What will happen to Germany if the “Greens” win?

23:44, 06 мая 2021

МОСКВА, 06 мая 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.

Scheduled for September 26, 2021, the German Federal Parliament election will be three-fold epochal. Firstly, it will be the last time when the voters express their will on paper. All subsequent ones will be conducted only in electronic form. Secondly, the Bundeskanzler will no longer be Angela Merkel, who has led the country continuously since 2005.

But the main thing, and thirdly: the CDU/CSU party bloc will definitely not gain a majority and will not be able to form a government, thus ending the era of a special German policy, thanks to which, in particular, Russian-European relations actively developed, and then relatively successfully resisted American pressure. In the autumn, Europe will definitively become anti-Russian.

It cannot be said that in the past Germany was a particularly friendly country to us. It’s just that politics always follows from the economy, and the economic interests of Moscow and Berlin (before the unification of the two Germanies – Bonn) largely coincided, even taking into account Germany’s membership in NATO.

Thanks to this, the political structure of the West German state, constructed by the Allies after the end of the Second World War, generally favoured the normalisation of relations with the “great eastern neighbour”. Even if not just for friendship, but for predictability, consistency and normal trade relations, not mixed with politics. And all this was based on the stability of the centrism of the CDU/CSU.

The party bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Socialist Union (CSU) firmly embraced all the permitted space of political ideas and goals “permitted” for the German state. If to not go into the subtleties, the CDU occupied “the centre and a little conservatism in the right”, and the CSU took a little “from the centre to the left”, forming the same rigid ideological centrism, on the basis of which the German state resisted external and internal challenges for more than seven decades.

For the first half-century, it seemed like a good thing. In the political spectrum, the CDU/CSU bloc left no room for the parliamentary “right”, which served as a reliable defence against the resurgence of fascism. The situation with the “left” was somewhat worse – in Germany there were Social Democrats (the Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD), but their parliamentary space remained too thin to gain serious popularity.

Despite its long history (founded by the SPD in 1863), it took its current form after the signing of the “Godesberg Program” in 1959, which consolidated agreement with the model of a social market economy and the construction of a new social system in the indefinite future, replacing capitalism. In the end, everything resulted in the idea of creating a market economy with the active participation of the state in socio-economic policy.

Although the SPD formally delivered chancellors to Germany several times (Willy Brandt 1969-1974, Helmut Schmidt 1974-1982, Gerhard Schroeder 1998-2005) and for 34 years was part of the ruling coalition, it is clear that all this time the country was quietly emasculating “revolutionism” in society and the gradual decline in the popularity of socialists, especially among young people.

And the position of the party itself was increasingly determined by the role of an important appendage that allowed the CDU/CSU bloc to form a government and determine the strategic line of the state. And immediately label everyone “with more radical left-wing ideas” as radicals, which are absolutely unacceptable in a centrist welfare society.

Formally, there were other parties and social movements in Germany, but the level of popularity of their ideas was in the nature of statistical noise. Moreover, the ruling bloc did not disdain to include suitable popular ideas in its agenda.

This stabilised society, but it also ultimately limited the ability of the German official political field to adapt to external challenges and transform the country’s economic success into strengthening its leadership in Europe.

Simply put, so that there is no political force in the country that can take power and use it to force the rest of society to follow a specific strategic line. So that it does not turn out “like Hitler”. Therefore, the policy of the ruling coalition had to consist of the greatest possible compromise with the greatest possible coverage of all social groups.

On the one hand, this ensured the stability of the political course and guaranteed against any sharp zigzags, especially from the separation of state policy from its economic interests, which have always been multi-vector in nature. Even as a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, Berlin nevertheless pursued an active “eastern policy”, and also advanced in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Except that Africa didn’t work out very well because of the conflict with British and French interests.

But on the other hand … all of the above worked relatively well so far, the number of economic, political and social groups whose interests, within the framework of the model, had to be brought to a common denominator through a mandatory bilateral compromise was small. After the collapse of the USSR and the unification, first of the two Germanies, and then the beginning of the process of European integration, the obligation to search for a necessarily peaceful compromise began to critically emasculate the meaning of the process.

