Germany on Its Way to World War III?

 

Yes, but who will supply the scissors this time?

Germany lacks the essential elements of power to serve as Europe’s central, uniting force. It is half a loaf or less. This means it is not a force for stability, but rather a force of uncertainty interrupted by periods of excessive brilliance culminating in self-created chaos. It is repeating its historical role since it was first created as a geopolitical stopgap to restrain an ascendant Russia and a descending imperial France at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Germany rises, excels, and becomes consumed with its role in the region, its self-importance, and its nagging paranoia. It then overreacts and overreaches. The result is the same.

Like an idiot savant, Germany does one thing exceptionally well. It can harness its natural tendency toward rigor bordering on arrogance, self-preservation, and an abiding need for social conformity to achieve unparalleled economic dominance in the region. But, because it is consumed by fears – fears arising from its exposure lying at the nexus of the east and west along the wide Northern European plain – it cannot control its urge to overcompensate. Whether it is provoking war against France in 1870, baiting Austria into confronting Russia leading to WWI, or allowing a megalomaniac to seize power and neighbors to create buffer states in WWII lest they threaten, Germany keeps repeating the same mistake. It always eventually turns its industrial power into a tool to exploit others in an effort to protect itself.

After WWII, Germany adopted a kind of “never again” mentality driven first by reconstruction and later by contrition. The German Constitution, the Basic Law, was designed to avoid a repeat of Hitler, Weimar, and Hohenzollern rule which led to economic expansion, exploitation, and calamity. It also structured its government to stop communism, avoid religious division, and prevent class warfare.

The Basic Law is designed to be clear and obtuse, central and diffused, and strong but weak. Thus, with no clear Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, or “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” to define itself, everything eventually boiled down to local matters, local politics, and local interests. Economics dominates in Germany – followed by lifestyle. The green movement flourished in Germany when scientists falsely reported the Black Forests were being denuded with acid rain – so there is that too. Green money and green forests or an amorphous concept of social responsibility, therefore, define an undefined social contract, with jobs coming first, vacations second, and social justice and the environment in there somewhere.

By the 1990s, Germany recovered fully from the devastation of WWII and was faced with the enormous cost of integrating the East. Faced with the necessity of converting the low-skill, low-wage East Germans into a productive resource, it developed a political-union-management plan to temper wages in the western side of the country, invest in automation and low-end production in the East, and in the process trim and redesign its production model. The key result was more job flexibility than most Europeans were willing to accept at the time. This led to rapid transformation and a remaking of German production. Germany increased its quality and lowered its relative costs. With the Soviets out of the way, military spending was trimmed and redirected to pay for retraining, social costs, and funding economic efficiencies. This was a win-win politically since reductions in defense spending fed the ever-present anti-war sentiment of a nation that has always struggled to control its fears.

At the same time, the Euro currency entered in 1999 and diluted the relatively high cost of the German Mark and German efficiency. Suddenly, a blending of Germany’s productive workforce with the extremely unproductive, low-skill Mediterranean and growing eastern EU countries in one currency shielded and boosted German competitiveness. The Euro’s arrival meant Germany could hide behind a currency that did not fully value its costs. Its products and companies began to experience better fortune. The timing was perfect. China and the other BRICS needed machine tools, equipment, and technical know-how. Germany would export its way to pay for East-West integration and create itself as a world trade power.

By now the politicians were fully on board – including the left Socialist Democratic Party under Gerhard Schröder. They were delivering a new Reich, one that would dominate in the marketplace with high technology, luxury, and world-class products. German companies dominated segments of China’s, Brazil’s, India’s, and Russia’s auto and fabrication markets. To smooth things out, much talk of green energy, policies, and global accords was tossed about. Germany was in a fugue of green that would eventually lead its politicians to pull the plug on nuclear after the nation hysterically failed to fully understand the Fukushima incident. Nevermind, Germany would pretend to be green while it turned more brown – burning coal to generate power and subsidizing solar and wind everywhere at great cost to the average German. Electricity costs would rise substantially – non-competitively.

