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The result of Germany’s national elections in September was the formation this month of a broad coalition of center-left, center, and center-right parties, led by Angela Merkel, who begins her third four-year term as chancellor.
The formula for one country’s governmental success does not necessarily apply to another’s. Each country’s history, especially that of Germany and the United States, is unique. Some believe that the U.S. government would run better if it were a parliamentary democracy with a symbolic president.
Under such a system, a government that lost the confidence of its people could be forced to resign and submit to elections that might install a government more to the public’s liking. This reasoning might have particular appeal at the moment, with Washington often looking like a gridlocked clown show.
But such a momentous change isn’t contemplated for the United States, nor is it likely to occur. The status quo is firmly entrenched after more than two centuries. The Constitution would have to be overhauled to transform the structure of America’s government.
Germany is successful, but it is different from the United States. It is in the middle of fractious Europe, while the United States is surrounded by two oceans and the relatively tranquil Canada and Mexico.
U.S. troops guarantee Germany’s defense. Even though America’s history includes some major atrocities, it offers nothing as horrendous as those committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Nonetheless, Americans can look with some admiration at how Germany has crafted a government for the next four years that includes the bulk of the major left and right parties as well as the center, and is led by the politically and economically savvy Ms. Merkel.
Maybe there’s a lesson for American voters, and for elected officials in Congress and the White House.