Angela M.

Pac_Man

⋆Распут&
10. maj 2014
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Ženska je zgleda čisti nemški stereotip. Hladna,učinkovita, preračunljiva.

Dolgo, ampak priporočam.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/01/quiet-german

The Quiet German
The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world.

odlomki:
Citat:

During the Reichstag’s reconstruction, workers uncovered graffiti, in Cyrillic script, scrawled by Red Army soldiers on second-floor walls. After another debate, some of these were kept on display as historical reminders: soldiers’ names, “Moscow to Berlin 9/5/45,” even “I f.uck Hitler in the ass.”

No other country memorializes its conquerors on the walls of its most important official building. Germany’s crimes were unique, and so is its way of reckoning with the history contained in the Reichstag. By integrating the slogans of victorious Russian soldiers into its parliament building, Germany shows that it has learned essential lessons from its past (ones that the Russians themselves missed).
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The latest E.U. elections, in May, saw parties on the far left and the far right grow more popular around the Continent, except in Germany, where the winners were the centrists whose bland faces—evoking economics professors and H.R. managers—smiled on campaign posters, none more ubiquitous than that of Merkel, who wasn’t even on the ballot. American politics is so polarized that Congress has virtually stopped functioning; the consensus in Germany is so stable that new laws pour forth from parliament while meaningful debate has almost disappeared.

“The German self-criticism and self-loathing are part of the success story—getting strong by hating yourself,” Mariam Lau, a political correspondent for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, told me. “And Merkel had to reëducate herself, too. She’s part of the self-reëducation of Germany.”

Among German leaders, Merkel is a triple anomaly: a woman (divorced, remarried, no children), a scientist (quantum chemistry), and an Ossi (a product of East Germany). These qualities, though making her an outsider in German politics, also helped to propel her extraordinary rise.
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Merkel was born in Hamburg, West Germany, in 1954. Her father, Horst Kasner, was an official in the Lutheran Church, one of the few institutions that continued operating in both Germanys after the postwar division of the country. Serious and demanding, he moved the family across the frontier just a few weeks after Angela’s birth—and against his wife’s wishes—to take up ecclesiastical duties in the German Democratic Republic. That year, almost two hundred thousand East Germans fled in the other direction. Kasner’s unusual decision led West German Church officials to call him “the red minister.” Joachim Gauck, a former East German pastor and dissident, who, in 2012, was elected Germany’s largely ceremonial President, once told a colleague that people in the Lutheran Church under Communism knew to stay away from Kasner, a member of the state-controlled Federation of Evangelical Pastors. By most accounts, Kasner’s motives were as much careerist as ideological.
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When Angela was in the eighth grade, Benn recruited her for the Russian Club and coached her to compete in East Germany’s Russian-language Olympiad. During skits that the students practiced in the teacher’s tiny parlor, Benn had to exhort her star student to look up and smile while offering another student a glass of water in Russian: “Can’t you be a little more friendly?” Merkel won at every level, from schoolwide to countrywide, a feat that she managed three times, to the glory of Frau Benn, a Party member with small-town ambitions. In her tidy apartment in Templin, Benn, who is seventy-six, proudly showed me a victory certificate from 1969. “I have the Lenin bust in the cellar,” she said. Not long before Horst Kasner died, in 2011, he sent a newspaper clipping to a colleague of Benn’s, with a picture of Merkel standing next to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. To Benn’s delight, Putin was quoted expressing his admiration for the first world leader with whom he could converse in his mother tongue.

In 1970, an incident exposed the fragile standing of the bürgerlich Kasner family. At a local Party meeting, the Russian Club’s latest triumph was announced, and Benn expected praise. Instead, the schools supervisor observed acidly, “When the children of farmers and workers win, that will be something.” Benn burst into tears.