Germany’s economic success, however dominant, was not unique. It could be mimicked. In fact, much of its transformation was patterned after Japanese methods. So to address this, German politicians began working to ensure German standards and technology were adopted or imposed by using the growing power they accumulated within the EU. The phony German diesel engine debacle (only German diesel engines could meet the new German-written EU standards) or the German obsession (silly fad) with renewable energy resulted. With over 20 percent of German jobs (over 10 percent due to VW alone), corporate profits, and exports dependent upon creating a global auto footprint, all of Germany rallied around the phony “clean diesel” technology – deceptively and fraudulently represented as cleaner than it actually was. EU skies in Madrid, Milan, and Paris turned gray with diesel pollution that was not possible using the new German clean diesel. In 2015, they got caught. Something was rotten in Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Strasbourg.

With the promise of a better tomorrow, Germany began to encounter additional bumps. Russia turned revanchist, forcing hard choices about sanctions over Ukraine, choices moralistic Germany belatedly accepted. China did not adopt western democratic ideals with free markets, in fact, it became more repressive. Human rights issues had to be overlooked by Angela Merkel on her trade visits to China. German export markets in Brazil and India were built upon rather primitive economic foundations that eventually caught a downdraft. The rise of Turkish and Hungarian nationalism and authoritarianism presented conflicts between economic interests and a German aversion to authoritarian rule.

Finally, its look-the-other-way tolerance in exchange for the opportunity to “sell, sell, sell” arrived at a beggar-thy-neighbor strategy which eventually sold and banked Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal into near or actual insolvency. There were other cases of German goods being sold to dictators and winding up where they should not be. Germany, rather than being seen as a responsible citizen, a trusted partner, and source of trade and technology, was seen as a ravenous exploiter. Even sales of its military hardware – items it was not purchasing sufficiently to defend itself or Europe – saw an uptick in sales. German might be the leader of Europe – but it was a leader that lacked both the high ground and the high road.

It was clear as far back as 2006 when oil prices were skyrocketing that Russia planned to rearm. Despite this, Germany continued to disarm and unarm. And by 2015, Britain saw the EU for what it was becoming – a Franco-German alliance with deep interests in telling local merchants in Barcelona to do things the way they were done in Bavaria. The EU regulations set how many paper towels could be used in a public bathroom or which diesel cars met EU standards (answer: German). Germany was calling the shots in public and behind the scenes whether you lived in Leyden or Leicester. The EU could not challenge the one nation that generated all the positive export balance for the EU in total. The EU needed Germany and Germany knew it. It alone still manufactured things that could be sold around the world.

Yet, Britain and France paid for the nuclear forces, they alone funded the limited means to project military force, and they alone held some real soft power to influence the United States – the only power that still mattered if the EU was to hold sway. It was evident looking back that even the Clinton and Obama administrations barely deferred to Germany. She was a non-factor.

The great German waltz suffered its last blow when Germany turned away from sincere concerns about social harmony and cohesion and Angela Merkel opened her borders to flocks of young, unskilled males roaming in from the Middle East to enter the country as refugees. This horde was encamped with government cooperation and little national debate or reflection – and they remain in German-funded schools and transition programs to this day. Underlying this somewhat disastrous decision to accept about a million new citizens from Syria, Iraq, etc., is a stark reality that Germany — if it is to continue to be a workshop for VW’s, Airbus’s, and machine tools — needs workers. The population reproduction has lagged behind replacement levels and no one wants to clean sewers, bathrooms, or pick up garbage. Thus, an economic policy driven by a demographic problem led to a rushed rationalization of an immigration policy that quickly became unpopular.

Nationalist sentiments – the vilest and most detested sentiments in post-WWII Germany – have surged forth. And the nation is now locked in a political impasse over forming a new parliamentary coalition to rule – a little over a month ago the Christian Democrats (Angela Merkel’s center-right party) experienced their worst election since 1949! No coalition is forthcoming.

Meanwhile, Germany’s economy is strong. The nation is weak. It is even perhaps unstable. It is in some respects isolated – from Britain (Brexit), France (reluctantly pro-EU expansion), the Mediterranean EU countries, the more demanding, intolerant, and authoritarian Eastern EU, a resurgent Russia, and its old protector, the United States – which is now a political card played to demonstrate moral superiority. Its old fears of exposure on the Northern European plain nestled between nations who do not trust each other or worse, do not trust Germany, will emerge again. That which unites Germany’s regions and people, their natural proclivity toward a kind paranoia and fear, also destroys it. Will it continue to overplay, overextend, overcompensate? Can it pull itself back a bit, realign, and find a national consensus? Can it arm itself, protect itself, and become a trustworthy ally?

