On the 19th of December, the lively scene at the Christmas marketplace in Breitscheidplatz, Berlin turned into one of fear and despair as a heavy truck crushed 12 people to death and left other 56 people injured.The gruesome, heart-wrenching terrorist attack on Germany’s capital was expected by many, and the West’s radical Islamist enemies had warned that an attack was coming. The attack was fiercely reminiscent of the terror attack carried out in Nice, 5 months ago, and sure enough the Islamic State (IS) soon claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack joins the already long list of Islamist terrorist attacks on Europe, a list that includes the Charlie Hebdo slaughter (12 deaths), the November 2015 Paris attacks (130 deaths), the Brussels bombings (32 deaths), the Cologne sexual assaults (1,200 victims), the Nice massacre (84 deaths), the Würzburg ax assault (5 injured), the Reutlingen attack (1 killed, 2 injured), the Munich shooting (9 deaths), and the Ansbach festival suicide attack (15 injured). The fact that the perpetrator of the attack was a refugee, further added fuel to the ire faced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is facing public outrage over her liberal refugee policy. This article attempts to analyse the impact the Berlin terror attack might have on Angela Merkel’s popularity and approval rating in Germany. The approval rating is crucial for Angela Merkel, as she prepares to run for the Chancellery for the 4th time.
First of all, the timing of the terror attack in Berlin couldn’t have been any worse. The attack happened at a time when the far-right movement is gaining incredible credence all over the West, and the attack has virtually vindicated the stance of alt right leaders who advocate a hardline approach to immigration and refugee policy.The timing of Monday’s attack, less than a week before Christmas, resonates powerfully with the German people. Germans have a special, fervent love of this holiday. his wasn’t just an attack on a crowd of people, a community or even a city. It was an attack on a deep-seated cultural and social tradition. It was an attack on what it means to be German, at least at this time of the year. Monday’s attack will drive home the message to Germans that Germany’s Christian culture, its Christian traditions, and its Christian values and morality are under attack. The response, quite naturally, will be for growing numbers of Germans to gravitate toward the politician or political party they believe will best defend them. Hint: That politician is NOT Angela Merkel.
Thus, we can reasonably assert that the biggest loser from this attack is German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Before the refugee crisis began, Merkel used to be the de facto leader of mainland Europe, the guardian of the continent’s liberal ideals, champion of European unity and standard-bearer of German economic dominance and prowess. The Berlin attack changed all that. The attack served as a blunt reminder of the limits of Merkel’s powers, the fundamental risks of her open borders approach to the refugee crisis, and also the embarrassing failure of the German federal security agencies in the face of the rising Islamist terror threat.
Chancellor Merkel made a highly controversial decision to welcome nearly 1 million refugees into Germany since the start of 2015. Her Government’s lax deportation policies and striking failure to act aggressively against Islamist militants have received widespread public ire. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre after the Berlin attacks indicates that Merkel’s approval rating has reached a 5-year low of just 45%. Undoubtedly, Merkel’s approval ratings will plunge even further in the coming weeks as public outrage swells. Merkel will represent her party in the German federal elections next fall, but even if she is returns to office for a fourth time, it will as a significantly diminished figure. Incredibly, Merkel has elevated a naive liberal humanitarianism over the national security of her own country.
Merkel’s stance on the refugee crisis was strongly rejected by the rising powers in the east, including Poland and Hungary. German power within the European Union was once formidable. Today, it is increasingly challenged and rejected. The Berlin attack has even larger ramifications for the current geo-political situation in Europe and North America. The attack sent shock waves across the Western society, highlighting the fact that a liberal refugee policy is not in the interest of national security. Rightist leaders from all over the West stepped up anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the Berlin Attack. Many have already declared the Berlin attack as Germany’s 9/11.
Note:- All the opinions stated in the above article are the author’s own.
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