Merkel studied physics at Leipzig University and earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry in Berlin. She was allowed to pursue graduate studies, in no small part because she never ran afoul of the ruling party.
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Merkel herself once admitted that her participation in the Free German Youth was “seventy per cent opportunism.”
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People who have followed her career point to Merkel’s scientific habit of mind as a key to her political success. “She is about the best analyst of any given situation that I could imagine,” a senior official in her government said. “She looks at various vectors, extrapolates, and says, ‘This is where I think it’s going.’ ” Trained to see the invisible world in terms of particles and waves, Merkel learned to approach problems methodically, drawing comparisons, running scenarios, weighing risks, anticipating reactions, and then, even after making a decision, letting it sit for a while before acting.
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“She’s not a woman of strong emotions,” Bernd Ulrich, the deputy editor of Die Zeit, said. “Too much emotion disturbs your reason. She watches politics like a scientist.” He called her “a learning machine.” Volker Schlöndorff, the director of “The Tin Drum” and other films, got to know Merkel in the years just after reunification. “Before you contradict her, you would think twice—she has the authority of somebody who knows that she’s right,” he said. “Once she has an opinion, it seems to be founded, whereas I tend to have opinions that I have to revise frequently.”
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“She was fleissig—the opposite of lazy,” Eppelmann recalled. “She never put herself in the foreground. She understood that she had to do a job here and do it well, but not to be the chief. Lothar de Maizière was the chief.” De Maizière already had a spokesman, so Merkel became the deputy. “The No. 1 press speaker showed off while she did all the work,” Eppelmann said. In this way, she earned de Maizière’s trust, and he brought her with him on visits to foreign capitals. He once described Merkel as looking like “a typical G.D.R. scientist,” wearing “a baggy skirt and Jesus sandals and a cropped haircut.” After one foreign trip, he asked his office manager to take her clothes shopping.
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During the sessions, Merkel was always in a hurry, never making small talk. “Schröder and Fischer, they are vain,” Koelbl said. “Merkel is not vain—still. And that helped her, because if you’re vain you are subjective. If you’re not vain, you are more objective.”
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But what made Merkel a potentially transformative figure in German politics was that, below the surface, she didn’t belong. She joined the Christian Democratic Union after Democratic Awakening merged with it, ahead of the 1990 elections; the C.D.U. was more hospitable than the Social Democrats were to liberal-minded East Germans. But the C.D.U. was also a stodgy patriarchy whose base was in the Catholic south. “She never became mentally a part of the C.D.U., until now,” Feldmeyer, of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said. “She is strange to everything in the Party. It is only a function of her power, nothing else.”
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Merkel asked Schlöndorff, a former radical, to explain the violence perpetrated by the Baader-Meinhof Group. He told her that young people had needed to break with the authoritarian culture that had never been repudiated in West Germany after the defeat of the Nazis. The more he explained, the less Merkel seemed to sympathize—she wasn’t against authority, just the East German kind. What did kids in the West have to protest about? She didn’t always hide a feeling that West Germans were like spoiled children.

For all the catching up Merkel had to do in her political education, being East German gave her advantages: she had learned self-discipline, strength of will, and silence as essential tools. Feldmeyer said, “The G.D.R. shaped her in such an extreme and strong way as no one who grew up in the Federal Republic can imagine. Everything was a question of survival, and it was impossible to make errors if you wanted to succeed.”
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In November, 1999, the C.D.U. was engulfed by a campaign-finance scandal, with charges of undisclosed cash donations and secret bank accounts. Kohl and his successor as Party chairman, Wolfgang Schäuble, were both implicated, but Kohl was so revered that nobody in the Party dared to criticize him. Merkel, who had risen to secretary-general after the C.D.U.’s electoral defeat, saw opportunity. She telephoned Karl Feldmeyer. “I would like to give some comments to you in your newspaper,” she said.

“Do you know what you want to say?” Feldmeyer asked.

“I’ve written it down.”

