Germany. Friend or foe? That is a question that has been asked and answered twice in the past century. Are we going to be forced to answer it a third time? Since the end of World War II, and the subsequent unification of the two Germanys, the entire structure of modern Europe has been to take advantage of Germany’s economic dynamism while avoiding the threat of German domination. Is the German genie about to get out of the bottle again?
The dominating spirit of the Aryan people, coupled with a commitment to self reliance, has always caused Germany to be considered a threat by its European neighbors. In the early part of the 20th century, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom signed a defense pact to create a united front against any threat to their individual sovereignties. Together, they felt, if threatened, they could destroy Germany. Therefore, Germany’s only response would be to launch a war at a time of its choosing, and pick them off one at a time. The strategy failed in both World Wars, primarily because of the entry of the United States in support of the Allies.
So after World War II there was an effort to discourage any further military aspirations by placing Germany under the NATO alliance, meaning that the US and other NATO members would protect Germany militarily should the need arise, thus eliminating the need for the Germans to rearm themselves. Additionally, Germany became economically bound to its European neighbors through what ultimately evolved into the European Union (EU).
But the situation became more complex after 2008 since without the common threat of the Soviet Union, the EU alliance was fracturing over the divergent national interests of its members. Thus, the same aggressive spirit allowed Germany to emerge as the dominant force in the EU while other members, such as Greece, Spain, France, and even the United Kingdom, slipped into economic chaos under what has been termed “European Socialism.” Of course, they are now looking to Germany to bail them out.
Germany has the resources to do this, but their price is that Germany be effectively put in charge of the finances of those countries receiving such aid. Not an unrealistic requirement. But this would mean that those countries would no longer control either taxes or budgets through their sovereign political systems. So Germany is proposing the imposition of economic rather than military power over its European neighbors. The result is the same.
But a new alliance is also emerging. Russia, Germany’s ancient enemy, has become a major exporter of natural gas. Germany needs Russia’s natural gas. Germany, as usual, has an abundance of superior technology. Russia needs German technology. A German-Russian relationship would have the potential to tilt the balance of power in the world. The United States is still the dominant power, but the combination of German technology and Russian resources would create a whole new challenge to US economic leadership.
Germany’s strategy, therefore, is to control Europe through its EU dominance, while strengthening itself back home with a Russo-German relationship. It’s a match made in Heaven, or somewhere, and it is obvious that our current political leadership has neither the will nor the capacity to compete with it. And Russia and Germany know it.