Merkel wants a braver Germany. But will the German people let her have it?

German power is now mostly seen in economic terms. Given its 20th century past, the dream of simply being a bigger Switzerland still holds a strong appeal to the German public: a country without any serious external security concerns, focused on prosperity and wellbeing.And yet recently Angela Merkel has put her country on a new course. She is redefining German power. This is not happening via grand speeches, but through concrete steps and sometimes discreet messages. And it is happening as a result of circumstances, not because of a comprehensively pre-prepared plan. Last year, in quick succession, war broke out in Ukraine, populist and extremist parties made strong gains in European elections, and the Greek conundrum returned to the eurozone. Because of all these crises, Merkel has been reappraising what her country should be doing as Europe’s powerhouse. Continue reading