The grand coalition that she formed after last year's stunningly inconclusive national elections in a last-ditch attempt to save her government terribly underperformed in a spree of regional elections, with the proverbial writing on the wall being that the country is gradually embracing the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) opposition party. Merkel might have also concluded that her chairmanship of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is toxic for the party and its coalition allies, which could have influenced her decision not to run for reelection during its convention next month.
With the wisdom of hindsight, the EU's de-facto leader appears to have been done in by the ‘come one, come all' approach that her government initially employed in 2015 at the beginning of the Mideast Refugee Crisis, naively underestimating the socio-politically disruptive effect that allowing over one million civilizationally dissimilar individuals into her country could have for its stability. Merkel might have downplayed the influence of identity politics in Germany after having falsely convinced herself that her countrymen wouldn't dare publicly display any negative reaction to this large-scale foreign influx due to the guilt that they still feel for what happened during World War II, even though no reasonable parallel can be drawn between protesting some people who commit crimes and refuse to assimilate or integrate into society and carrying out genocide against Jews, Slavs, and other people.
Merkel's major miscalculation about the long-term political ramifications of her contentious refugee policy has the potential to completely revolutionize Germany after she decided to end the long era of her leadership and implicitly acknowledge the threat that the AfD poses to her government. Her announcement was so sudden and has still left so many people in shock that few have had the time to seriously consider who might replace her, let alone the so-called "worst-case" scenario of her stepping down before 2021 if this political feint fails to shore up support for her party. Another point to ponder is that her decision proves that the real situation in Germany isn't exactly how it's portrayed in Mainstream Media, which made it seem like her rule was unchallenged and that only a fringe minority of "radical" Germans opposed her refugee policy.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Thomas Trautzsch, independent political observer located in Jena, Germany, and Michael Schäfer, journalist and novelist from Germany, former 20-year-long member of the SPD and actual member of DIE LINKE (the Left) party.
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