I love the idea of a German telling a Ukrainian that many Germans ‘might have family memories of conflict.’ Must have been difficult for the Ukrainian ambassador to keep a straight face at that.
The Greens have indeed risen to the call to assist Ukraine’s resistance. But at the same time, historically, they, along with the SPD helped brew the crisis. This interview with Baerbock captures that. It also reveals how much the Greens are driven by ideology. So, is their abandonment of pacifism a refreshing pragmatism or is it because they see in this crisis a window to turbocharge their big ideological objective of closing down fossil fuels (and nuclear) and the deployment of 100% renewables?
It almost makes you wish they still had an ounce of Prussian vigour and militarism left in them. The modern German seems to be absolutely whipped.
Careful what you wish for!
Yes – Europe has in the past benefited most when the powers are in balance.
Looking way beyond the World Wars – Waterloo and Blenheim were two major examples of that balance being redressed by force with Germany (ok, Prussia) on the ‘correct’ side.
It’s dysfunctional for all of Europe if its wealthiest, if not its most influential nation gets all squeamish about occasional and necessary use of force where other options have failed.
Haven’t you forgotten the good old Dutch?
No of course not 😉 just talking of Germany
Although the Dutch have always played a significant role in Europe – Germany/Prussia unquestionably has had a greater impact in past 300 years
Agreed, but for a worldwide impact you would have to give it to the Dutch and the simply splendid VOC.
Like in 1914?
They were whipped. “Never again” is the learning point for WWII.
I think more patience and understanding needs to be displayed in reference to Germany’s dilemma. A decades long, and successful recovery from the ruins of WW2 has been turned on its head almost overnight. They, perhaps more than most, understand the madness that can bring us all down.
So they adopt a supine position, with all that understanding they have? Really makes sense.
I like the title of this article: “Germany’s arrogant pacifism”. It’s really just the flip side of Germany’s past arrogant militarism. I have noticed that it is very difficult to argue with a German whatever point of view he is coming from.
In the 1990’s whilst on business trip to what had been Western Germany I was taken around the local war museum by the boss of the German branch of the company (A Herr Doctor Professor) and had I not known any history I would probably have come away with the impression that Germany had been an innocent victim in WW2. With that in mind it’s quite easy to understand the “don’t get involved” attitude.
It seemed all was suddenly well between Germany and Russia when the German heavy-metal rock band Scorpions had a great worldwide hit with Wind Of Change and its dreamy lyrics about the winds of change for the better in Russia, in 1991. Indeed, I recall the song was released in the middle of the August coup of that year, and, as the attempted coup quickly evaporated, the song seemed more resonant with meaning. It was played frequently in shops in the latter half of 1991. A German rock band putting out a great song that, had it been Germany’s Eurovision entry (these things are that possible now), no doubt the jury in Moscow would have given Germany douze points. But so many chimeras.
“There is no chimera vainer than the hope that one human heart shall find sympathy in another” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
Querdenker being counterproductive and hysterical? I thought they were the ones who advocated not shutting down the entire society over a disease with a way lower fatality rate than imagined. Is that part of the newspeak fad nowadays?
“Germany will be Europe’s most preeminent military power within a decade.”
Most preeminent? Ew.
The author treats concern about escalation to a potentially nuclear war as just silly. It is not. Where one draws that line should be a subject for discussion, and maybe many Germans get it wrong, but the issue is real.
“The entire West fell for this, but the Germans more so than any other nation.” – this makes it sound as if this was the Germans own decision. But in reality politicians as different as Thatcher, Gorbachev and Mitterand were all paranoid about a resurgent German militarism in the early 90s before unification. Even in the last 90s there was a fear of this and a sense it really wasn’t that long ago they were aggressive. The division of Germany into two parts was about the only thing that gave France the security for them to build an army, enter NATO and form a armed bastion at the blunt edge of the iron curtain. A lot of this was based on stereotypes from the war which anyone with familiarity with German culture will realise had been radically warped by the extreme circumstances of Germany’s fall and occupation.
