One of the more comfortable duties of the opposition leader is being able to demand leadership from the government without having to prove one's own leadership skills. The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz fulfilled this task over the Christmas holidays.
Germany must assume "leadership responsibility for Europe," he said. There is little wrong with this requirement. It has been in the handbook of opposition political platitudes for years. Things get more complicated when this claim to leadership is to be specified.
Because that requires convincing 26 other EU countries of your own line. The more complex the political situation, the more difficult it becomes. If Merz then expresses his desire for a China strategy that is not just German, but even for a coherent European one, then that is not wrong either, but it is asking a lot.
Merz uses the same tactic that shrewd six-year-olds use before Christmas to maximize their yield: They simply add the entire toy catalog to the wish list.
Although the Federal Foreign Office is working on a “new China strategy”, it is doubtful that this will result in a great deal that the European partners will support. Not even within the traffic light there is agreement on how to deal with the most powerful autocracy on earth, which will soon also be the largest economic power.
"Idealists" and "realists" are arguing about how to deal with a country that will remain a sales market that can hardly be replaced in the medium term for the export nation Germany. And as long as the German economy is not prepared to reduce its export dependency on China, the strategy papers of the Federal Foreign Office are little more than a diplomatic calligraphy exercise.
China has sent over 70 warplanes and seven ships across the unofficial Strait of Taiwan border. The maneuvers began after the passage of the US budget law providing for military aid to Taiwan.