The answer is simply that since its creation as a balance of power between imperial Russia and France, Germany is too small, too large, too aggressive, too passive, and too weak to lead. And when others, or Germany itself, attempts to do so, sooner or later she oversteps and things start to spin out of control. Germany is its own, and quite often the world’s, worst enemy.

With the post-war Economic Miracle behind it, 21st-century Germany is every bit as intense in its insecurities, assured by its arrogant condescension and moralism, and destabilized by its self-doubts as she has ever been. And that is the problem. If Germany cannot get a handle on itself, it could descend into self-interest and leave room for Russia and even China to fill in the blanks. France and most of Northern Europe are banking on Germany to fix a steady course. But Europe worries if they are once again seeing the same nation united by exigency and solely out of economic necessity, unable to find a real purpose or find its way unless it is feeding on its fears or imposing them on others.

We have seen this before; it does not end well.

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  1. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Mendel (View Comment):
    But most Germans really just stand for being able to earn enough and get enough days off each year for that vacation on Mallorca.

    This is very funny – and true!

    In fact, many nations do stand for something – France, Britain, America, and of course China and her third-way.  Spanish are Spanish unless they are Catalan.  It means something to them.  Italians are a bit of a mixed salad – but with a little calamari they can clearly identify.  There is some national identity or purpose to most countries.  Germany was a hodgepodge tossed together because they all lived nearby along trade routes and spoke German.  Yet, the Austrians, Swiss and others who also speak German were not in a rush to join the club… .  Post WWII, it is hard to say what the new Germany is except the replacement for a series of failed experiments.  Germans feel restrained by their past excesses – thus no Bastille Parade, 4th of July, or Fleet Week in Hamburg.  They don’t speak of nationalism except to put down Trump or Hungarian leadership.  They don’t talk of patriotism except in the context of the World Cup.  So what are they?  What does the German Federal Republic stand for?  “The Replacments?”

    • #31
  2. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    But most Germans really just stand for being able to earn enough and get enough days off each year for that vacation on Mallorca.

    This is very funny – and true!

    In fact, many nations do stand for something – France, Britain, America, and of course China and her third-way. Spanish are Spanish unless they are Catalan. It means something to them. Italians are a bit of a mixed salad – but with a little calamari they can clearly identify. There is some national identity or purpose to most countries. Germany was a hodgepodge tossed together because they all lived nearby along trade routes and spoke German. Yet, the Austrians, Swiss and others who also speak German were not in a rush to join the club… . Post WWII, it is hard to say what the new Germany is except the replacement for a series of failed experiments. Germans feel restrained by their past excesses – thus no Bastille Parade, 4th of July, or Fleet Week in Hamburg. They don’t speak of nationalism except to put down Trump or Hungarian leadership. They don’t talk of patriotism except in the context of the World Cup. So what are they? What does the German Federal Republic stand for? “The Replacments?”

    Standing for something is probably the most important thing – you mentioned what German soldier would lay down his life for the EU flag? That is a startling statement and I understand why Poland and other Eastern European countries are nervous. They’ve been through it, where all was lost and devastated, but they retained their identity – it was the only way they became Poland again.  Another example is Israel.

    • #32
  3. Gumby Mark Coolidge
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    • #33
  4. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Me neither. First, Germany and what army? Whether the young people are willing to lay down their lives for something is beside the point. There aren’t enough of them to mount much of a war.

    Second, who are they going to fight? No European country has any better demographics or economics. Russia, yeah, maybe, but are they really going to be capable of any sustained fight?

    Third, Germany is, as a military power, still under American control and occupation.  How are they going to go to war without America’s permission?

    • #34
  5. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
    Inconvenient, sure, but hardly a harbinger of doom.

    Mis,

    This is the big gimmick nowadays. A wild harbinger of doom conjured up out of little or nothing. (Putin/Facebook..etc..) A great way to divert attention from that drunk Juncker and his puppeteer.

    It really is quite simple. The Germans put together a more conservative coalition after the elections. They meet their NATO 2% commitment and then they put a cap on migrants per year. Of course, it would be ever so useful if Juncker would be so kind as to stand for election by the 500 million people that he is manipulating. I won’t hold my breath.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #35
  6. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    I think the only question in europe is who ethnically cleanses who.

