Things really haven’t been going well for German Chancellor Angela Merkel since she squeaked out her last election victory. On top of weekly rumors of a vote of no confidence coming to topple her from office, now she has riots on her hands. Given that most of the political unrest has arisen from her open borders migrant policy, it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the riots deal with the same issue. A German man was killed recently and it’s alleged that the murderers were two migrants from Iraq and Syria. This set off a wave of violence against random individuals that some of the Germans believed to also be recent imports from that region. (The Guardian)
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has condemned two days of far-right street violence that has left several people injured, which flared up after a Syrian and an Iraqi were accused of killing a German man on Sunday.
Some far-right protesters were accused of hunting foreigners in street mobs in the eastern city of Chemnitz, while others were seen with Nazi-linked banners and giving the outlawed straight-arm salute as demonstrations went into their second day.
“Such riotous assemblies, the hunting down of people who appear to be from different backgrounds or the attempt to spread hate in the streets, these have no place in our country,” Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday.
Make no mistake here… Merkel is legally in the right to be condemning what’s been going on. These rioters are not just protesting or engaging in free speech. They’ve been hunting down migrants and at least a few have been left injured. Others were hospitalized when opposing groups of protesters hurled pyrotechnics in Chemnitz. And you never win any points when you show up with swastika banners and giving the straight arm Heil Hitler salute. (That salute is actually illegal in Germany, where free speech has some very real limits on it.)
But at the same time, it’s impossible to ignore the message coming up from the streets where even non-violent protesters are chanting about stopping the flood of immigrants and complaining about rising crime rates, often attributed to the new arrivals. It also speaks to the uncomfortable truths regarding the failure of many of the migrants to adopt the customs and culture of the new country they are calling home. The friction between the groups is now generating fires.
Merkel should have been able to call on her traditional allies for help if needed, but these days it’s hard to say who that would be. Factions of the European Union are constantly at odds with one another and Merkel isn’t helping by cozying up to Russia. This coming weekend she will be hitting the town with Vladimir Putin, discussing “their mutual headache” in the form of President Donald Trump. (Associated Press)
Putin is facing the possibility of more U.S. sanctions on Russia imposed by Trump, and has an interest in softening or heading off any European support for them. Meanwhile, while both countries want to move ahead with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline — roundly criticized by Trump as a form of Russian control over Germany.
Stefan Meister, a Russia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, said that there is “an increased interest on both sides to talk about topics of common interest” and that, in part because of Trump, the two sides have shifted focus from earlier meetings that focused on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. Merkel was a leading supporter of sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
If Merkel wants to go into the energy business with Putin, that’s her choice. But with American supplies becoming more and more available in Europe, she also might want to remember who her friends actually are. She may not care for Trump personally, but Russia is a far less reliable ally, a terrible enemy when aroused, and physically much closer to their borders than America is.