Feldmeyer suggested that, instead of doing an interview, she publish an opinion piece. Five minutes later, a fax came through, and Feldmeyer read it with astonishment. Merkel, a relatively new figure in the C.D.U., was calling for the Party to break with its longtime leader. “The Party must learn to walk now and dare to engage in future battles with its political opponents without its old warhorse, as Kohl has often enjoyed calling himself,” Merkel wrote. “We who now have responsibility for the Party, and not so much Helmut Kohl, will decide how to approach the new era.” She published the piece without warning the tainted Schäuble, the Party chairman. In a gesture that mixed Protestant righteousness with ruthlessness, Kohl’s Mädchen was cutting herself off from her political father and gambling her career in a naked bid to supplant him. She succeeded. Within a few months, Merkel had been elected Party chairman. Kohl receded into history. “She put the knife in his back—and turned it twice,” Feldmeyer said. That was the moment when many Germans first became aware of Angela Merkel.

Years later, Michael Naumann sat next to Kohl at a dinner, and asked him, “Herr Kohl, what exactly does she want?”

“Power,” Kohl said, tersely. He told another friend that championing young Merkel had been the biggest mistake of his life. “I brought my killer,” Kohl said. “I put the snake on my arm.”

In 2002, Merkel found herself on the verge of losing a Party vote that would determine the C.D.U.’s candidate for Chancellor in elections that fall. She hastily arranged a breakfast with her rival, the Bavarian leader Edmund Stoiber, in his home town. Disciplined enough to control her own ambitions, Merkel told Stoiber that she was withdrawing in his favor. Schlöndorff sent her a note saying, in effect, “Smart move.” By averting a loss that would have damaged her future within the Party, Merkel ended up in a stronger position. Stoiber lost to Schröder, and Merkel went on to outmaneuver a series of male heavyweights from the West, waiting for them to make a mistake or eat one another up, before getting rid of each with a little shove.

John Kornblum, a former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, who still lives in Berlin, said, “If you cross her, you end up dead. There’s nothing cushy about her. There’s a whole list of alpha males who thought they would get her out of the way, and they’re all now in other walks of life.”
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“She is a master of listening,” the longtime political associate said. “In a conversation, she speaks twenty per cent, you speak eighty per cent. She gives everybody the feeling ‘I want to hear what you have to say,’ but the truth is that her judgment is made within three minutes, and sometimes she thinks another eighteen minutes are wasted time. She is like a computer—‘Is this possible, what this man proposes?’ She’s able in a very quick time to realize if it’s fantasy.”
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“Schadenfreude is Merkel’s way of having fun,” Kurbjuweit said.
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Throughout her Chancellorship, Merkel has stayed as close as possible to German public opinion. Posener said that, after nearly losing to Schröder, she told herself, “I’m going to be all things to all people.” Critics and supporters alike describe her as a gifted tactician without a larger vision. Kornblum, the former Ambassador, once asked a Merkel adviser about her long-term view. “The Chancellor’s long-term view is about two weeks,” the adviser replied. The pejorative most often used against her is “opportunist.” When I asked Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the Green leader, whether Merkel had any principles, she paused, then said, “She has a strong value of freedom, and everything else is negotiable.” (Other Germans added firm support for Israel to the list.)

