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Angela Merkel

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Angela Merkel Is Conceding Defeat To Coronavirus.

Her “herd immunity” strategy risks millions of European lives.

Less than two weeks ago, life on Italy’s streets was as vibrant as ever. The cafés were filled to capacity with elegantly dressed Italians and tourists, and the looming coronavirus threat was dismissed as “just another flu.”

That level of swift and determinate action is painfully absent in one crucial country in the dead center of Europe: Angela Merkel’s Germany.

Today, the country is under a complete lockdown. The death rate in some Italian provinces is approaching 10% among those infected, and it has become apparent that the coronavirus threat is living up to the hype.

Italy is finally taking the pandemic seriously and beginning to emulate the crackdown on public life that has managed to sharply suppress the rate of transmission in China and South Korea. European countries are now taking preventative measures to make sure they do not become the next Italy. Austria has closed its border to Italy, shut down universities and gone into a nation-wide lockdown, and so has Spain; Eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic are conducting health checks at the border and shutting down their borders with Germany, and Israel is ordering all tourists to exit the country within days. China’s measures remain the harshest by far, enabled by an omnipresent surveillance state as well as the nation’s traditional respect for family values and the elderly.

That level of swift and determinate action is painfully absent in one crucial country in the dead center of Europe: Angela Merkel’s Germany.

The suffering and death that Angela Merkel seems to be willing to unleash onto her country and the continent writ large may well spell the end of the open-border consensus that has prevailed in Western Europe—and is now meeting its ultimate test.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn

German Health Minister Jens Spahn

PROCRASTINATION AS A NATIONAL STRATEGY

While China’s aggressive containment strategy offered the rest of the world time, Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn did virtually nothing. On January 27th, he said Germany was “well prepared.” On February 12th, he claimed the virus was “under control.” On March 4th, speaking to the country’s parliament, he compared the coronavirus with the influenza wave of 2017 and professed his great trust in the medical system to deal with the outbreak.

Merkel’s approach is just to let the entire country become infected to trigger “herd immunity.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s biggest epicenter, the town of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia, saw lukewarm and highly limited measures. When parents were asked to bring their potentially exposed kids in for testing, a considerable number didn’t even bother to show up. As of today, eight people have died as a result of the lack of urgency. Italy, which is two weeks ahead of the curve, already has 1,441 dead.

Unless Germans are magically immune to a disease, this number is sure to explode in the following days and weeks. This is what happens when you have a toothless government with a weak, globalist figurehead that nobody respects.

But wait! It gets worse. On March 7th, 60,000 fans flocked to a soccer game in Mönchengladbach, a city bordering the epicenter in Heinsberg. On March 10th, 40,000 watched a soccer game in the East German city of Leipzig against Tottenham. Only after these games did the German political establishment wake up—inspired by an outraged medical community. Even today, Merkel’s government only ‘recommends’ that events with over 1,000 attendants be canceled; this is far too high a bar to be effective. While Berlin debates social distancing parameters, traffic to large events goes unhampered, and all stores are open.

This cavalier attitude is consistent with the treatment of the crisis in German mainstream media, which consistently warns against a “panic,” relaying politically correct concerns about “discriminating” those under quarantine and spreading fake news about the epidemic being negligibly more dangerous than the common flu. Their biggest concern? That the political right might exploit this viral nuisance for its political gain.

After weeks of utter silence, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel finally weighed in on March 10th. Unbelievably, she said that she expects two-thirds of the population to become infected with the virus, and then she had the nerve to praise her Health Minister, who, according to Merkel, is doing a “Great job.” The press conference was held flippantly by a smirking Merkel, who joked that the journalists in the audience were flaunting the hygiene rules she recommended.

Merkel’s approach is just to let the entire country become infected to trigger “herd immunity.” But this is an extremely risky strategy which seems to assume that those afflicted won’t get reinfected, that they will be unharmed if they survive the infection, and that there is no point in waiting for a vaccine or better treatments. It is a strategy that would bring about great loss of life, not just among the elderly.

Hazmat.

Hazmat.

MERKELISM vs. TRUMPISM

The entire pandemic is bound to become a cathartic event for a generation; it may trigger a comprehensive re-evaluation of a largely unchallenged political orthodoxy of the center and the establishment center-right. This crisis validates Trumpism in theory and screams for its decisive political implementation globally.

It is a sobering fact to many conservatives that Merkel has found an unlikely ally in the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is following a similarly risky strategy.

Germany’s attitude towards the coronavirus is at extreme odds with surrounding countries, which are anything but willing to lay down in the face of a virus that can potentially kill 15 to 25 percent of its elderly population and collapse their healthcare systems. For Merkel, however, the virus could not come at a more inconvenient time.

She is currently preparing to open the floodgates for another torrent of migrants that has unleashed on the Greek border. Merkel needs a bit more time to formalize the next steps of her lawless migration policy. Moreover, she has a vested interest in promoting her failing Health Minister in an intra-party power struggle that could see her old nemesis, conservative politician Friedrich Merz, take over the Christian Democratic Union. Health Minister Spahn has joined the pro-Merkel team, spending most of his time bashing Merz (instead of the impending pandemic). Merkel is putting politics ahead of the safety and security of the German people, as usual.

It is a sobering fact to many conservatives that Merkel has found an unlikely ally in the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is following a similarly risky strategy. Meanwhile, coronavirus has shown the need for border controls, nationalism, and all the cultural bugaboos that EU bureaucrats revile.

President Trump might wish to consider whether it is a good idea to trivialize the crisis, in the same way Germany’s goddess of open borders is. Trump certainly wants to beat back his enemies who are weaponizing the coronavirus against him, and protect economic stability in an election year—that’s understandable. But the time has come to set aside politics and focus them on a common goal: securing national well-being and integrity in the face of a biological threat of potentially unforeseen magnitude.

Written By

Gavin Wax is president of the New York Young Republican Club, chair of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director of the Young Republican National Federation, and an Associate Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax.

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