German Inefficiency – By Guido Steinberg January 19, 2017


FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS  A German policeman stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate on New Year's Eve, 2016

FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS A German policeman stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve, 2016

On December 19, 2016, Germany was hit by its first major Islamist terrorist attack, when Anis Amri, a Tunisian supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS), drove a trailer truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 and wounding 53. The attack, right in the center of former West Berlin, triggered a heated and nervous debate about how Germany should respond—a debate whose outcome will likely affect the parliamentary elections in September 2017. Many Germans are terrified by law enforcement’s failures in the run-up to the attack, and are demanding quick and decisive changes to the country’s domestic security architecture. Meanwhile, the complacency of politicians in Berlin and in most of the powerful states—with the notable exception of Bavaria—indicates that they do not seem to have grasped that the system must be completely overhauled if Germany is to be saved from the twin dangers of right-wing populism and jihadist terrorism. If Berlin continues on its current path, electoral catastrophes—and more terrorist attacks—are very likely to rattle Germany in the coming months.

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