Germany started World War II. It aimed to conquer all of continental Europe, including Russia and maybe even Britain. It failed. It was split in two by the winning powers. Four decades later it was allowed to reunite. It has become again the dominant power of continental Europe, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
However, Germany's military is irrelevant compared with Russia's: Germany's GDP dwarfs Russia's GDP, but Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and Germany has zero.
Initially, Germany had no real army because the world didn't want Germany to have one. Germans are way too god at fighting wars. Nobody looks forward to another war against German soldiers and weapons. Later, when the world might have accepted a rearmed Germany, it was Germany itself that took advantage of the USA's
desire to defend the whole of Europe, including and especially Germany.
But the times are changing and a new new new world order is being created
(see The New New New World Order).
The USA didn't become unreliable under Trump. It was already. The incompetent
George W Bush (who had become president despite losing the elections)
started a war in Iraq that Europeans didn't want to fight. The results speak
loudly: Iraq fell into civil war, was torn apart by the radical jihadists of
ISIS, and now has become an Iranian protectorate (the party of
pro-Iranian cleric Al Sadr won the latest elections).
Now the corrupt and immoral Donald Trump (who has become president despite
losing the election by an even larger margin) is taking orders from Russia,
attacking NATO, the European Union and, last but not least, Germany's chancellor.
The USA is now a wildly unreliable partner. Few Germans hold any hope that the
USA would counter a Russian attack against Germany.
And this comes at a time when Putin's Russia, that got rich thanks to spikes in
oil prices caused first by George W Bush and now by Trump's anti-Iran
stance, has regressed to its old aggressive behavior.
Germany's new strategy has been to create buffer states between itself and Russia by absorbing Eastern Europe into the European Union and into NATO.
Protection against expansionist Russia ranks high in Merkel's determination to
save the European Union, the euro and NATO. These are institutions that cost
serious money to German taxpayers.
How else could Germany intimidate Russia? Russia has thousands of nuclear
weapons. The only nuclear power in the continent is France, which has a few
dozens. Britain is leaving the European Union and Merkel knows that the British
public would be unlikely to enter another war in continental Europe: the last
time that Britain fought a war to defend the continent (World War II), it
ended up losing the British Empire.
Germany is surrounded by countries that don't care: Holland, Denmark and so are rich countries that don't worry about defending themselves because they assume that no country wants to invade them.
Germany may succeed in keeping the European Union together
(despite the nationalist anti-European movements of Britain, Italy, Hungary
and perhaps even in expanding it to Ukraine, but, sooner or later, it will have to face the prospect of
having to defend itself against Putin's Russia. Merkel may be waiting out
Putin, hoping that he falls and is replaced by someone who accepts to
denuclearize Russia and bring Russia into the peaceful European sphere
(or perhaps secretely hoping that Russia implodes and disintegrates like
the Soviet Union did).
History, however, teaches that few powers surrender weapons unless there's
a pressing reason to do so: the pressing reason can be an arms race or
a lost war. If Germany were stocking nuclear weapons right now and building
air carriers and submarines,
Russia would be sitting at the negotiating table and would be willing to
reduce its own stockpile and stop building sophisticated weapons.
Russian propaganda claims that Russia is surrounded by evil Western powers
that want to dismember it. You can't blame them: the West tried twice to
invade Russia (Napoleon and Hitler) and the USA is widely blamed in Russia for
the collapse of the Russian economy during the 1990s when Russia adopted democracy.
It is time that Germany and Russia work out a deal between themselves,
without the USA, that will reassure both for the foreseeable future.
The problem is that, without the USA in the picture, Putin's Russia is
unlikely to feel any motivation to make concessions: Russia has the
nuclear weapons, Germany doesn't; the GDP of the European Union is
ten times the GDP of Russia, but Russia's military is at least
ten times more powerful than France's
(the only real military power in continental Europe).
And Putin can count on his friend and vassal Trump to counterbalance the economic
power of the European Union (the USA has roughly the same GDP as that of the EU).
TM, ®, Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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