Magazine October 18, 2021, Issue

Germany after Merkel

(Roman Genn)
Adieu, O Angela

The coalition-building that follows a German election can take quite some time, but regardless of who becomes the country’s next chancellor (almost certainly the Social Democratic Party’s Olaf Scholz), one thing is undeniable: The descent of the center-right CDU/CSU to its lowest-ever share of the vote puts two defining characteristics of outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel — tactical brilliance and strategic blindness — into uncomfortable perspective.

Great leaders take on the consensus; Merkel’s talent lies only in identifying it. Since first becoming chancellor in 2005, she steadily outmaneuvered the SPD by sliding leftward into territory that the Social Democrats had once called

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This article appears as “O Angela, Adieu” in the October 18, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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