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Posts Tagged ‘Kurbjuweit’

Hibernation: How Europe Can Survive the Trump Era

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juli 2018

Date: 21-07-2018
Source: SPIEGEL An Essay by Dirk Kurbjuweit

Explosive narcissism and vulgar capitalism: It is impossible to engage in politics with this U.S. president. Europe should resist the temptation to fixate on Donald Trump and instead pursue its own goals. That’s the lesson of a deeply disorienting week.

Politicians are used to engaging in politics — either with or in opposition to other politicians. Traditionally, the foreign policy of one nation-state or alliance is confronted by the foreign policy of another nation-state or alliance. That’s the way it has been for hundreds of years. But that’s not the way it is at the moment. When Donald Trump is involved, politics is not confronting politics. Rather, politics is confronting the bizarre.

There is no precedent for such a situation in the history of the West. That fact is also contributing to the difficulties of practicing politics in this day and age. Politicians, after all, frequently look to the history books for examples to follow and traditions to pursue. But in the history of democracies, the chapter on the bizarre is rather thin. Someone like Trump is a totally new beast and requires a completely novel approach to politics. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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End of an Era: Surveying the Ruins of Merkelism

Posted by hkarner - 20. Dezember 2017

Date: 19-12-2017
Source: DER SPIEGEL Editorial by Dirk Kurbjuweit

The Merkel era has been characterized by a deep yearning for stability.
Yet her tenure has led to Germany’s current period of instability. It is time to move on from Merkelism.

Angela Merkel: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Power? Politicians in Germany don’t seem to want it. The Free Democrats (FDP) already ran away from it and the Social Democrats (SPD) have been fussing over it for weeks. What’s wrong with these politicians? Isn’t power supposed to be the ultimate aphrodisiac? People used to say that birds would fly strangely before natural disasters like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. The same seems to apply to some politicians. They sense that something is about to happen — something big — the end of the Merkel era. As a result, they are behaving differently than usual.

It could still be awhile before Angela Merkel cedes power, but it’s clear that we’ve entered the late phase of Merkelism. This form of governance has been dominant in Germany for the past 12 years. It places consensus, quiet and stability above all else. That’s why the leaders of Merkelism do all they can to avoid disputes and appease the voter. Merkelism’s natural habitat is the political center, where the desire for societal consensus is greatest precisely because the center believes it is the embodiment of consensus. No attention is paid to the political periphery. Backbone is optional and political policies are fluid — and can even be borrowed from political opponents. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Wrong Majorities: What Extremist Success Means for Democracy

Posted by hkarner - 22. Mai 2016

Date: 21-05-2016
Source: Spiegel

A Commentary by Dirk Kurbjuweit

Germany’s „Basic Law“ serves as its constitution.

Democracy reflects the will of the people. But what if the will of the people threatens democracy? With the right wing on the rise, there is only one appropriate approach.

There’s more to a democracy than just the holy scripture of the constitution — there are also sacred numbers: election results. Together, words and numbers mold a country’s politics. In this process, the constitution is the constant while election represent a dynamic element. In the near future, this could also present a problem in several places: Election results are expected to deliver the wrong numbers. In Austria, a right-wing populist might get elected president. This could also happen in the United States. Germany’s AfD and France’s Front National have also attracted strong minority followings. A right-wing populist brush fire has become conceivable.

But is there such a thing as an incorrect election result? Are they not simply unpleasant or unpopular, depending on one’s subjective perception. In objective terms, the numbers are always right. They express the will of the people and grant the majority the power to govern. That is the intention. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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