Dhe Chancellor candidate of the Greens, Annalena Baerbock, has presented a book with the title “Now – How we renew our country”. It has been the subject of a plagiarism debate for the past few weeks. Regardless of this, however, it is also worth taking a look at the content-related positions. Baerbock expresses himself above all on topics that have also dealt with her in the Bundestag, such as family policy, euthanasia, the energy turnaround or European unification. There are no explanations about pension policy, for example.
In order to vividly describe the subjects she has dealt with in greater detail, she often uses triads. First she describes a personal experience, then leads on to concrete political demands and from this develops inner principles and general convictions.
Not very convincing
However, the triad often fails, for example when she writes on health policy. She says that while studying in London, she developed a kidney infection. The ambulance doesn’t show up for six hours. Sheets are not changed in the hospital. The reason for Baerbock is a national health service that has been saved together. This is followed by a look at Germany, where around 25 percent of hospital beds have been dismantled over the past thirty years. Ultimately, the philosophy follows: “A state that wants to live up to its responsibilities must, however, take precautions, and that is not possible if services of general interest are underfinanced and subject to the primacy of the economy.”
Your triad is therefore: renal pelvic inflammation in London, too few hospital beds in Germany, end the primacy of the economy! But the world is not that simple. Every health economist is familiar with the problem of too many hospital beds, which have created the wrong incentives and have sometimes resulted in patients being treated worse. Experts know that every third clinic is superfluous for medical care. This was recently confirmed by the chairman of the Federal Joint Committee of Health Insurance Funds, Doctors and Clinics, Josef Hecken, in the Sunday newspaper. In order to curb the expected further increase in costs, a comprehensive structural reform is necessary, said Hecken. Baerbock, on the other hand, wants to throw more money into the system.
The legal passages in her book are not convincing either; for example when she reports on her degree in “Public International Law”. Baerbock formulates a single sentence about what shaped her academically in London. Her studies taught her “how much legal texts are living documents and how answers to questions of law develop over time.” However, legal texts are not very much associated with international law. Its legal sources are contracts, customary law and general principles. Your statement that answers evolve is banal. In order for the triad to fit, Baerbock adds: “This is what the United Nations’ basic understanding is based on.”
Not sufficiently researched?
Baerbock introduces the chapter on climate protection with this sentence, among other things: “As early as 1987, the German Meteorological Society warned in a memorandum of global climate changes caused by humans.” The 1987 paper is presented as the primal cry of the climate protection movement; so significant that the reader thinks it is protected by cling film in Baerbock’s private desk drawer.
But it sure doesn’t. A request from the German Meteorological Society (DMG) shows that the paper was not even published as a “memorandum”. It is also a joint declaration with the German Physical Society. That was where the impetus came, and a preliminary version was drawn up there in 1986. This can still be found on the Internet today. In later publications by third parties, the joint paper erroneously becomes “a DMG memorandum”. If Baerbock had the original paper, she would have named it correctly. This gives the impression that Baerbock is quoting from secondary sources. A few sentences later she wrote: “It’s not about listening to scientists, but listening to them”. Maybe it would be a start if she reads what she writes about herself.
Elsewhere, Baerbock deals with the Schengen Agreement. It was closed in 1985 in the Luxembourg border town of Schengen. Baerbock mistakenly thinks that Spain and Portugal were among the first countries and puts the historic meeting back a decade. At the same time, she writes that this means that border controls in the “EU” are no longer applicable. The EU did not yet exist in 1985, at that time it was the “European Communities”. She says that George Bush senior offered Germany a “partner in leadership” in 1991, but that was back in 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Enabling Act was also not passed in the Reichstag building, as Baerbock suggests, but in the Kroll Opera House, since the Reichstag building could not be used after the Reichstag fire. In the advertising text of the book it is said that Baerbock fights for “change with passion and expertise”. You can’t deny her passion. When it comes to expertise, she still has to improve.
Baerbock, Annalena; in collaboration with Michael Ebmeyer: Now. How we renew our country. Ullstein, Berlin 2021. 240 pages. 24 euros.