtpolitik the place that in the past belonged to Bismarck, Adenauer or Kohl constitutes an event of very significant symbolic significance. If we consider that Merkel is the daughter of the ‘Prussian socialism’ of the former German Democratic Republic of Ulbricht and Honecker, it is difficult to escape the feeling that an era has really ended and with it also that marked by the reunification process of the two Germanys..

Precisely because of its traumatic exceptional nature, the birth in Germany of a ‘grand coalition’ government confirms that the country is facing a somewhat extraordinary phase of its political-institutional and historical-spiritual history.

So it was, from 1966 to 1969, with the Kissinger-Brandt government which, not surprisingly, marked the end of the second post-war period in Germany, opening an exciting season of political democratization and cultural modernization in Germany. Its positive existence was the fulfillment of that process of ‘westernization’ (Verwestlichung) of German culture and identity critically discussed by philosophers such as Habermas or by historians such as Heinrich A. Winkler, whose last work entitled History of Germany (Rome, Donzelli, 2004) it is not by chance that the subtitle is ‘the long journey to the West’. Obviously it is impossible to forget that to weigh negatively on the other side of the scale there was the dramatic experience of the ‘years of lead’ marked by the ‘red’ terrorism of the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion). For this reason it is reasonable to assume that it will be the same this time: in the year of the fifteenth anniversary of the reunification of the two Germanys, the grosse Koalition could be the way to definitively archive the post-Cold War era and especially for Germany that of the post-fall. of the Berlin Wall.

For a prestigious victory, that of the appointment to the head of the chancellery of its candidate, the CDU was forced to pay a high price in relation to both the future composition and the programmatic contents of the government: Merkel will therefore be a sort of ‘ Chancellor halved ‘, since under the sky of Berlin politics a kind of’ Christian Democratic-led social-democratic government ‘will be born. It is therefore difficult to escape the feeling that this is a real posthumous victory of Gerhard Schröder since it is unanimous that the next ‘grand coalition’ government will be able, in the best of cases, to aim at the most to carry out the reforms of the

Some even fear the risk that there may be a reversal of what has already been achieved by the red-green government with the aim of reforming the functioning of the Sozialstaat: how else to interpret the decision, taken in the very first days of negotiations, to go back to spin off the Ministry of Labor, headed by a Social Democrat, from that of the Economy, to which the ‘Bavarian’ Edmund Stoiber will go? A reform carried out by the Schröder government, despite the harsh opposition of the trade unions and the internal and external left to the SPD, had unified them in a Federal Ministry for the Economy and Labor in order to emphasize the primacy of the economic over the social and hence the idea, which is not very ‘politically correct’ compared to the classical values ​​of social democracy, that the social problem of unemployment is a variable of the economy and not vice versa.

Germany in the 21st Century 1