“Who leads the West, Trump or Merkel?” This is the question posed by Russell Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. The essay is online at the Hoover web site, and we highly recommend it to our readers. For this reason, we will not summarize it here but simply note that it contrasts George Washington’s ideas to those of the speculative Thomas Jefferson and Germany’s Immanuel Kant. Professor Berman then skips forward in time and finds similar contrasts between Donald Trump’s thought shaped by liberty-oriented American political culture versus Angela Merkel’s German statist traditions.
We will attempt an answer to Professor Berman’s question as to which leader, Trump or Merkel, has the better claim to the mantle of “leader of the West,” on the basis of facts on the ground.
Merkel’s Germany is now in crisis. She cannot form a government because she refuses to form a majority government of the right. That would mean allying with the anti-immigration, Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD), which goes against her unpopular policy of open borders for African and Asian refugees, many of whom are Muslim, poorly educated, and hostile to Western mores. As a result of her opening Europe’s gates to a Muslim demographic invasion, half of Eastern Europe now has conservative governments hostile to both the immigrants and the European Union. German-speaking Austria is the latest adherent to this shift to the right. It’s now governed by a coalition of the conservative Austrian People’s Party and the nationalist Freedom Party, which is similar in viewpoint to Germany’s AfD.
Conservative victories on four continents
President Trump is not a conservative himself but, pragmatist and populist, he leads an unruly Republican Party coalition of conservatives, libertarians, evangelicals, and some independents. Today it is likely to achieve its greatest legislative victory by enacting in both houses of Congress the most important tax reform since President Reagan in 1986. Under President Trump, the US is also moving toward full energy independence. Germany under Chancellor Merkel, by contrast, may approve Nord Stream 2, a pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. This would make Germany and the European Union more, not less, dependent on Russia for its energy. Earlier, Chancellor Merkel made that dependence even greater by shutting down Germany’s nuclear power plants.
In contrast to Chancellor Merkel’s so far failed attempt to form a Grand Coalition government with the leftist So