Moreover, since the beginning of the noughties, the economic leadership of Germany in Europe, then already unified, has clearly threatened the geopolitical aspirations of France and Britain, who felt the danger of losing their economic leadership in sliding into second roles in geopolitics.

What eventually resulted in their desire to put the interests of a supposedly common Europe above the interests of “only the Germans”. Because of this, Berlin had to include in the search for compromises the positions of Eastern European countries that are clearly anti-Russian, even to the point of complete absurdity of their economic views. And very willing to thrive at the expense of German subsidies.

Admittedly, the Germans fought as hard as they could, but in the process, the ruling CDU/CSU plus SPD bloc was eventually banally worn down. Public policy has not only lost its integrity, but most importantly, it has lost its common sense, causing a growing public disillusionment with its basic values and a growing doubt about its ability to meet the main challenges of our time.

So it turned out that today the ideas of the SPD are not very popular among the people (much less than 10%), and the grey and rather faceless program “for all good” of the conservative bloc was supported by only 21% of voters in the last land elections.

Polls show that in the Bundestag election in September, there may be even fewer of them. While a new entity for Germany – the Green Party (official name “Alliance 90/The Greens”) – will gain at least 28%. And even more, if we recall that in the local elections in the state of Baden-Württemberg, the candidate from the “Greens” Winfried Kretschmann scored 32.6%.

But as recently as 2016, only 8% of Germans supported the “Greens”. But since excessive centrism forbade the Germans to fight for any radical political or social ideas, they (and with them most other Europeans) were taught that you can only fight for something extra-political. For example, for the protection of the environment. Against the background of the progressive fading of traditional politics, environmental ideas in Germany began to gain great popularity.

Thus, in September, Armin Laschet from the CDU and Annalena Baerbock from the “Greens” will face off for the supreme state post. To understand the picture of the overall dynamics of the processes, it is worth comparing the above figures of the growth in the popularity of the “Greens” with the results of the country’s management by Angela Merkel, who was the chancellor of the CDU/CSU.

Merkel led Germany in 2005 when Germany was at the peak of its power and was rapidly moving towards achieving undisputed leadership in the EU. Her opponents even complained that the Germans were again trying to build a “reich with a different serial number”. And Berlin, Moscow, and Paris all condemned the US invasion and Iraq together. However, this did not prevent the Americans.

But then the problems began to fall like peas. 2008 – the global financial crisis. 2010 – Greece went into default, threatening to cancel the euro. 2014 – mass migration of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. 2016 – the terrorist attack on the Christmas market in Berlin and in general a series of terrorist attacks in Europe. 2017 – US attempt to push the EU to sign TTIP. 2018 – US trade sanctions against the EU and specifically against Germany. 2020 – coronavirus pandemic.

And each time, the “Merkel bloc” coped with the challenges worse and worse. Berlin got into a particularly loud mess when it tried to prove its weighty geopolitical significance to Washington and, together with Paris, became a guarantor in the “Minsk Agreements” on Ukraine. Back then Merkel probably really believed in the ability to ensure their implementation by Kiev, but now few people argue that Ukraine for Germany has finally turned into the notorious suitcase without a handle.

As a result, in the Bundestag election in 2013, the CDU/CSU won 41.5% of the vote, there, but in 2017, only 33%, and in 2019 in the European Parliament – only 28.9%.

So the forecast that in the autumn the Germans, with a large margin (perhaps even gain 32–34%) will vote for “Alliance 90/The Greens” is more than justified. To the conservative bloc that ruled in Germany, they actually have nothing to offer except a new name of the “first person”. But whether the citizens of Germany understand what exactly they will vote for is an open question.

Formally, even with the maximum triumph, the “Greens” will certainly not be able to form a government completely “in one person”. They understand this, because they are forming a “bloc of greens, social democrats and communists” with a deep bias in ecology and populism, since it will be overwhelmingly dominated by the “Greens”.

