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  • Konrad Werner: Germany’s reputation has been trashed


Konrad Werner: Germany’s reputation has been trashed

Merkel and Schäuble are bullying Europe to hide their own failure. And they're destabilizing the Middle East.

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The happy years are over. After decades of steady rehabilitation – promoting the great idealism of the European Union, having a conscience about the Iraq War, leading the world on energy reform, having a nice football team led by a mod, and winning Eurovision, Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schäuble have decided it’s about time everyone hates Germany again. This pair of shrivelled souls are determined to make Greece grovel and force the rest of Europe to watch while Yanis Varoufakis eats off the floor. Merkel and Schäuble are bullying Europe to hide their own failure. As this economist said: “It’s a really appalling act of failure of leadership – there is very little leadership in Germany, where politicians say, ‘Listen, this is what’s going on, the stories you’ve been hearing in the media are not quite correct, and we have to bite the bullet here a little bit. It’s in our national interests.'” And the German media is refusing to question the government’s narrative.

But dragging the continent into an economic abyss for the sake of short term gain and establishing their power is nothing compared to what these cold, stubborn leaders are doing to destabilize the Middle East.

In January, several German newspapers reported that Merkel had decided to block weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, because it looks bad helping an Islamic state that beheads people when we’re supposed to be fighting an Islamic State that beheads people. The government refused to confirm or deny the Bild newspaper’s unsourced claim. Then last week, it turned out that it was all made up anyway, after an official Bundestag question from Die Linke revealed that Germany was selling more weapons to the Saudis than ever – €332 million worth of spare parts for military aircraft and assault rifles between October 2014 and the end of January.

Now, thanks to another Bundestag question, the Merkel administration has admitted that prosecutors are investigating the possibility that the Bahraini secret service is using the German-developed spyware FinFisher to spy on regime opponents in Germany. (Opposition activists in Bahrain have already been arrested and detained thanks to help from FinFisher.)

This would be illegal in two different ways. One: it would violate Germany’s anti-spying laws, two: it would violate Germany’s export control laws, since Bahrain isn’t supposed to have FinFisher and the company claimed it did not sell it to them. The first of these will be virtually impossible to investigate – if they can’t prosecute anyone for hacking Merkel’s phone, they’re unlikely to give a shit about some random Bahrainis fighting for social justice in their country, and the second problem goes against Merkel and Schäuble’s “principles” – i.e. as long as German export markets are protected it doesn’t matter how many foreigners live and die in misery. So it turns out the German government is just as unscrupulous and blind and stupid as yours. I don’t have a punchline here. I just think it’s really shit and you should know.