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Merkel’s next crisis

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: With Europe bogged down by the financial crisis and its national governments failing or being voted out of office across the continent, Germany has looked like an island of prosperity and stability. Chancellor Angela Merkel has appeared to be the embodiment of the new strength of old Europe’s problem child, a country …


The Chancellor who played with fire

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel should be happy nowadays: her party’s approval ratings aren’t bad, and her own are very good. She no longer has serious rivals within the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), while the left opposition is fragmented into four parties. Her response to the European crisis has prevailed — or …


Europeanizing Europe

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: The eurozone is at the center of the global financial crisis, because only there, in the realm of the second most important currency after the dollar, does the crisis hit a weak “structure” rather than a state with real power. It is a structure that is squandering the trust of citizens and …


Which new Middle East?

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Regardless of whether democratization in the “new Middle East” succeeds or authoritarian forms of government prevail once again, one fundamental change has already become clear: no one will be able to govern without taking into account domestic public opinion. This change will shift the foreign-policy parameters of the Middle East conflict (understood …


Europe’s shaky foundations

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Slowly, word is getting round — even in Germany — that the financial crisis could destroy the European unification project in its entirety, because it demonstrates, quite relentlessly, the weaknesses of the eurozone and its construction. Those weaknesses are less financial or economic than political. The Maastricht Treaty established a monetary union, …


Europe’s sovereignty crisis

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Finally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accepted a new form of European Union. More than ever, the EU must combine greater stability, financial transfers, and mutual solidarity if the entire European project is to be prevented from collapsing under the weight of the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis. For a long time, Merkel fought …


A bomb in every reactor

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Twenty-five years after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, the ongoing catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan has — it must be hoped — made clear once and for all that the purported blessings of the nuclear age are mere illusions: nuclear power is neither clean nor safe nor cheap. Indeed, …


The wrong German foreign policy

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: German chancellor Angela Merkel likes to navigate politically by line of sight – and a very short line of sight at that. But when fog clouds your visibility, you’re not an instinctive driver (as seems to be the case here), and you have misplaced your eyeglasses, you place not only yourself at …


The Middle East awakening

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: When the democratic revolt in Tunisia successfully ousted the old regime, the world reacted with amazement. Democracy from below in the Arab world? After the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-old regime in Egypt, the heartland of the Middle East, amazement has turned into certainty. The Middle East has awakened and begun …


Exiting the Middle East labyrinth

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Two years have passed since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Much to his credit — and in contrast to his immediate predecessor — Obama tried, from his first day in office, to work towards a resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Two years on, are good …


Avanti Dilettanti!

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Returning to Europe lately after a six-day trip to the United States, I wondered for the first time while reading the press on the recent Irish crisis whether the euro — and thus the European Union — might possibly fail. This could happen because, in the long run, the EU won’t be …


Angela Merkel’s fear of Europe

By Joschka Fischer BERLIN: Ever since the global financial crisis erupted in September 2008, the European Union has been in turmoil. On the one hand, the euro protected the eurozone, particularly Germany’s export economy, from speculative attacks and the chaos of currency volatility. On the other hand, the second phase of the crisis mercilessly exposed the …


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