Types of democracy
In China 30 years ago an audacious public protest in the capital's central square pushed the country's autocrats to the brink, and when the Soviet Union imploded, the ruling party's most relentless critic became Russia's president and dominant political figure. Ascendant America had no serious rival. In Europe, West welcomed East.
This is already our second meeting in Athens as our countries' heads of state. This place compares to no other in Europe with regard to our deep, common roots, which extend far beyond relations between Germany and Greece. Today's Europe would be inconceivable without the Greek legacy or without the Athenian democracy of Pericles.
Greece has witnessed many periods of intense polarization during its history. However, it has never before reached the point where government ministers issue statements with such over-the-top or vulgar content.
Their habit of targeting the news media, judicial officials and political opponents has simply overstepped the mark.