Angela Merkel finally said it: the status quo ante is over. "German Chancellor Angela Merkel told an election rally in Munich that Europe 'must take its fate into its own hands,' pointing to potential differences of opinion with the United States and Great Britain, following the Group of Seven summit in Italy."
"The times when we could completely count on others, they are over to a certain extent," Merkel said on Sunday. "I have experienced this in the last few days. And that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands."
Merkel affirmed her country's friendship with the U.S. and the United Kingdom, but suggested that Europeans should fight for their own destiny.
Ironically the European Union facilitated the very thing it was designed to prevent. "The eurozone and the euro were created not for profound economic reasons but to assuage France’s perennial fear of German power." Now Germany will lead Europe to its fate. All over the world, an immense tectonic shift is taking shape and it's increasingly hard to imagine reverting to the earlier version. One can either think Trump caused the shift in 5 months or it was a long time coming. It was probably a long time coming.
At any rate, anyone who still believes in an open-border, multiculti world that can be set back upon the rails without more than minor delay must have had his faith shaken to the core. The idea, articulated by Der Spiegel, that if only the establishment could be rid of Trump all would be well, is unrealistic. As Merkel said, the Brexit and Trump have Humpty-Dumptied the status quo ante, cracked it up. It might still patch itself up, but it will no longer be its old self.
In some respects, Merkel is the realist reaction to globalism's downfall. By contrast, Corbyn, Sanders and Hillary are the fantasy alternative. They are still waiting for the Mother Ship to come. The bad dream will go away if only they can shout "noooo" long enough. The Germans know better; the flying saucer is as delayed as General Steiner's attack. "That is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands."
In stark juxtaposition is New York Magazine's long feature on the "surreal post-election life of" Hillary Clinton, "the woman who would have been president". It paints the picture of someone who can reel off all the little reasons she lost but not the big one. That time had passed her by. Not just Hillary but Corbyn and Sanders. Vaudeville ain't coming back, but its fading stars don't know it yet.
Merkel knows it's time to ring down the curtain and start the next act. Considered another way, the time has finally come to create a post post-war world. The crisis at hand could be an opportunity inside an apparent disaster. Technology means some form of the global economy/order will survive but perhaps it is better loosely coupled rather than monolithic. It could be many things, not a single PC ideology. Borders and cultures might once again function as interfaces to hide the bewildering complexity of the interior components of nations. There may be lots of dislocation and time spent in adjustment but perhaps less pain than holding a doomed course.