Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why does Germany's Chancellor Merkel not stand-up against Putin?

I've had it! Everywhere I read that the German chancellor Angela Merkel stands-up against Vladimir Putin in the Georgia crisis, but honestly, I don't see it.

Germany traditionally has close ties to Russia, and although they gotten a bit slippery with Schroeder on Gazprom's payroll, they are still excellent. Because of those good relations the countries of Europe trust that, "Germany is the one country that can warn Russia," as James Sherr, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, points out. "Russia does listen to what Germany says. If Germany can make clear statements about the consequences facing Russia over Georgia and whatever else it might decide to do, it will have an impact on Russia." But does Merkel deliver on that?

No. So far Merkel has done everything to avoid being a mediator between Russia and Georgia. Although this might be understandable, it shows, that all the times before, when she talked to Putin over Kosovo, failings in the Russian presidential elections, and human rights, it was nothing but lip service. Looking at Merkels upbringing this does not surprise me.

Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg and moved with her family to Templin in Eastern Germany, where her father was pastor in a Lutheran church. Interestingly the family was always able to travel freely to Western Germany, she was able to attend university and they had other privileges that were unusual for Families who were active churchgoers (which a pastors family is). According to Gerd Langguth, author of a book about Angela Merkel, the family's ability to travel freely from East to West Germany, as well as their possession of two automobiles, leads to the conclusion that Merkel's father had a 'sympathetic' relationship with the communist regime, since such freedom and perquisites for a Christian pastor and his family would have been otherwise impossible in East Germany.

This is the same regime, that for decades suppressed individual freedom, and human rights, incarcerated people for their faith and did not allow those, who stood up for their beliefs to get a higher education. Angela Merkel never had any problems during the times of the GDR and I guess, she still has to learn to stand up for what's good and right for country and people.

Now is the time!

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