The World Today for November 29, 2023


Germany Divided


The far-right, xenophobic Alternative for Germany political party has long concerned observers who fear a resurgence of the fascistic spirit in Europe’s largest, wealthiest country.

Now, not to be outdone, German politician Sahra Wagenknecht is launching a new political party that is far-left and xenophobic. She expects to run candidates on the “Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance – for Reason and Justice” line on ballots in European parliamentary elections in June, the Financial Times reported.

Wagenknecht grew up in East Germany, Reuters explained. She was a member of Die Linke, a party descended from the former East German Communist Party. Her mother is German, while her father is Iranian. Yet she exhibits intolerance for families like hers living in Germany today.

“There shouldn’t be any neighborhoods where natives are in the minority,” she said in a 2021 interview quoted in the Guardian.

Promising to restrict migration, boost wages, and make benefits more generous, Wagenknecht has expressed skepticism about measures to combat climate change, sanctions against Russia, and German military aid for Ukraine, the Associated Press wrote.

Wagenknecht’s move should worry Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the socialist whose center-left coalition government is deeply unpopular. According to Politico, the conservative Christian Democrats enjoy almost 30 percent support among voters, followed by the Alternative for Germany with more than 20 percent. Scholz’s Social Democrats are in third place with 16 percent.

As Lee Hockstader discussed in a Washington Post column, Scholz dithered before supplying Ukraine with financial and military aid. He opposes Ukrainian membership of NATO while Europe’s other major power, France, supports it. He has also failed to act to rebuild crumbling infrastructure, boost digital services, and other investments despite his campaign promises.

A German court’s recent ruling that the government could not transfer $65 billion from a fund appropriated for coronavirus relief to instead pay for anti-climate change measures, as Euractiv reported, has become a symbol of Scholz’s fecklessness. The ruling meant that Scholz needs to quickly find $65 billion to pay for previously approved spending that the government might no longer be able to finance.

Deutsche Welle called the court decision a “political bombshell” that is putting inordinate pressure on Scholz’s coalition. The chancellor is now considering easing debt restrictions to plug the budget hole, added Bloomberg, a move that will surely incense conservative Germans who aren’t so enthusiastic about the green transition.

In the meantime, the migrants keep coming, the Russians and Ukrainians keep fighting, and Germany grows more divided.

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