    Whom. Who ethnically cleanses whom.

    More generally, the question is who does what and with which and to whom.

    • #36
  7. Randal H Member
    Randal H
    @RandalH

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Me neither. First, Germany and what army? Whether the young people are willing to lay down their lives for something is beside the point. There aren’t enough of them to mount much of a war.

    Second, who are they going to fight? No European country has any better demographics or economics. Russia, yeah, maybe, but are they really going to be capable of any sustained fight?

    Third, Germany is, as a military power, still under American control and occupation. How are they going to go to war without America’s permission?

    I tend to agree with this. Judging by my in-laws (my wife is German) you’d be hard pressed to find anyone to fight a war. Political correctness and leftist ideology have been drilled into the heads of the kids over there far longer than it has been over here. My wife’s nieces and nephews can’t seem to acknowledge anything but positive from the influx of refugees, they roll their eyes at any sign of American patriotism (which they view as nationalism) much less German nationalism, and these are mostly not college kids but kids who have gone through apprenticeships and then on to work. They seem to worry more about global warning than anything else.

    The right-wing/populist AfD party is largely made up of people who were part of the center-right parties until recently. I’m not sure it indicates a swing to the right more than the fact that Merkel has driven them out of the CDU/CSU much as the Democrats have forced the populists out of their own party ultimately to elect Trump.

    • #37
  8. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    Randal H (View Comment):

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Me neither. First, Germany and what army? Whether the young people are willing to lay down their lives for something is beside the point. There aren’t enough of them to mount much of a war.

    Second, who are they going to fight? No European country has any better demographics or economics. Russia, yeah, maybe, but are they really going to be capable of any sustained fight?

    Third, Germany is, as a military power, still under American control and occupation. How are they going to go to war without America’s permission?

    I tend to agree with this. Judging by my in-laws (my wife is German) you’d be hard pressed to find anyone to fight a war. Political correctness and leftist ideology have been drilled into the heads of the kids over there far longer than it has been over here. My wife’s nieces and nephews can’t seem to acknowledge anything but positive from the influx of refugees, they roll their eyes at any sign of American patriotism (which they view as nationalism) much less German nationalism, and these are mostly not college kids but kids who have gone through apprenticeships and then on to work. They seem to worry more about global warning than anything else.

    The right-wing/populist AfD party is largely made up of people who were part of the center-right parties until recently. I’m not sure it indicates a swing to the right more than the fact that Merkel has driven them out of the CDU/CSU much as the Democrats have forced the populists out of their own party ultimately to elect Trump.

    The problem with the Germans isn’t that they will start World War III, it’s that they’ll go so overboard in dominating their neighbors economically (and culturally) that we’ll start seeing Hitler-like figures come to power in southern European countries (or, God help us all, France).

    Fixed exchange rates are infamous for causing these sorts of geopolitical death spirals, especially when they take the form of a common currency.

     

    • #38
  9. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    James Madison (View Comment):
    Spanish are Spanish unless they are Catalan. It means something to them. Italians are a bit of a mixed salad – but with a little calamari they can clearly identify. There is some national identity or purpose to most countries. Germany was a hodgepodge tossed together because they all lived nearby along trade routes and spoke German.

    You’re drawing lots of distinctions that really don’t exist in reality.

    Nearly every major contemporary European country started off as a loosely-connected hodgepodge of semi-related peoples who were later united to consolidate their strength and power. The only difference for Germany is that its consolidation took place much later than its large neighbors’, but that consolidation is still long enough in the past to be irrelevant.

    In contemporary Europe, there is no less kinship among Germans in Germany than among any other countries’ citizens. If anything, Germany’s more dynamic economy means that Germans are more likely to move between different regions of the country over the course of their lifespan, which leads to more cohesion, not less.

    The weakness in your argument is that you are conflating kinship with national pride. Just because Germans (understandably) have great difficulties with the concept of patriotism doesn’t mean they lack the internal cultural or identity bonds of other countries.

    And just because other countries make ostentatious displays of national pride when it’s easy (like at a wine and cheese fest) doesn’t mean their citizens would be any more willing to lay down their lives for their country or Europe. Or did I miss the articles about thousands of French and Polish citizens lining up to enlist to stop the Russians in Crimea?

    Again: you’re singling out Germany for criticisms that apply at least as much to its major European neighbors.

