Last May — when the Greek crisis was really getting hot the first time — we wrote a post titled: Has Angela Merkel Played The Worst Poker Hand In History?The problem was that Merkel was steadfast in being anti-bailout, only to cave at the end, but not before creating all kinds of new headaches and uncertainty. Her performance was a disaster through and through, because she was caught bluffing, and didn’t end up getting anything for it.
Over a year later, perceptions of her crisis handling continue to be really poor.
George Soros all but blames the entire Euro crisis on Merkel.
A new Der Spiegel article on leadership skills is just brutal.
Germany is obviously the leader of the Eurozone, but Merkel really hasn’t done anything notable to deal with the crisis raging all around her.
And questions about her incompetence go beyond Europe.
Last Wednesday the chancellor, speaking in the Angolan capital Luanda, said that Germany wanted to help the country “in bolstering its navy.” These words alone were enough to trigger a minor media frenzy. Nobody, it would seem, bothered to vet the comment prior to their delivery, particularly given the controversy over Germany’s planned sale of more than 200 tanks to Saudi Arabia . And they immediately led critics to question whether the German government now intended to become an arms supplier to dubious regimes.
She later added that she was referring to coast guard patrol boats. Even that could generate some controversy, but at least it didn’t sound quite as militant. To avoid the initial distress, Merkel should simply have mentioned the patrol boats right away, but she lacked the necessary judgment — and words — in the situation at hand, that is, the debate over tank exports. She communicated without a strategy, and the phrase “ships for Angola” was plopped into the world the way someone might drop a stone into a well.
Everyone thinks her political career is toast once the next elections come around, as the old guard within her conservative party has lost confidence in her. Unfortunately there’s a pressing need in Europe now to do something.