So this historical fear meant that Germans, in many different political, constitutional, cultural and economic ways were pushed towards mercantile pacifism for the ‘good of Europe’ quite deliberately, and it seems rich for the rest of the West to complain now.
And we will see what results when Germany is not as prosperous as it has been since WW2…
“And [Germany] will be supplying Ukraine with powerful weapons in the months to come.”
Yeah, I’ll believe that when I actually see it.
The 1945-2022 Germany says “Nie wieder”. That has translated into “h uptsächlich mir geht’s gut”. Why should that change? Especially when Russia is in the western dock. Gorbymania bit deep. Anti-westernism has been a constant diet since the 1970s. It came from the left-ie the Greens. But an earlier generation agreed.
I do wish “conquest and savagery were relegated to the past”. There is always a negotiated settlement at the end of the day with friendly and beneficial trade relations soon resuming The dead, dying and maimed citizens on both sides are paid-off and forgotten….until the next time.
I can see why the “great and good” claim to care about the Ukraine — their useful money laundromat is out of commission. But we average Americans find ourselves unable to care very much about the border security of a small corrupt nation well within Russia’s sphere of influence. We do care a great deal about the lack of integrity of our own borders, and the fact that inflation which was 1% under the former President, is now 11% under the current maladministration. We’d like to see diplomacy and arbitration for the Ukraine, but are unsurprised that yet once again the UN is about as useful as mammaries on a boar.
If not Ukraine, where would you draw the line?
Probably at countries where “the West” actually has vital interests. Ukraine does not qualify.
Ukraine supplies a high proportion of the world’s grain to poor countries that we’d like to support our geopolitics. Ukraine does qualify.
It does now. That’s the problem.
You’re going to disappear soon as Hispanics take over and merge with Mexico.
Everyone is so virulent and one sided in their views. It is another Yeats moment “the worst Are full of passionate intensity”.
Can you not see a civil war? They are the worst kind. The US intervened to support a Maidan revolution and the Russians to suppress a Banderite putsch.
To me the invasion is obviously immoral but you have to see where it came from. And those voices supporting moderate Ukraine and not the far right (which is what the US seems to be doing) must be favoured.
No, I cannot see a civil war. I see a vicious invasion of an independent country by a nation with a pathological sense of victimhood led by an individual obsessed with believing that he is the embodiment of his country.
“International law would keep nations in check. Conquest and savagery were relegated to the past.”
Which was never a reality, considered what happened in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, or how countries like Turkey or Saudi happily pummeled Kurdish or Yemeni civilians
In every one of those cases, the weapons were used or provided by those same countries…. that are today attacking Russia (or harassing Russian citizens and athletes) for launching a war. Apparently, non existent WMDs are a valid excuse for utterly destroying a country, but Russia were supposed to meekly allow Ukraine to suppress Russian minorities and language and allow NATO expand all the way to her heartland
In what sense are victims of Soviet aggression, from Finland in the north to Ukraine in the south, part of Russia’s heartland?
“but Russia were supposed to meekly allow Ukraine to suppress Russian minorities”
Now explain why overwhelmingly Russian speaking Kharkiv has bitterly resisted the Russian advance rather then greet them as liberators. Most of the Ukrainian nationalists I know personally are Russian speakers at home.
Your comment does not deny that Russian minorities were suppressed
But not shot at random, tortured and raped. Big difference Mr Equivalence.
I know some Eastern Europeans in this country who ain’t too happy. Does that merit a war of annihilation?
“This is the new reality. Germany will be Europe’s most preeminent military power within a decade.” Actually, if you take the Russians out of the equation, they have been since before DeGaulle took France out of the NATO military structure. They still are if you don’t include the Russians.
However, despite the ongoing debacle in Ukraine, Russia remains formidable and will remain Europe’s preeminent military power for the foreseeable future.