“People say there’s no project, there’s no idea,” the senior official told me. “It’s just a zigzag of smart moves for nine years.” But, he added, “She would say that the times are not conducive to great visions.” Americans don’t like to think of our leaders as having no higher principles. We want at least a suggestion of the “vision thing”—George H. W. Bush’s derisive term, for which he was derided. But Germany remains so traumatized by the grand ideologies of its past that a politics of no ideas has a comforting allure.
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Merkel’s commitment to a united Europe is not that of an idealist. Rather, it comes from her sense of German interest—a soft form of nationalism that reflects the country’s growing confidence and strength. The historic German problem, which Henry Kissinger described as being “too big for Europe, too small for the world,” can be overcome only by keeping Europe together. Kurbjuweit said, “She needs Europe because—this is hard to say, but it’s true—Europe makes Germany bigger.”
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Merkel frets that Germany has no Silicon Valley. “There’s no German Facebook, no German Amazon,” her senior aide said. “There is this German tendency, which you can see in Berlin: we’re so affluent that we assume we always will be, even though we don’t know where it will come from. Completely complacent.”
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The two world leaders with whom Merkel has her most important and complex relationships are Obama, who has won her reluctant respect, and Putin, who has earned her deep distrust. When the Wall fell, Putin was a K.G.B. major stationed in Dresden. He used his fluent German and a pistol to keep a crowd of East Germans from storming the K.G.B. bureau and looting secret files, which he then destroyed. Twelve years later, a far more conciliatory Putin, by then Russia’s President, addressed the Bundestag “in the language of Goethe, Schiller, and Kant,” declaring that “Russia is a friendly-minded European country” whose “main goal is a stable peace on this continent.” Putin praised democracy and denounced totalitarianism, receiving an ovation from an audience that included Merkel.
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After Putin’s speech at the Bundestag, Merkel told a colleague, “This is typical K.G.B. talk. Never trust this guy.” Ulrich, of Die Zeit, said, “She’s always been skeptical of Putin, but she doesn’t detest him. Detesting would be too much emotion.”

When Putin and Merkel meet, they sometimes speak in German (he’s better in her language than she is in his), and Putin corrects his own interpreter to let Merkel know that nothing is lost on him. Putin’s brand of macho elicits in Merkel a kind of scientific empathy. In 2007, during discussions about energy supplies at the Russian President’s residence in Sochi, Putin summoned his black Lab, Koni, into the room where he and Merkel were seated. As the dog approached and sniffed her, Merkel froze, visibly frightened. She’d been bitten once, in 1995, and her fear of dogs couldn’t have escaped Putin, who sat back and enjoyed the moment, legs spread wide. “I’m sure it will behave itself,” he said. Merkel had the presence of mind to reply, in Russian, “It doesn’t eat journalists, after all.” The German press corps was furious on her behalf—“ready to hit Putin,” according to a reporter who was present. Later, Merkel interpreted Putin’s behavior. “I understand why he has to do this—to prove he’s a man,” she told a group of reporters. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”
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The Russian aggression in Ukraine stunned the history-haunted, rule-upholding Germans. “Putin surprised everyone,” including Merkel, her senior aide told me. “The swiftness, the brutality, the coldheartedness. It’s just so twentieth century—the tanks, the propaganda, the agents provocateurs.”
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Merkel ruled out military options, yet declared that Russia’s actions were unacceptable—territorial integrity was an inviolable part of Europe’s postwar order—and required a serious Western response. For the first time in her Chancellorship, she didn’t have the public with her. In early polls, a plurality of Germans wanted Merkel to take a middle position between the West and Russia.
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For most Germans, the crisis inspired a combination of indifference and anxiety. Ukraine was talked about, if at all, as a far-off place, barely a part of Europe (not as the victim of huge German crimes in the Second World War). Germans resented having their beautiful sleep disturbed. “The majority want peace and to live a comfortable life,” Alexander Rahr, a Russian energy expert who advises the German oil-and-gas company Wintershall, said.
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Ukraine forced Merkel into a juggling act worthy of Bismarck, and she began spending two or three hours daily on the crisis. Publicly, she said little, waiting for Russian misbehavior to bring the German public around. She needed to keep her coalition in the Bundestag on board, including the more pro-Russian Social Democrats. And she had to hold Europe together, which meant staying in close touch with twenty-seven other leaders and understanding each one’s constraints.
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Merkel also needed to keep open her channel to Putin. Even after the E.U. passed its first round of sanctions, in March, it was not German policy to isolate Russia—the two countries are too enmeshed. Merkel is Putin’s most important interlocutor in the West; they talk every week, if not more often. “She’s talked to Putin more than Obama, Hollande, and Cameron combined have over these past months,” the senior official said. “She has a way of talking to him that nobody has. Cameron and Hollande call him to be able to say they’re world leaders and had the conversation.”
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Soon after the annexation of Crimea, Merkel reportedly told Obama that Putin was living “in another world.” She set about bringing him back to reality.

