Germany on the Brink?

CologneThe violence in Cologne on New Year’s Eve changed the debate about welcoming the million migrants into Germany, which had been initiated by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Her future has been put into question.

BBC News reported on January 11: “The men suspected of attacking women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve were “almost exclusively” from a migration background, mainly North African and Arab, an official report says…. More than 500 criminal complaints have been filed – 40% alleging sexual assault.”

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The Croatian paper Jutarnjilist wrote on the same day:

The attack in Cologne puts an end to the back-and-forthing with which Merkel saved the other member states in the refugee crisis. France is paralyzed with fear in view of the presidential elections in 2017. And no one seriously counts on the British any more. In the East the neoconservative anti-immigrant coalition is gaining ground from the Adriatic to the Baltic. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia, no one wants the refugees. And on top of all that there’s the new alliance between Orbán and Kaczyński. And now Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which have always shown a huge awareness of human rights and solidarity, are closing their borders to the victims of war in the Middle East. The German chancellor did a great job in 2015. Can she do the same in 2016?

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In The New York Times, Ross Douthat wrote on January 9:

[The events] promise increasing polarization among natives and new arrivals alike. It threatens not just a spike in terrorism but a rebirth of 1930s-style political violence. The still-imaginary France Michel Houellebecq conjured up in his novel Submission, in which nativists and Islamists brawl in the streets, would have a very good chance of being realized in the German future.

This need not happen. But prudence requires doing everything possible to prevent it. That means closing Germany’s borders to new arrivals for the time being. It means beginning an orderly deportation process for able-bodied young men. It means giving up the fond illusion that Germany’s past sins can be absolved with a reckless humanitarianism in the present.

It means that Angela Merkel must go – so that her country, and the continent it bestrides, can avoid paying too high a price for her high-minded folly.

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