After Merkel, Germany must admit the return of history
It was an American political scientist who popularised the idea that end of the cold war marked the definitive victory of liberal democracy. Three decades later Germany is all but alone in cleaving to Francis Fukuyama’s end of history thesis. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s departure might be a moment for Berlin to detach yesterday’s sincerely-held hopes from today’s harsh truths. The signs are not encouraging.
Anointed by the chancellor, Armin Laschet is the frontrunner to succeed her after September’s election. This week he set out the Christian Democrats’ stall. China’s great power ambitions and Russia’s revanchism may have shattered the post-cold war order, but Laschet’s answer is best summed up as “steady as we go”. On the big issues, he told the Financial Times, he had never parted company with the ever-cautious Merkel.
Yes, Laschet admitted,…