At the recent G7 summit, held May 26-27 in Taormina, Italy, US President Donald Trump said the US was going to leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, a move that may have a devastating effect for the whole planet.
In response to Trump’s declarations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel labelled Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May as unreliable partners, saying “we must fight for our own future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans”.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel echoed Merkel, saying “the short-sighted policies of the US government stands against the interests of the European Union”, and that for this reason “the West has become smaller; at least it has become weaker”.
With these statements, Germany is seeking to reinforce its role as the undisputed leader of the West, while cutting off the US and Britain.
While Trump’s nationalism and May’s retrograde conservatism should be opposed, Merkel’s Germany offers no real alternative and must not be allowed to further monopolise control over the economic and social policies of the EU.
German people seem to appreciate Merkel’s attitude, with recent polls indicating she is likely to be re-elected Chancellor for a fourth term.
Among the objectives of Merkel and her allies is for the head of the Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, to replace Mario Draghi as head of the European Central Bank in 2019, thereby ensuring German neoliberalism remains the basic principle of EU economic policies.
The impact of these policies is plain to see when we look at the Greek financial crisis. On the verge of bankruptcy, Greece has been forced to accept unfavourable conditions to pay off its debt to the EU.
In practice, this has led to savage privatisations, the benefits of which have been enjoyed mostly by Germany.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was right when he attributed the political responsibility for the Greek crisis to Germany. After all, how can Greece get out of the crisis if it is Germany that almost entirely benefits from the fruits of Greece’s labour?
The West seems to be stuck with the dilemma of choosing being two objectionable positions: blind neoliberalism on the one hand, and boorish nationalism on the other.
This is an urgent need to find a solution to this situation.
The recent examples of Jean-Luc Melenchon in France and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain show that a third way is not only possible, but that it can reawaken the enthusiasm of people and give them hope for a better future.
People are still willing to support a genuine socialist proposal that is able to give concrete answers to their problems.
Higher taxes for corporations, nationalisation of essential services, free education and healthcare, and the reduction of working hours are some of the solutions to the crisis.
Austerity or nationalist agendas are not.