Marcel Dirsus Profile picture
Security & Instability @occamstrategies. Non-Resident Fellow @ISPK_org. Ex @UniofOxford
Magdi Shalash Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
27 Oct
Not sure why you'd want to but with Merkel in office since 2005 you could communicate almost exclusively in Merkel gifs. A thread:
Amused? There's a Merkel gif for that
Dealing with someone crazy? There's a Merkel gif for that
Read 18 tweets
16 Oct
I came across a collection of election posters for the German centre-right CDU (Merkel's party) starting in 1946 and they provide such an interesting window into modern history. A thread of weird and wonderful posters with translations for non-German speakers:
Your choice: Anarchy, Class War, Denominational War or CDU (1946)
Work, Bread, Shelter: CDU

(1946)
Read 20 tweets
31 Aug
Wondering what happens in Germany after Merkel? Black-Green (CDU/CSU+Greens) remains most likely, but Red-Red-Green (SPD+Linke+Greens) is possible. I'm mentioning this because the far-left Linke is currently debating their stance on foreign policy and it's rather interesting
In terms of domestic policy, it's easy to imagine possible compromises between Linke and SPD and Greens. Increase minimum wage, do more to combat climate change, spend more on infrastructure, higher taxes - that sort of thing. In foreign policy, it's a lot more difficult
The Linke wants to disband NATO and end all foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr, Germany's military. They also want to ban all arms exports. Those positions are so radical that Social Democrats and Greens cannot possibly agree to them
Read 7 tweets
11 Aug
Absolutely amazing to see the Republicans try to portray Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as socialists or communists. Their positions are so far from radical that they'd probably be too right-wing for most parties on the centre-left if they were to run in Europe
I'm not sure whether it's obvious to ordinary Americans just how far the American political system tilts to the right. In Germany, for example, there are no political parties that oppose universal health care. Conservatives support it. Liberals support it. Leftists support it
A lot of the stuff that's seen as radical in American politics is so normal in Europe that nobody even questions it. Nobody here goes: "We should have a health care system that leaves millions and millions of people uninsured." To your average European, that's insane
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
Easy to talk about “reasonable compromise” with the Russian regime if you’re not the one constantly threatened, or attacked, or occupied, or bombed.
I mean what are the reasonable compromises here? Bomb half the number of hospitals in Syria? Displace 400000 instead of 800000 people in in a matter of months? Stop threatening the Baltic countries and start threatening some other country?
Assassinate people on NATO soil every two years instead of every year? Or are we supposed to let Russia occupy all of Georgia in exchange for letting Ukraine be free?
Read 5 tweets
8 May 19
It's the 8th of May, an important day in European history. On this occasion, let me post an excerpt of one of the most powerful speeches given in post-war Germany on this day by then President Richard von Weizsäcker in 1985:
"From our own history we learn what man is capable of. For that reason we must not imagine that we are now quite different and have become better."
"There is no ultimately achievable moral perfection – for no individual and for no nation. We have learned as human beings, and as human beings we remain in danger. But we have the strength to overcome such danger again and again."
Read 7 tweets
7 Jan 19
A little context on the attempted coup attempt in Gabon. This chart by Jay Ulfelder shows successful (red) and failed (grey) coup attempts worldwide over the last couple of decades. The three letters are country-codes. 2017 ZWE, for example, refers to the 2017 Zimbabwean coup
Coup attempts were relatively frequent during the Cold War. They have become a lot more rare now.
One widely-used data set by Powell & Thyne recorded 457 coup attempts between 1950 to 2010. About half of them (49,7%) were "successful."
Read 5 tweets
3 Oct 18
It's Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day) today. Every year on this day, I remember the end of a speech German President Richard von Weizsäcker gave on the 8th of May 1985. To me, his words are as relevant today as they were then - for Germany and others:
"From our own history we learn what man is capable of. For that reason we must not imagine that we are now quite different and have become better."
"There is no ultimately achievable moral perfection – for no individual and for no nation. We have learned as human beings, and as human beings we remain in danger. But we have the strength to overcome such danger again and again."
Read 8 tweets
20 Jul 18
On this day in 1944, a group around Claus von Stauffenberg tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The plot failed, Hitler survived. Stauffenberg and many, many others paid the ultimate price.
One of those involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler was Henning von Tresckow. He committed suicide after he found out that Hitler survived. Here are some of his most memorable quotes:
"It is almost certain that we will fail."
Read 6 tweets
12 Jul 18
Something that people don't pay enough attention to: Trump can use overwhelming American power to get short-term concessions from other countries. He then sells those concessions to voters at home who have no idea how much they cost America in the long-term. Let me illustrate. /1
Trump can say: Spend more on defence right now or we will abandon NATO. European NATO members are likely to increase spending, which he can then sell at home. But at what cost? Europeans no longer consider the United States to be a reliable ally. /2
Would it be in America's interest for Europeans to spend (a little) more on defence? Sure. Is it worth them thinking that America is no longer a reliable ally? Definitely not. America is going to pay for Trump's performance for decades to come /3
Read 6 tweets
18 Jun 18
From a German: Americans, your President is systematically destroying the transatlantic relationship. This is outright hostile. You might get a new President soon, but alliances can't be switched on and off. Germans hate Trump and it's making them dislike America. /1
We have arrived at a point at which Germans consider Russia a more trustworthy partner than the United States. Just 25% of Germans think America can be trusted. /2
German diplomats are now forced to think about ways to hurt the United States in order to retaliate against hostile tariffs imposed by Trump. It's completely unheard of. /3
Read 5 tweets
4 Jun 18
I'm spending my week with a group of 30 young, highly educated foreign policy experts from Germany and the US. It's astonishing to see how heavily the American participants underestimated the damage done by Trump before they came to Berlin /1
They came here thinking Trump and Merkel had a difficult relationship but that US-German relations were fundamentally intact. /2
They aren't. This administration poses an existential threat to transatlantic relations. Ordinary Germans hate Trump. Many policy makers see the United States under Trump as unreliable and at times adversarial
/3
Read 5 tweets