According to the official program, the “Alliance 90/The Greens” party stands for the seemingly beautiful idea of combining a market economy with environmental protection. In practice, their position is much broader and more radical. Traditional energy based on combustible fuels should be banned due to the need to radically reduce CO2 emissions. Nuclear power is also banned because of the extremely high risk of accidents and long-term pollution of the territory (see Chernobyl and Fukushima).

The speed of cars on the autobahns is limited to 140 km/h immediately and up to 120 km/h in the near future. Also because of the desire to limit emissions. According to it, by 2040–2045, all German transport will be fully converted to electric traction. All remotely “dirty” production will close, for the sake of a drastic reduction in the volume of industrial and household waste.

But any businesses aimed at processing this waste will be actively subsidised. On this basis, it is promised to base the deepest radical technological modernisation of industry, and with it the economy as a whole, thereby creating at least 1-1.5 million new jobs and significantly raising the salaries of existing ones. The borders for migrants should be opened, as the German population is aging and the demography needs an influx of workers.

In short, it is clearly visible that the once strictly niche social movement has now turned into a muddy wave of “for everyone about nothing”, which has absorbed a huge hole of all popular issues that go far beyond just environmental protection. The “Greens” are already in favour of gender equality, cultural diversity, total digitalisation, freedom of individual rights, freedom of movement, restriction of private property rights, and generally “for everything good, against everything bad”.

How all this can be implemented in practice at all is of little interest to anyone there. Almost like in Ukraine in 2014, or in the recent presidential election in the United States – the main thing is to defeat “these”, then let’s figure it out on the spot.

The “Greens” intend to sort things out, including with Russia. Annalena Baerbock’s political line is clearly in the wake of the current US policy, both in environmental and geopolitical issues. So, if the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is not completed and put into operation by the autumn for some reason, then the project is likely to face new blocking obstacles, including those that are openly politically motivated. At the same time, the lobbying capabilities of the part of the German economy that is interested in maintaining cooperation with Russia will be significantly reduced.

After this election, there will be no significant forces capable of keeping Europe from finally sliding into the political swamp of anti-Russianness in Germany, and with it in the entire European Union.

Moreover, for all the criticism of Merkel’s “strange policy”, it must be admitted that it had a fairly tangible connection with the deep interests of the German economy. Thus, not allowing politics to fall too much into momentary populism and excessively lose the adequacy of the current reality.

Therefore, the withdrawal of the CDU/CSU bloc from the scene and its replacement at the helm of the state by the “Greens” will inevitably change German politics. It will move away from common sense in the same way that the views of “green politicians” do not correspond to objective reality.

For example, they are still convinced that “solar” energy guarantees a lot of cheap electricity on the basis that sunlight is free for everyone. All the other engineering problems of photovoltaics simply do not fit in their heads. As, by the way, and environmental ones. But these nuances do not concern any of the “green” leaders. So politics, contrary to common sense, is the norm for them.

However, a new “green” German chancellor will also mean an increase in problems for the future preservation of the European Union. Although technically Baerbock is in favour of strengthening European integration, the implementation of its program, at least in the near and medium term, means the inevitability of a reduction in the overall profitability of the German economy.

At least because of the quite predictable sharp increase in the cost of energy underlying industrial production, as well as a strong increase in production costs due to the introduction of new large-scale environmental requirements. And the stop of “dirty production” does not promise Germany an increase in exports, which today form at least a third of the total surplus value of the economy as a whole.

Consequently, Berlin will have dramatically less money to sponsor the pan-European Cohesion funds, which form the subsidies of 21 (out of 27 currently EU member states) countries. And this is what the whole idea of the pan-European integration project is based on now. If there is no money, there will be problems with European solidarity, and then with the official existence of the European Union itself.

So the upcoming German Bundestag election in September 2021 really has every chance of acquiring an epochal significance.

Институт международных политических и экономических стратегий Русстрат