Angela Merkel’s Great Escape

By James Traub

Two years ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel uttered the most resonant, but also the most widely ridiculed, judgment on the refugee crisis just then arriving at the borders of Europe: “wir schaffen das” — “we can do it.” A year later, after staggering numbers of Syrians — and then Iraqis and Afghans and Eritreans and Moroccans — had poured into Germany, and as the country’s fine-tuned bureaucratic machine buckled and at times broke down under the strain, and as refugees were implicated in sexual assaults and terrorist attacks, Merkel felt called upon to concede that “this phrase was a little overstated.” Or perhaps not a little: When I was in Dresden last December, I heard dire predictions that a xenophobic, nationalist party — Alternative for Germany (AfD) — would rise from obscurity to become Germany’s main opposition party, just as was happening in France, Austria, and elsewhere.

Read the full Foreign Policy article by CIC Non-Resident Fellow James Traub here

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Sep 21, 2017
James Traub