November 29, 2017 — Berlin
To the Editor:
Re “Germany’s Time of Troubles” (editorial, Nov. 24):
Amid the tumultuous political developments in trans-Atlantic and European affairs over the last decade, Germany has been a bedrock of stability, with Chancellor Angela Merkel a key global leader. But German federal elections in September tossed her leadership and German politics into a political tailspin whose end is not in sight.
Efforts to form a coalition are challenging, with the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party gaining the support of 12.6 percent of the electorate. For the first time since World War II, Germany’s parliament will have a large right-wing bloc with members who express revisionist views and even glorify the Nazi past.
At a time when German leadership is needed more than ever to calm political convulsions tearing at the fabric of European unity, Germany is dealing with its own political disputes on issues like immigration, climate, tax policy and welfare subsidies, leaving it with diminished capacity to fight anti-Europe sentiments.
Still, the stakes for determining Germany’s future as a European leader have seldom been higher. Critically important is ensuring that whatever the election outcome, Germany will remain a key force in countering intolerance, populism and hatred in Europe, and a supporter of Israel and the trans-Atlantic bond.
DEIDRE BERGER, BERLIN
The writer is director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin Ramer Institute.