by Colette Hartwich
Being placed by both history and geography in a position between East and West, Germany has been, especially after reunification with the ex-socialist twin, hesitating between East and West.
The rapid decline of the US as a world power, both politically and economically, a decline symbolized and worsened by President Trump, has, “de facto” placed an unwilling Germany at the helm of the Western World, not only the European Union. And this at a time when even the under 30s are still not quite psychologically ready to either pay for a functional army or serve in it, because of the country’s Nazi past.
Germans have a, often inherited, guilt feeling about Russia’s Hitler-caused suffering during the WWII. An unjustified feeling – because Ukraine, not Russia was the main victim of that war, regarding both the number of killed soldiers and civilians and that of Ukrainians, victims of forced labor.
Unfair and unjustified guilt Vis a Vis the Ukraine of today has largely been at the root of German politics. And, as of lately, the German support for the Nord Stream II pipeline has been all but positive Vis a Vis Ukraine. The gas supply pipeline, strongly opposed by many Eastern European countries would increase Europe’s dependency on Russian energy, especially at a time when Putin’s destructivity is at its height. More and more EU countries, led by the Baltic States, which, let’s be honest, are at immediate risk of a Russian invasion, have warned time and time again that with today’s Russia “nothing is business as usual”.
It is also true that Chancellor Merkel can no longer close both eyes on the alarming fact that the ex-Chancellor Gerhardt Schröder, the only prominent figure from the West at Vladimir Putin’s recent presidential inauguration, is a totally bought lobbyist.
There is a surge, in the EU, of commitment to a purely EU Defense Corps which will require a resilient, well-armed German Army. In Germany the Minister of Defense, Ursula von Leyen, has long warned about the crying need to give Germany both more soldiers and better, more modern weapons. In fact, the need is so great, that the Germany military has recently announced that it will take non-German recruits.
The war cry is – Go West, Germany, and lead!