mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The New Europe
Confident Germany Takes Swipe at Western Allies

What’s behind Germany’s new, more pugnacious attitude? So far two ministers in Angela Merkel’s new cabinet have taken very public pot shots at key Western allies. First, Thomas De Mazière, the Defense Minister turned Interior Minister, took aim at allied criticisms of Germany’s foreign policy:

In a dig at Britain and France, Mr de Maizière said: “Germany needs no lectures from anyone in Europe about the nature and extent of our international deployments – not even from France or Britain.” The former defence minister said that Germany had an “ongoing commitment” to Afghanistan that was more comprehensive than any European country apart from Britain. Germany still has some 4,000 troops in Afghanistan, and the UK has about 5,000, whereas France has withdrawn most of its forces.

Germany is the third biggest troop contributor to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan after the US and Britain. The current Bundestag mandate allows for the deployment of up to 4,400 Bundeswehr troops in Afghanistan, where German troops have suffered 35 combat fatalities.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble responded pointedly to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s suggestions in a joint press conference. The FT:

Rejecting suggestions that Germany was overdependent on export-led growth, Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance minister, said expansion was being led by domestic demand. “This is the driver,” he said. […]

Mr Schäuble said the two men had not met to “give each other lessons” but to develop “mutual understanding”.

In our review of 2013, we argued that Germany had emerged as the dominant power in the European Union, and that it would have more say than any other country in charting Europe’s course in the year to come. Judging by the new attitude, we suspect the Germans feel this way too.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Bruce

    Was there any question that Germany is the dominant power in the EU? I’m not sure this is a revelation. Germany can argue that their economy is driven by “domestic demand,” but wait until the Euro collapses and they have to return to the Deutsche mark and it takes $2.00 to get a Deutsche mark versus $1.35 for a Euro now. Then we’ll see how well their domestic demand carries them. France leaves itself vulnerable to insults. The French are worthy of being insulted.

  • Corlyss

    As long as they continue to be pacifists who refuse to share the burdens of enforcing the international system, they are free-riding, Lotus-eating slugs. Okay. So they had a bad day 1933-1946. Get over it for heaven’s sake and grow up.

  • Stacy Garvey

    I’m sure the Brits and French are fine with this. (sarcasm).

  • retired22

    I wonder how much of this is due to the bogus deal that was cut with Iran?The heavy sanctions are even now being cut back.This has allowed Germany to resume business with the regime in Iran.
    How much of this economic boom is the result of this trade?
    Germany will do for the Ayatollahs what Wall Street did for the Nazi’s in the 1930’s,help them make war against their neighbors in the future!But hey,what the heck,business is business & who cares about the future if a profit is available today!

  • Andrew Allison

    He who has the gold rules!

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service