The division awakens a man
Populism and Division of Society"Merkel has to talk about the reality in Germany"
Sarah Zerback: On the phone I now greet Uwe-Karsten Heye, the former spokesman for the first red-green federal government and the ex-consul general in New York. Good afternoon, Mr. Heye.
Uwe-Karsten Heye: I greet you.
Zerback: The suspended, did Angela Merkel reach them with her speech today?
Heye: I do not think so. No, I think that her self-praise that the Germans have never been so good in their history as it is now was interesting, but did not reach many who do not feel that their life situation corresponds to that. Especially since - and I do not say that with praise - President Trump, the future President of America, says the exact opposite for the majority of his voters. He says, left behind and without a future, they voted for him, although he is a multiple millionaire, convicted cheat and also one who wants to reduce the tax burden for the enslaved upper class in the USA, that he still has the support of the left voters. Why did he get this? ... because he leads them to believe that, through isolation and border fences and the end of globalization, they can bring about the return of jobs to the USA, which have allegedly been lost through trade agreements and the treaty that has just been concluded with the Pacific states. The same applies to climate change, which he also believes to be an invention of the Chinese, and because this is only an invention, the coal-fired states in the USA can build new coal-fired power plants again.
Zerback: In the meantime, as we heard today, he has rowed back. - But you're just saying: The question is, how did he do it. But the question is also why Angela Merkel doesn't make it and what could she do to be as successful as Donald Trump in his country.
"We also have a split in this society"
Heye: I think she has to start talking about the reality in Germany. We also have a division in this society that is quite serious and deep. I can only refer to it when she says that we have favorable numbers on the job market, indeed. But the increase can be explained, among other things, by the precarious jobs and low incomes that temporary workers get. I dare to doubt whether they will understand what this Chancellor said, that we, in other words all of us, have never been as good as we are now.
Zerback: That is an interesting point, because it does address the problems, and it also mentions that there is a risk of populism. But does she find the right words for it?
Heye: I don't think so. I think she ignores it, and wherever she gives the impression that she is particularly progressive - just take the keyword digitization - it is said a little, it could well be that this is a problem For example, the representation of employees by trade unions means what consequences individual jobs have and the like. All of this is always presented in such a way, but never in such a way that you have the feeling that there is someone here who wants to change something in this country. And the division that we also have, that six percent of the people in Germany own almost 60 percent of the wealth in Germany, that we have to do something to end this division and give people the feeling again that they are meant and not only be mentioned if need be.
Zerback: Mr. Heye, you were now very close to ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. In such a situation, what would you have wished for in his speech?
"We have to help create an America that no longer follows the dictates of economism"
Heye: I would have liked to make it clear to him that we are faced with a double problem, not a single word of which was heard in the Chancellor's government statement. Take the growing right-wing extremism in Germany, a right-wing populism that has found a new party, the AfD, and which feels promoted by the right-wing populist Trump: "Here we are!" I think she missed an opportunity, and she shouldn't have missed it, to make it clear that our debate in this country is also about dealing with new media issues in such a way that we can talk to each other again and not just in Obscure chat rooms disappear and have the impression that everything is thought exactly as we think.
Zerback: Donald Trump - we have just heard from our correspondent - she never mentioned him by name.
Heye: I think this is a mistake. Yes it is a mistake! I think that one has to say that half of Americans, the division in society, which is almost fifty-fifty, that we have to help the other half, which is still inferior, to get an America back on that really Do not follow the dictates of economism any further, but think about how the unfortunately rejected candidate Sanders tried, with great approval, above all among young Americans, to approach social justice again and not just to believe that everyone forged their own fortune is itself.
Zerback: Mr Heye, I can tell that you consider this to be quite a challenge. You once said about George W. Bush, and I am now quoting, that his intellectual level was extraordinarily low-threshold. How will this challenge now be achieved with President Trump?
"We have to do without a real transatlantic community for a foreseeable future."
Heye: I believe that we in Europe have to find the answer, difficult as it is. I have no illusions about the current state of the European Union. But that we have to be prepared for a foreseeable time until the first impeachment against Trump is set in motion in America, that we have to get by for a foreseeable time without a real transatlantic community and that we in Europe have to think about how and in what way we bring the social questions and not the military thinking, but the social questions forward and to make it clear that we have answers that will hopefully be discussed in America at some point.
Zerback: Hopeful last words are those of Uwe-Karsten Heye, the former spokesman for the first red-green federal government, ex-consul general in New York. Thank you very much for talking to us, Mr. Heye.
Heye: Okay, my pleasure.
Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt the statements of its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.
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