A German official told me, “The Chancellor thinks Putin believes that we’re decadent, we’re gay, we have women with beards”—a reference to Conchita Wurst, an Austrian drag queen who won the 2014 Eurovision song contest. “That it’s a strong Russia of real men versus the decadent West that’s too pampered, too spoiled, to stand up for their beliefs if it costs them one per cent of their standard of living. That’s his wager. We have to prove it’s not true.”
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When eight members of a European observer group, including four Germans, were taken hostage by pro-Russian separatists in April—practically a casus belli, had they been Americans—the German government simply asked Putin to work for their release. Merkel was playing the game that had been successful for her in German politics: waiting for her adversary to self-destruct.


On at least one phone call, Putin lied to Merkel, something that he hadn’t done in the past. In May, after Ukrainian separatists organized a widely denounced referendum, the official Russian statement was more positive than the stance that Merkel believed she and Putin had agreed on in advance. She cancelled their call for the following week—she had been misled, and wanted him to sense her anger. “The Russians were stunned,” the senior official said. “How could she cut the link?” Germany was the one country that Russia could not afford to lose. Karl-Georg Wellmann, a member of parliament from Merkel’s party, who sits on the foreign-affairs committee, said that, as the crisis deepened and Germans began pulling capital out of Russia, Kremlin officials privately told their German counterparts that they wanted a way out: “We went too far—what can we do?” In Moscow restaurants, after the third vodka, the Russians would raise the ghosts of 1939: “If we got together, Germany and Russia, we would be the strongest power in the world.”

On June 6th, in Normandy, Merkel and Putin met for the first time since the crisis began, along with Obama, Hollande, Cameron, and Petro Poroshenko, the newly elected President of Ukraine, to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of D Day.
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On the anniversary of D Day, Germany’s leader was at the center of everything. As Kurbjuweit put it, “That was astonishing, to see all the winners of the Second World War, and to see the loser and the country which was responsible for all this—and she’s the leader, everyone wants to talk to her! That is very, very strange. And this is only possible, I think, because it’s Merkel—because she’s so nice and quiet.”

