Angela Merkel is of course a formidable politician - read this paean to her government- kraft by the Economist, which declares that Cameron might do well to emulate her.
At the same time, she tackles some of the biggest issues in the strangest ways. The nonsensical Energiewende has long been up there with the maddest programmes of our time. Only the most blinkered green could imagine it makes any sense to pour truly epic quantities of German electricity-users' money into a policy that delivers, on the one hand unprecedented levels of solar- and wind-power, but on the other, a grid that is seriously weakened in terms of reliability and quality of electricity output (there could be a disaster on almost any cold winter's day in the SW of the country) and, yes, rising levels of CO2 emissions for several years.
Her willingness to harness Germany to *doing whatever it takes* to keep the Euro-show on the road knows few limits.
Now it seems she proposes to hold open house in Germany for 'refugees', the potential numbers of which are for all practical purposes infinite.
Well. You can suspend the laws of physics for a while if you are willing to throw enough money at them: and Germany can muster quite a lot of money. Doesn't make it sensible, though; so why does she do it?
Looks to me as though the answer lies in her being a grateful Osti, deeply struck by the extraordinary economic sacrifice (or should that be investment?) made by West Germany to re-unify. I have written about the Einheit before, to the effect that the West Germans - or at least, their politically-motivated leadership - were indeed willing to do whatever it took to achieve re-unification. They had thought about it well in advance; had stared it squarely in the eye; and took the fateful decision quickly, but in cold blood. And, yes, it cost them plenty. But they are up for that kind of thing. Bold, decisive; *principled*, *honourable* ... and with outcomes by no means assured.
Merkel knows all this intimately - how could she not ? Once in power, she seems to have adopted it, not just as a matter of principle, but as a working principle. But how many of these mighty throws-of-the-dice can Germany afford in any quarter-century?
And how many of her gambles can we afford?