Not much has changed in the past 40-50 years. As a political science professor at the University of Kansas once put it: “As long as he/she can get to a warm part of the world for a few weeks in the winter, the average German doesn’t care about the Russians (of course at that time it was the Soviet Union). The German intellectual community and left politicians have always leaned towards pacifism and accommodation with the Russians. It was always a close thing. Why else would there have been controversy over their level of defense spending in NATO – even at the height of the cold war?
Long story short, the Germans are not dependable. A pity America has had to pivot east because of the far greater Chinese threat.
Very biased article. The assumed failure of peace through trade is only relevant to the objectives. The objectives of peace and prosperity have been reached, as the formulation of the Minks agreement, brokered by Merkel show.
The peace through trade brought great wealth to both Europe and Russia, but would have meant a departure from the goal of liberal hegemony, which is pursued mostly by the Anglo-Americans. The Germans had to capitulate to pressure from NATO, but there is luckily some support among both ivory tower doctor professors and among German “deplorables” for the previous fore-sighted policy, and regret for not having enforced effectively the Minsk peace agreement.
In the end many people anknowlege that the interests of Germany diverge from those of the UK
The United States is undergoing rapid demographic change (due to its “open borders”). By 2040, Western culture will decline to the status of a minority culture, and this country will cease being a Western nation. Hispanic culture will become the dominant culture. (In California, Western culture is already rejected by most residents, and Hispanic culture dominates.)
Germany must replace the United States as the leader of the West. German chancellor Olaf Scholz must begin taking steps in that direction.
The current crisis in Ukraine is an opportunity for the German government to show leadership. Berlin should demand and obtain assurances (from Volodymyr Zelenskyy) that the Ukrainians will modernize their nation. They have been too corrupt and incompetent for too long. The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of Ukraine in 2019 was actually less than the GDP per capita (at purchasing-power parity) in 1991.
IF President Zelenskyy provides these assurances, then the military strategists in the Bundeswehr should determine the weapons and military strategy that are needed to expel the Russian military from Ukraine. Then, Berlin should provide a financial loan to Kyiv so that it can purchase the necessary weapons, and German military instructors should train Ukrainians on using the weapons.
Ge info about another area in which Berlin can show leadership.
Is Hispanic Culture not Western Culture? Both Spain & Portugal were an integral part of the Roman Empire for about seven centuries, whilst ‘Germania’ was a barbarian cesspit, or had you forgotten that minor detail?
I admire your confidence in the Bundeswehr but would they really do any better than the Wehrmacht or the Kaiser? *I think not.
(* With apologies of course to the brilliant Max Hoffman.)
Arnaud, wish I could give you an extra thumbs up for this post!!
I’ve just done it for you.
“…the military strategists in the Bundeswehr should determine the weapons and military strategy that are needed to expel the Russian military from Ukraine.”
It seems to me that other Western powers are quite capable of providing the necessary support for the Ukrainians to eventually overcome the invasion and send it into reverse. Whilst the financial input of Germany is welcome in this endeavour, it’s not necessary or sufficient on its own.
Once again, sentences like the above, suggesting German military dominance (even of the strategy!!) are not only unwelcome but as far from the reality of what’s needed as it’s possible to think.
“Berlin should demand and obtain assurances (from Volodymyr Zelenskyy) that the Ukrainians will modernize their nation. They have been too corrupt and incompetent for too long.”
Pure comedy gold. Yes, Ukraine has a corruption problem for sure, but you seem to think a big chunk of the German establishment are *not* compromised by Russian money, which is at best eye wideningly naive.
Given how utterly useless Germany has been in the current crisis, Zelenskyy can safely tell Schotz et al to shove it without risk of much downside for Ukraine. And as for incompetence, in 2022 I’d rate Ukraine’s army over the sclerotic Bundeswehr.
It really isn’t the German establishment being corrupted by Russian money which is the problem..it is the USA’s establishment being corrupted by Ukrainian wealth and the prospect of getting more loot from Russia.
The disastrous geopolitical result is the creation of a Sino-Russian block of immense prospective power and wealth…and far from benign.
Kennan was right all along…
U.K. population is younger and due to surpass Germany’s in the next 30-40 years.