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Episode 58: Germany the “Default” Power

Good evening, listeners! We have a very special guest for you this St. Patrick’s Day, as we welcome publisher-editor of German weekly Die Zeit and co-founder of The American Interest Dr. Josef Joffe onto the show to discuss—what else—Germany!

Dr. Joffe takes a look at Germany’s position as the “default” central power in Europe, and argues that Berlin is neither accustomed to nor prepared for this role. He labels the current negotiations over a third Greek bailout a “game of blackmail,” and says that Athens believes itself (perhaps correctly) to be “too small to fail.” He discusses how yet another bailout of Greece might be received in Ireland, which has seen an economic resurgence of late.

We then move on to Ukraine and Russia, where, Dr. Joffe notes, Germany and Europe suffer from a major diplomatic disadvantage, namely the inability or perhaps unwillingness to back their words up with force. He speaks of a cultural shift towards pacifism on the continent, and says that most leaders in Europe are no longer capable of acting strategically.

Dr. Joffe also finds the time to look to the future of NATO, and to give a German’s perspective on Angela Merkel’s popularity within the country.

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Published on: March 17, 2015
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