Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Angela Merkel

Europe is in a pickle, the euro is in danger of splitting apart, and national governments are toppling. In the middle of the mayhem, one country, and one leader, looks preternaturally calm. Germany isn't unaffected by the turmoil, and Chancellor Angela Merkel isn't safe from political repercussions of the euro-zone crisis. Voters are unhappy that their taxes are funding bailouts for less prudent citizenries, and Merkel's coalition and her own center-right CDU are riven with tensions. Yet the German economy is stronger and its government more stable than any other in the region, and indeed, in much of the world. That's why the U.S. and other nations have continually called on Merkel to do more, and spend more, to solve the crisis. She has dug in her heels, and exerts as much influence by what she doesn't do as what she does. The European Union and the euro were created to make sure a German leader never dominated Europe again. In the battle to save the E.U. and its currency, Merkel is the dominant force.