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A View from Germany
The Dresden Diaries

Populist impressions from the heart of old-new Europe.

Published on: January 30, 2018
Jeffrey Gedmin, a former director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and senior adviser at Blue Star Strategies. He is currently writing a book on Germany, identity, and sources of political change in Europe.
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  • Robert Reimann

    The last paragraph of this article is the key to Germany’s, the US’s and much of the world’s political challenge – you cannot dismiss the populists outright, that is a clear path to feeding the extremists. Rather, it is important to listen to their core concerns, and develop & implement compassionate and rational solutions to them. This pulls the rug from under the bigots etc.

  • Anthony

    Who are we? “Genuine democratic renewal might well come from all of this. That is, if more decent expressions of populism can be understood, allowed proper space to vent, and be heard….” (Jeffrey Gedmin)

    Interestingly post 2008, the alarm (among some) has been democracies are facing internal difficulties and discontent. That is, the older western democracies are experiencing rising inequality, economic stagnation, fiscal crisis, political polarization, and even gridlock. One theory is that as democracies fail to address problems their domestic legitimacy is diminished and increasingly challenged by resurgent nationalist, populist, and xenophobic movements – as inferred in essay. Perhaps, one could also read essay and leave with thought that what may be termed the “liberal order” needs new governance arrangements, bargains, and institutional relationships. Such a rethinking, to my mind, fits Jeffrey Gedmin’s conclusion as well as dovetails with John Dewey’s idea of democracy as being a framework for coping with the inevitable problems of modern society.

    Surely at one level, Jeffery Gedmin is asking for a renewed and updated consideration (pragmatic and experimental domestic consideration of the challenges faced by citizens in the Middle of Western Democracies) by Western Democracies (with Germany as an example) to find solutions to twenty-first-century- problems: economic inequality, stagnant wages, fiscal imbalances, environmental degradation, constructed racial and ethnic conflicts, etc. So perhaps, the appeal and legitimacy of Gedmin’s premise remains tied to the ability of Democracies’ citizens to exhibit the requisite leadership and engagement to support its inheritance.

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