[The AfD's] sheer existence makes two-way coalitions on the national level almost impossible. We are looking at the possibility of protracted coalition negotiations and an inward-looking German capital at a time when I would argue German responsibility in Europe is urgently needed. That is one significant impact the AfD has, whether it is in the opposition or not.
[Merkel's] careful incrementalism [...has seen Germany through several crises, but it increasingly appears inadequate to the current challenges... Her] exquisitely tempered balancing style was fantastic for brokering results at European conferences. It’s clearly not the best approach when you are dealing with aggressive authoritarian powers, and she has clearly not given enough thought to preparing Germany for a much more disruptive future. [...] The absence of a leader as experienced, resourceful and well-networked as Angela Merkel will make itself felt in times of disruption and insecurity.
We’re not islands. The decisions of our allies have consequences for their allies. You get this impression that people are making policy into a void when there should be coordination. [...] What people will overlook is that an entire generation of western practitioners [including military officers, diplomats, intelligence officials and journalists] went through Afghanistan. This is NATO’s most legitimate mission, the one that was most central to our understanding of ourselves.
[Public broadcasting in Germany] started off as a means of democratic reeducation and rerooting political pluralism in Germany, and then morphed into a means of preventing new forms of disinformation or propaganda, particularly from the East.
Managing China’s rise will require using our considerable trade, technological and regulatory leverage to delineate clearer red lines. That is where Merkel has been overtaken by shifts in expert and also public opinion.
It’s important to talk to [authoritarian leaders] with a straight face, to not succumb to their tricks, not give them more airspace than is absolutely necessary, but allow them to put their positions out there and refute them calmly one by one. I think that’s what grown-up democracies do.
[On the D-10's definition and inclusion criteria] For example, Hungary, Russia or China are obviously never going to be included in a D-10. But with the current Polish or Indian governments you are already entering a gray zone.
[President-elect Joe Biden's remarks'] ‘America is Back’ means something very different than if George W Bush had said it, or even if Obama had said it in the context. And this means that this is a different kind of America – not a rapacious America First at whatever price, but one that makes a very sober assessment of its options and limitations of power.
On November 9, Constanze Stelzenmueller discussed the impact of the 2020 U.S. presidential election on American foreign policy and the international liberal order at the Financial Times’s Global Boardroom conference.