What’s most striking is what’s missing within Germany’s federal chancellery in Berlin: noise, activity, a sense of urgency. The building’s upper floors are blocked from the sounds of the streets below, where traffic buzzes and demonstrators chant. Only the occasional sound of a food trolley rolling across quiet hallways offers a hint of activity, suggesting another crisis meeting has happened. The feeling is surreal, as if the offices were the quiet eye of a storm.
In the middle of this zone is Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems to govern without fear of what the storm will entail. Once again, she is guiding Germany through a period of intense stress and enormous challenges.