by Ben P
Mon Sep 19th, 2005 at 08:28:53 PM EST
Now, my first instinct when it comes to the various Green Parties around the world is to view them through the lens of their American incarnation, but as I look more closely at their German version, I think I should probably question some of my aversion to Green Parties outside the US. What do I mean by this?
Well, in the US, the Green Party plays a role more like that of the German Linke Party than it does its namesake. In other words, the Green Party in the US is a motley collection of unreconstructed left wing radicals (Marxists and anarchists), young anti-globalization types, and Ross Perot-type protest voters. It strikes me that the German version is not like this, however. It seems to me to be more along the lines of "social liberal" party that is actually a fairly pro-market party, centrist economically, leftist in terms of social politics, with a strong emphasis on environmental issues. Is this an accurate reading? If so, this would be the exactly the kind of party I would feel at home in.
Also, as to the current political horsetrading that is occurring in Germany. Clearly, Merkel is pretty desperately hoping she can get the Greens to sign on to a "Jamaica coalition," which strikes me as unlikely. Now I don't necessarily want to see this happen, but it also strikes me, that from the perspective of Joschka Fischer, he now finds himself in a very strong bargaining position vis-a-vis Merkel. In other words, he should at least talk to Merkel and drive a very hard bargain for his party's participation. He should demand to stay on as foreign minister as well as demand several other important cabinet positions. Whether this will be too much for Merkel to handle, it would very much weaken the right's ability to have a government that would be satisfactory, as this would be a government that would greatly magnify the left's role in a configuration of which the Left would only represent a fairly small fraction. Still, it seems Merkel's only choice if this Jamaica scenario is to have any possibility is an ostensibly center-right governmental "dog" whose center-left "tail" will be doing a lot more "wagging" than the other way round.