The rhombus was the symbol of the Merkel years. The “rhombus of power” is still spoken of today, and the gesture typical of Angela Merkel arose out of awkwardness: “I didn’t know where to put my hands,” the Chancellor herself explained, “then the hands found each other like that .”
During the federal election campaign, Olaf Scholz made the Merkel hand gesture his own for a front-page photo. The message was ambiguous, on the one hand it was intended to underpin his claim to power and at the same time to suggest continuity.
The sense of continuity that Scholz wanted to convey has been overtaken by reality. In retrospect, the Merkel years turned out to be years of wrong energy and security policy decisions. Now Germany is in a hydra-like crisis, inflation, shortage of skilled workers, energy shortage, military incapacity.
So now the turning point is on the political agenda. And how does Olaf Scholz act? He says: “We have a plan.” He just doesn’t say what this plan looks like. This method is reminiscent of Angela Merkel in the refugee crisis year 2015: “We can do it,” she said at the time, without explaining how. The result was a divided country and a strengthened AfD, which then entered the Bundestag as the largest opposition party.
If almost a third of Germans are dissatisfied with the chancellor’s communication, that’s an alarm signal. Having plans is not enough for good crisis management. Decisions and words have to come together – like two hands when they want to form a diamond.