An inconspicuous but professional article on Germany scared me last week. Written by Oliver Nachtwey, a University of Basel sociology professor, it was published on Dec. 8 in the opinion section of The New York Times International Edition and titled "Post-Merkel is irrelevant. Germany is broken."

When I started reading the article, I first thought it was about the German society. By the time I finished the first half, however, I began to realize that it was not only about Berlin or Stuttgart but also about the rest of Europe and, probably, about Japan as well. The following are the reasons why I reached such a conclusion.

Highlights from Nachtwey's article include the following: