Analysis

On November 11, 1918, World War One, the Great War, ended. Amid the chaos that followed—revolution, the fall of empires, and rise of nations—the United States attempted to build a rules-based world which favored freedom. American power had won the war, and President Woodrow Wilson was trying to shape a peace along the lines of what we now call a rules-based or “liberal” world order. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, presented the previous January, challenged the imperial, balance-of-power system of the European powers (on both sides) which had started the war, and at the same time took on Lenin’s revolutionary alternative. Wilson’s ideas were a rough draft of American Grand Strategy in what has been called the American Century.
US President Donald J. Trump’s October 20 announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as a result of Russian cheating set off a wide variety of anxious messages from allies as well as some gratuitous threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Angela Merkel announced on October 30 that she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) when the party hosts its annual convention in Hamburg in December. She also declared that this would be her last term as chancellor, as she will not stand for reelection to the Bundestag or any other political office. The announcement is surprising for several reasons, not least because of Merkel’s fundamental belief, inherited from her time in Helmut Kohl’s cabinet, that the chancellorship and head of the party should go hand in hand.

German chancellor to step down from party leadership in December, give up chancellorship in 2021

Germany’s Angela Merkel, viewed by many as a staunch defender of the liberal world order and a bulwark against the rising tide of populism in Europe, has decided to step down as leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in December and not run again for the chancellorship in 2021. Merkel, who dominated European politics for the past thirteen years, has been chairwoman since 2000 and chancellor since 2005.

“I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends,” Merkel told a news conference in Berlin on October 29.
Macedonia and Greece have reached “a generational point here [where a] decision can be taken,” George Robertson, who served as NATO’s secretary general from 1999 to 2004, said at an event at the Atlantic Council on October 22. Robertson, speaking on Macedonia’s potential succession to NATO, explained that the agreement between Macedonia and Greece to change Macedonia’s name is “an alignment of stars that is unlikely to happen for another thirty or forty years.”
US President Donald J. Trump confirmed on October 20 that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The agreement, signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, sought to ban both countries’ armed forces from keeping ground-based nuclear missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
The West celebrated in 1989 as the Berlin Wall came down and again in 1991 as the Soviet Union dissolved—and the formerly “captive nations” of Central and Eastern Europe liberated themselves from communism and Soviet domination. Central Europe and the Baltic states acted decisively during this historic window of opportunity. They anchored themselves not only in the West, but in its institutions of NATO and the European Union (EU).

The path has been more difficult for Europe’s east.
The result of the October 14 election in Bavaria has prompted the question: is this the beginning of the end for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition?

The Christian Social Union (CSU), which along with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is part of the governing coalition in Berlin, suffered heavy losses. It lost its absolute majority in the Bavarian parliament and 10.5 percent of votes compared to 2013. This was its worst showing since 1954.
Many in Berlin and across Europe will be closely watching Bavaria’s October 14 state parliamentary election for its implications for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. The Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and one of three partners in her grand coalition, has long dominated the state’s unique politics, holding an absolute majority for all but one term since the 1960s. That dominance seems to be coming to an abrupt end, with repercussions that will be felt in Berlin. 


    

RELATED CONTENT