Anticipating Uncertainty: Lessons From 1989 for 2020
As we approach the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, some of us might recall where we were when we heard the news of that historic event. That might include Angela Merkel who was in a sauna that evening somewhere in East Berlin, in no hurry to join the rush to hop over the Wall like thousands of others. That rather stoic characteristic of Merkel was also evident sixteen years later when the practical physicist was sworn in as chancellor in Berlin. It was also to be one of her hallmarks over the next fourteen years in that office, elected four consecutive times. If she serves out her fourth term, she will have equaled the sixteen-year record of Helmut Kohl, the longest-serving chancellor in the history of the Federal Republic.
The political landscape was undoubtedly difficult thirty years ago when few were prepared and fewer yet expected that the Wall would suddenly fall. Today, the political landscape is also difficult to anticipate, albeit in different ways, and it will be even more difficult a year or two from now.