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Germany, Be Bold!

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Angela Merkel's election victory should be seen not only as a purely German but also world-historical event. Eighty years after Hitler's seizure of power the Federal Republic has gained - as a well-tempered democracy - good neighbourly relations, an undisputed leadership role in Europe, and high regard throughout the world through an honest Erfüllungspolitik or "policy of fulfilment".

The consistent pursuit of moderation by such leaders as Adenauer, Erhard, Brandt, Schmidt, Kohl and finally Angel Merkel has truly borne fruit. Exercising restraint by participating all too modestly and discretely in the solution of world-wide problems is no longer necessary. Henceforth Germany's voice should be heard loud and clear when it means facing vital problems and lurking dangers.

The fight against fanatical Jihadism requires relentless determination. Its newest phase is the systematic persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. Churches burn in Pakistan, Egypt and the Yemen. Catholic missionaries suffer torture and death in North Africa. Mass murder rages in Kenya and Somalia. What neither the Nazis nor the Soviets dared - the Muslim terrorist is always invoking Allah and counts on his approval.

The next four years will not only bring with them economic but also immense political and military turning points. Above all the role of the USA as an active military power is called into question. Europe's fate hangs in the balance.

The irony of history lies in the fact that an essential factor in future world politics lies within the relationship of two important opponents: the Protestant priest's daughter from the GDR, Angela Merkel, and the former KGB officer at its residence in Dresden, Vladimir Putin.

It is the task of a bold and constructive German foreign policy to play a leading role in the EU and in that Zwischeneuropa, the "Europe in-between", from the Baltic to the Black Sea; but also to influence the peace efforts in what has become the "Wild East" - the Orient. Maybe it is going too far to speak of a German pacifistic Sleeping Beauty slumber.

However, on the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall, German television played sentimental tangos from the Weimar Republic era and no triumphalist music. I believe that from now on it will be quite safe to offer on similar occasions great marshes, by Haydn, Handel and - yes, Wagner.