    • #39
  10. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Randal H (View Comment):
    Political correctness and leftist ideology have been drilled into the heads of the kids over there far longer than it has been over here. My wife’s nieces and nephews can’t seem to acknowledge anything but positive from the influx of refugees,

    I’ve actually found the political correctness around the refugees to be surprisingly tolerable. There are certainly some statements one can’t make in polite society. But it’s fairly acceptable to criticize the way the refugees were let in or worry about whether they can be integrated without getting blacklisted, even in more progressive circles. Quite a few people are also simply silent or inactive on the issue in public, which fairly clearly tips their cards as skeptics.

    What’s more, some of the most open critics are the people who work with the refugees most closely. They’re not calling for mass deportations, but they also make no illusions about how impossible the task of integration will be. In any case, the realism and openness among those who actually deal with the issue on a daily basis is a breath of fresh air compared with the typical bleeding heart-ism of social workers and activists in the US.

    So while there is certainly something of a taboo on open criticism of refugees, the German PC police are much more lax on the issue than they are on anyone who says anything remotely skeptical about global warming or remotely positive about the state of Israel.

    • #40
  11. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    James Madison (View Comment):
    Can you imagine anyone laying their life down for the EU flag?

    When I get home from work today, I want to read the whole thread carefully. But for now I’ll throw in an observation —the “what is Germany” problem is that the answer is, still, “Germany is the country that murdered six million Jews…”  This was explicitly referred to in Merkel’s decision to open the gates of Europe to “refugees,” for example. What do you do with that?

    • #41
  12. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Who had the same sentiment in July, 1914.? Or just before the Weimar floundered and Hitler ascended? Then there was the whole, ’peace in our time’ episode.  If Germany becomes even semi-dysfunctional,… use your imagination.

    Unbeknownst to most readers the German military has acknowledged that of the six scenarios they see playing out – two involve a kind of east/west split or chaos/dark ages descending on an ungovernable, unruly Europe by 2040.  So, this is not conjecture or stargazing.  There are very knowledgeable people who see Germany descending and …, who picks up the pieces?

    Status quo is dependent upon status.

     

     

    • #42
  13. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):

    James Madison (View Comment):
    Can you imagine anyone laying their life down for the EU flag?

    When I get home from work today, I want to read the whole thread carefully. But for now I’ll throw in an observation —the “what is Germany” problem is that the answer is, still, “Germany is the country that murdered six million Jews…” This was explicitly referred to in Merkel’s decision to open the gates of Europe to “refugees,” for example. What do you do with that?

    Kate,

    You astutely see the thing that holds Germany back from being a real power.  They don’t trust themselves to arm properly, act properly and take responsibility properly.

    • #43
  14. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Who had the same sentiment in July, 1914. Or just before the Weimar floundered and Hitler ascended. Then there was the whole, ’peace in our time’ episode. If Germany becomes even semi-dysfunctional,… use your imagination.

    Unbeknownst to most readers the German military has acknowledged that of the six scenarios they see playing out – two involve a kind of east/west split or chaos/dark ages descending on an ungovernable, unruly Europe by 2040. So, this is not conjecture or stargazing. There are very knowledgeable people who see Germany descending and …, who picks up the pieces?

    Status quo is dependent upon status.

    I kind of have a feeling that more likely a non trivial part of europe will be part of Sultan Erodogan’s new ottomon-esque caliphate.  Given that basically a majority of Europe won’t be European at that point anyway, and with that will come the end of the west.  The Old World isn’t just old at this point, its entering hospice, and we are just waiting for the inevitable at this point.

    • #44
  15. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Mendel (View Comment):
    You’re drawing lots of distinctions that really don’t exist in reality.

    We can and should agree to disagree.  Though I do agree with much of what you wrote.

    I have lived there, worked in the public sector and the private sector, endured the Iron Curtain, pulled my hair out over trying to get consensus and then later, faced with changed circumstances needing to patiently prod them to make changes.

    They are not as unified as you may think and terribly afraid of individualism – despite possessing some of the most hard headed natures bordering on arrogance.  Individualism, like nationalism, are seen as selfish.  They are also very, very judgmental.  These characteristics are not mine – they are widely discussed, by the Germans themselves.

    Germans generally are friendly, but not open.  They usually do not invite you into their homes and keep relationships somewhat formal.  While I partied with the French and their families, I drank beer with the Germans in a formal way.  They are not that interested in what goes on beyond their narrow lives, village, jobs, etc..

    Social cohesion between the eastern states, Bavaria, the north, … not very strong at all.  And they still possess some incredible dialects, accents and manners that signal to each other who they are and where they identify.  You just need to listen, travel and work with them to sense this.  It is a collection of 235 colonies who cannot exactly recall why they are united, how they united, and who united them other than to trade amongst themselves.

    • #45
  16. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Mendel (View Comment):
    Again: you’re singling out Germany for criticisms that apply at least as much to its major European neighbors.

    So, who will lead Europe?  The strongest economy with the most power in the EU or, … France?  Seriously, if Germany cannot get its act together and show some unity (which Merkel cast to the wind), then what?  I don’t care that Italy or Spain or Greece have the hiccups.  I do care the strongest nation, the nation most able to afford a strong defense, the nation most able to provide leadership and not just trade surpluses with its neighbors, actually be strong.

    If they are not, the wolves will come.  They will see Germany for what it is.  A nation that lacks sufficient soldiers to man its own tanks.  A nationa that enlists Romanians to come and train on German equipment so they might put up a united defense of the Fatherland some day.  Who will defend the next Ukraine?

    Read about the German military and tell me how strong or weak they really are.  Like the Swiss, the German military is a past-time.  A few good units and the rest.  At least the Swiss see their military as a unit of social cohesion, social contact and social order.  Germans see no enemies on the horizon and feel quite comfortable.  They may be right.

    Or, …, they may soon find themselves like Japan in the early 2000’s, hoping the big authoritarian neighbor nearby will join the western world order, while failing to prepare for the possibility they might not.

    • #46
  17. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

     

    The problem with the Germans isn’t that they will start World War III, it’s that they’ll go so overboard in dominating their neighbors economically (and culturally) that we’ll start seeing Hitler-like figures come to power in southern European countries (or, God help us all, France).

    Fixed exchange rates are infamous for causing these sorts of geopolitical death spirals, especially when they take the form of a common currency.

    Joseph Egar,

    You stated this very, very well.  But recall, Germany took the world to war in WWI by prodding and inciting Austria to confront Serbia and by proxy, the Russians.  Germany’s establishment was unstable and chaotic under the Kaiser – who left the details up to underlings some who wanted a war to get it over with.

    Germany’s excesses combined with its economic power and its location so often ensnarl others in their own subterfuge and self-absorption.  They are often easily and swiftly swept away with hysteria and paranoia – which led them to launch 5 wars to pre-empt or engage when they presumed they held the best hands.  Three worked out well for them.  Two, not so well.  The result was disasterous.

    When Germany is not well run, when a wise hand is not on the tiller, it can soon become a distablizing force in Europe.  The new diffused German constitution might repeat the Weimar experience though it was designed to avoid it.  Even if Germany is forced to stand by the sidelines now that it is the conomic engine of the EU, that in itself might prove to be destabilizing.  Germans want trade surpluses, they do not want uncollected credit even if they drive their fellow EU nations to the brink.

    Germany remains essential to European security – whether it is in good hands or not.  When it is not, bad things happen.  History seems to confirm this.

    • #47
  18. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Bill Wirtz says all this kerfuffle is just sound and fury signifying nothing:

    We waste too much time singling out which color wins rather than which ideas. Angela Merkel is demonstrably popular, but she has also manifestly driven her party to the left. The question, by any means, shouldn’t be which government happens to take over, but what its policy proposals are. The current “chaos” is merely political parties trying to figure out whether they would be better positioned with or without new elections—not what they would actually do with their power.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/germanys-irrelevant-election-chaos/

    • #48
  19. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
    Bill Wirtz says all this kerfuffle is just sound and fury signifying nothing:

    We waste too much time singling out which color wins rather than which ideas. Angela Merkel is demonstrably popular, but she has also manifestly driven her party to the left. The question, by any means, shouldn’t be which government happens to take over, but what its policy proposals are. The current “chaos” is merely political parties trying to figure out whether they would be better positioned with or without new elections—not what they would actually do with their power.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/germanys-irrelevant-election-chaos/

    Mis,

    100%. Since when is Angela Merkel the magical lynchpin that holds everything together? If she had simply seen reality on the migrant issue and accepted a cap she wouldn’t be in this fix. That she wouldn’t suggests that she really doesn’t deserve to continue as the German PM.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #49
  20. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Who had the same sentiment in July, 1914. Or just before the Weimar floundered and Hitler ascended. Then there was the whole, ’peace in our time’ episode. If Germany becomes even semi-dysfunctional,… use your imagination.

    Unbeknownst to most readers the German military has acknowledged that of the six scenarios they see playing out – two involve a kind of east/west split or chaos/dark ages descending on an ungovernable, unruly Europe by 2040. So, this is not conjecture or stargazing. There are very knowledgeable people who see Germany descending and …, who picks up the pieces?

    Status quo is dependent upon status.

    I kind of have a feeling that more likely a non trivial part of europe will be part of Sultan Erodogan’s new ottomon-esque caliphate. Given that basically a majority of Europe won’t be European at that point anyway, and with that will come the end of the west. The Old World isn’t just old at this point, its entering hospice, and we are just waiting for the inevitable at this point.

    The Russians and the Islamic militants are counting on it.

    • #50
  21. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Who had the same sentiment in July, 1914.? Or just before the Weimar floundered and Hitler ascended? Then there was the whole, ’peace in our time’ episode. If Germany becomes even semi-dysfunctional,… use your imagination.

    Unbeknownst to most readers the German military has acknowledged that of the six scenarios they see playing out – two involve a kind of east/west split or chaos/dark ages descending on an ungovernable, unruly Europe by 2040. So, this is not conjecture or stargazing. There are very knowledgeable people who see Germany descending and …, who picks up the pieces?

    Status quo is dependent upon status.

    1914: Germany was a monarchy with an expansionist Kaiser at the top.

    1933: The Weimar constitution gave the President the power to unilaterally select a Chancellor.

    2017: No Kaiser. The President has been reduced to a ceremonial role.  Only the Bundestag and/or the voters can select a Chancellor.

    Occasional minority parliaments are a necessary part of a healthy democracy, not a harbinger of collapse.  When you write mechanisms into a constitution to prevent minority parliaments from ever occurring, that’s when you open the door to dictators taking over.  Voters failing to select a clear majority winner is a feature, not a bug.

    • #51
  22. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    I think the only question in europe is who ethnically cleanses who.

    Whom. Who ethnically cleanses whom.

    Who is completely grammatically correct here.  Whom is an archaic form.  Get over it, grammar Nazis.

    • #52
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Frank Soto (View Comment):

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    I think the only question in europe is who ethnically cleanses who.

    Whom. Who ethnically cleanses whom.

    Who is completely grammatically correct here. Whom is an archaic form. Get over it, grammar Nazis.

    Have some respect.  The current accepted nomenclature is “Grammar Cicadas”.

    • #53
  24. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    • #54
  25. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Who had the same sentiment in July, 1914.? Or just before the Weimar floundered and Hitler ascended? Then there was the whole, ’peace in our time’ episode. If Germany becomes even semi-dysfunctional,… use your imagination.

    Unbeknownst to most readers the German military has acknowledged that of the six scenarios they see playing out – two involve a kind of east/west split or chaos/dark ages descending on an ungovernable, unruly Europe by 2040. So, this is not conjecture or stargazing. There are very knowledgeable people who see Germany descending and …, who picks up the pieces?

    Status quo is dependent upon status.

    1914: Germany was a monarchy with an expansionist Kaiser at the top.

    1933: The Weimar constitution gave the President the power to unilaterally select a Chancellor.

    2017: No Kaiser. The President has been reduced to a ceremonial role. Only the Bundestag and/or the voters can select a Chancellor.

    Occasional minority parliaments are a necessary part of a healthy democracy, not a harbinger of collapse. When you write mechanisms into a constitution to prevent minority parliaments from ever occurring, that’s when you open the door to dictators taking over. Voters failing to select a clear majority winner is a feature, not a bug.

    And yet, even the Der Spiegel talks of the possibility of the first minority government.

    And this is not a one step process.  A flummoxed, convuluted, trapeze government, even a majority one, is not the first step of reassurance or a signal to authoritarian forces in Poland and Hungary or even Russia that Germany is a factor to be reckoned with, is it?