The final ball Merkel has to keep in the air is the American one. Her opinion of Barack Obama has risen as his popularity has declined. In July, 2008, as a Presidential candidate, Obama wanted to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin—the historic heart of the city, a location reserved for heads of state and government, not U.S. senators. Merkel rebuffed the request, so instead Obama spoke about European-American unity at the Victory Column, in the Tiergarten, before two hundred thousand delirious fans—a crowd Merkel could never have mustered, let alone mesmerized. “What puts her off about Obama is his high-flying rhetoric,” the senior official said. “She distrusts it, and she’s no good at it. She says, ‘I want to see if he can deliver.’ If you want to sum up her philosophy, it’s ‘under-promise and over-deliver.’ ”
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As she got to know Obama better, though, she came to appreciate more the ways in which they were alike—analytical, cautious, dry-humored, remote. Benjamin Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national-security adviser, told me that “the President thinks there’s not another leader he’s worked closer with than her.” He added, “They’re so different publicly, but they’re actually quite similar.” (Ulrich joked, “Obama is Merkel in a better suit.”) During the Ukraine crisis, the two have consulted frequently on the timing of announcements and been careful to keep the American and the European positions close. Obama is the antithesis of the swaggering leaders whom Merkel specializes in eating for breakfast. On a trip to Washington, she met with a number of senators, including the Republicans John McCain, of Arizona, and Jeff Sessions, of Alabama. She found them more preoccupied with the need to display toughness against America’s former Cold War adversary than with events in Ukraine themselves. (McCain called Merkel’s approach “milquetoast.”) To Merkel, Ukraine was a practical problem to be solved. This mirrored Obama’s view.
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In July, officials of the German Federal Intelligence Service, or B.N.D., arrested a bureaucrat in their Munich office on suspicion of spying for the U.S.
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Coming soon after the N.S.A. revelations, this second scandal was worse than a crime—it was a blunder. Merkel was beside herself with exasperation. No U.S. official, in Washington or Berlin, seemed to have weighed the intelligence benefits against the potential political costs. The President didn’t know about the spy. “It’s fair to say the President should expect people would take into account political dynamics in making judgments about what we do and don’t do in Germany,” Rhodes said.
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In the broad middle, where German politics plays out today, many Germans, especially older ones, once regarded the U.S. as the father of their democracy—a role that sets America up to disappoint. Peter Schneider, the novelist and journalist, expressed the attitude this way: “You have created a model of a savior, and now we find by looking at you that you are not perfect at all—much less, you are actually corrupt, you are terrible businessmen, you have no ideals anymore.” With the Iraq War, Guantánamo, drones, the unmet expectations of the Obama Presidency, and now spying, “you actually have acted against your own promises, and so we feel very deceived.”
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Beneath the rise in anti-Americanism and the German sympathy with Russia, something deeper might be at work. During the First World War, Thomas Mann put aside writing “The Magic Mountain” and began composing a strange, passionate series of essays about Germany and the war. They were published in 1918, just before the Armistice, as “Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man.” In it, Mann embraced the German cause in terms of national character and philosophy. He allied himself, as an artist, with Germany—“culture, soul, freedom, art”—against the liberal civilization of France and England that his older brother Heinrich supported, where intellect was always politicized. German tradition was authoritarian, conservative, and “nonpolitical”—closer to the Russian spirit than to the shallow materialism of democratic Europe. The war represented Germany’s age-old rebellion against the West. Imperial Germany refused to accept at gunpoint the universal principles of equality and human rights. Though Mann became a vocal supporter of democratic values in exile during the Nazi years, he never repudiated “Reflections.”
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“West Germany was a good country,” Georg Diez, a columnist and author, told me. “It was young, sexy, daring, Western—American. But maybe it was only a skin. Germany is becoming more German, less Western. Germany has discovered its national roots.”

Diez didn’t mean that this was a good thing. He meant that Germany is becoming less democratic, because what Germans fundamentally want is stability, security, economic growth—above all, to be left in peace while someone else watches their money and keeps their country out of wars. They have exactly the Chancellor they want. “Merkel took the politics out of politics,” Diez said.
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A political consensus founded on economic success, with a complacent citizenry, a compliant press, and a vastly popular leader who rarely deviates from public opinion—Merkel’s Germany is reminiscent of Eisenhower’s America. But what Americans today might envy, with our intimations of national decline, makes thoughtful Germans uneasy. Their democracy is not old enough to be given a rest.

“We got democracy from you, as a gift I would say, in the forties and fifties,” Kurbjuweit told me. “But I’m not sure if these democratic attitudes are very well established in my country. We Germans always have to practice democracy—we’re still on the training program.” Kurbjuweit has just published a book called “There Is No Alternative.” It’s a phrase that Merkel coined for her euro policy, but Kurbjuweit uses it to describe the Chancellor’s success in draining all the blood out of German politics. “I don’t say democracy will disappear if Merkel is Chancellor for twenty years,” he said. “But I think democracy is on the retreat in the world, and there is a problem with democracy in our country. You have to keep the people used to the fact that democracy is a pain in the ass, and that they have to fight, and that everyone is a politician—not only Merkel.”
 

