Recall those overwhelming majorities who say they are unhappy with how the EU has handled the refugee issue. Those are voters who helped pass the Brexit referendum in the U.K. And who nearly elected a far-right anti-EU and anti-immigrant party in Austria just four months ago. And who are now giving that same party the lead in the run-up to the re-run of the election scheduled for October. And who are contributing to a surge in the polls for the far-right National Front in France. And so on and so forth.
All of these developments are a product of growing unease among European voters, who believe (and not without reason) that their leaders are prone to pursue policies, without popular consultation, that will drastically and negatively affect the quality of life in — and the linguistic, ethnic, economic, and religious character of — their nations. This populist discontent began building long before Merkel instituted her well-meant but profoundly foolish refugee policy, but that policy more than any other in recent memory has galvanized it.
Having set out, with the best of moral intentions, to act like an extra-political citizen of a world without walls, Angela Merkel has ended up reaping a nationalist whirlwind.