8888

mesija - Assassin's Creep
8. jul 2010
27.338
2.351
113
blizu močvirne prestolnice
Če bi bilo to res, kaj to tebe moti, saj si podpornik gnilob tipa broza, udbe, sdv, kgb, putina?
Sam temu ne verjamem, verjamem pa da so jo imeli na listi za nadzor.
 

Tony_Clifton

Fizikalc
18. okt 2014
1.635
0
36
Citat:
Uporabnik patriot pravi:
Če si že prebral-piše kaj o njeni karieri v stasiju?
Kakšno kariero pa je po tvoje imela v Stasiju?
In le jo je imela, zakaj naj bi bilo to slabo? Stasi je, podobno kot UDBA, SDV in KOS bil ja legitimna tajna služba, ki je branila domovino, mar ne?
Če naj bi bilo sodelovanje s Stasijem sramotno, mar ni sramotno tudi sodelovanje z UDBO?
 

patriot

Sloven´c
22. jul 2007
25.331
357
83
Samo vprašam, če kaj piše o Eriki, al je tako zamolčano kot to, da je Hussein Obama musliman.
 

Kamele0N

YUGOslovanski mehanik Dmitri Mendeleev
Osebje foruma
23. jul 2008
35.446
3.715
113
smile-1.gif
ti bo to res moral podpirat....ne pa drek mesat.

V ex rezimu bi ti rekl da si zdrahar
tongue-1.gif
 

Pac_Man

⋆Распут&
10. maj 2014
2.211
0
36
Nič o stasiju.

Merkel’s upbringing in a Communist state was as normal as she could make it. “I never felt that the G.D.R. was my home country,” she told the German photographer Herlinde Koelbl, in 1991. “I have a relatively sunny spirit, and I always had the expectation that my path through life would be relatively sunny, no matter what happened. I have never allowed myself to be bitter. I always used the free room that the G.D.R. allowed me. . . . There was no shadow over my childhood. And later I acted in such a way that I would not have to live in constant conflict with the state.” During her first campaign for Chancellor, in 2005, she described her calculations more bluntly: “I decided that if the system became too terrible, I would have to try to escape. But if it wasn’t too bad then I wouldn’t lead my life in opposition to the system, because I was scared of the damage that would do to me.”
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Merkel studied physics at Leipzig University and earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry in Berlin. She was allowed to pursue graduate studies, in no small part because she never ran afoul of the ruling party. Ulrich Schoeneich, who became Templin’s mayor after reunification, expressed bitterness to me that Merkel hasn’t been challenged much on her accommodation with the East German system. Schoeneich’s father, Harro, was also a Protestant minister, but, unlike Kasner, he openly dissented from the state. Ulrich Schoeneich refused to join the Free German Youth, the blue-shirted “fighting reserve” of the ruling party which the vast majority of East German teen-agers joined, including Angela Kasner, who participated well into adulthood. “Not just as a dead person in the files but as the officer responsible for agitation and propaganda,” Schoeneich told me, referring to a revelation in a controversial recent biography, “The First Life of Angela M.” He added, “I’m convinced that she could get her doctorate only because she was active in the Free German Youth, even in her postgraduate days. Most people say it was forced, but I demonstrated that you didn’t have to join it.” Merkel herself once admitted that her participation in the Free German Youth was “seventy per cent opportunism.”

Schoeneich wasn’t permitted to finish high school, and he spent much of his early life in the shadow cast by his family’s principled opposition. Angela Kasner had other ideas for her future, and became, at most, a passive opponent of the regime. Evelyn Roll, one of Merkel’s biographers, discovered a Stasi document, dated 1984, that was based on information provided by a friend of Merkel’s. It described Merkel as “very critical toward our state,” and went on, “Since its foundation, she was thrilled by the demands and actions of Solidarity in Poland. Although Angela views the leading role of the Soviet Union as that of a dictatorship which all other socialist countries obey, she is fascinated by the Russian language and the culture of the Soviet Union.”