    • #55
  26. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
    Bill Wirtz says all this kerfuffle is just sound and fury signifying nothing:

    We waste too much time singling out which color wins rather than which ideas. Angela Merkel is demonstrably popular, but she has also manifestly driven her party to the left. …The current “chaos” is merely political parties trying to figure out whether they would be better positioned with or without new elections—not what they would actually do … .

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/germanys-irrelevant-election-chaos/

    Mis,

    100%. Since when is Angela Merkel the magical lynchpin that holds everything together? If she had simply seen reality on the migrant issue and accepted a cap she wouldn’t be in this fix. That she wouldn’t suggests that she really doesn’t deserve to continue as the German PM.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    Answer: Since 12 years.  She has played almost every move brilliantly – including her late, but enthusiastic embrace of greenism.

    Ironic, you and I are usually very aligned – but not on this.

    Merkel was a kind of Obama.  She was from the East which appealed to the Iron Curtain volk, brilliant at physics – a real technocrat, possibly had a history of cooperation or co-existence with the Honecker rule but cleansed.  She rose from almost nowhere, choses words carefully, is known for being practical, can use a telephone and a pen to get around the bureaucracy, appealed to the Federal bureaucrats, and portrayed herself as a centrist with mild market instincts.  Germans projected themselves, their wants and their desires on her.  As mentioned, she was a bit late to greenism – but in Germany, what else is there to unite them against the world?  Greenism in Germany’s is like the anti-Iraq war issue in the US.  Emotional, hysterical, taught, indoctrinated, and often misinformed.  It is a perfect issue to rally political support with talk of new technology, German leadership, phony job creation, and new exports.  The costs of electricity are now coming home to the voters.  Next time tax breathing and create millions of new jobs producing air.

    Merkel, like Thatcher, may have overstayed and overreached.  Probably did.  But, the other issue beyond immigration and greenism that cleaves or unites is the integration of Europe.   There is a blind faith in European unity – a ‘never again’ mentality (6 million or more dead Jews, 30-60 million deaths) is the reason.

    Given the experience, the Germans are instinctively and resolutely pacifist, pro European integration, and simultaneously mistrusting of government in Berlin or Brussels.  Peace through constant vigilance and a strong defense is abhorrent.  Centralized government should be weak, parsed, and oddly enough, monitoring everywhere without invading privacy.

    So I suspect that sooner or later European integration (which the Germans have thus far managed to their advantage) will call for accountability and responsibility.  Judgement Day. This will lead to check writing and a political reaction, with the voters further drifting to the right, especially the traditionally Socialist Democrat and union voters.

    • #56
  27. Whistle Pig Member
    Whistle Pig
    @

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    James Madison (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I still don’t get the connection between your analysis and a potential for WWIII.

    Who had the same sentiment in July, 1914. Or just before the Weimar floundered and Hitler ascended. Then there was the whole, ’peace in our time’ episode. If Germany becomes even semi-dysfunctional,… use your imagination.

    Unbeknownst to most readers the German military has acknowledged that of the six scenarios they see playing out – two involve a kind of east/west split or chaos/dark ages descending on an ungovernable, unruly Europe by 2040. So, this is not conjecture or stargazing. There are very knowledgeable people who see Germany descending and …, who picks up the pieces?

    Status quo is dependent upon status.

    I kind of have a feeling that more likely a non trivial part of europe will be part of Sultan Erodogan’s new ottomon-esque caliphate. Given that basically a majority of Europe won’t be European at that point anyway, and with that will come the end of the west. The Old World isn’t just old at this point, its entering hospice, and we are just waiting for the inevitable at this point.

    The Russians and the Islamic militants are counting on it.

    Not quite – who do you think is staffing the hospice?

    • #57
  28. Trajan Thatcher
    Trajan
    @Trajan

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    I think the only question in europe is who ethnically cleanses who.

    Bingo. Kristallnacht, and the juries out on who’s oxe gets gored that night, which in itself astounds me, I would not have been on the fence a decade ago.

     

    I believe there will arise, ( as in a sect or individual[Imam] of great charisma)  that can speak EU Muslims past the Quranic admonition against man made rule that is western Democracy , IOW- no other than God can accede humans legislative right(s), and he manages to get drive Muslims  to block vote, either the spirit of Arminius arises , and Muslims are the victims or…………

    • #58
  29. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
     

    Occasional minority parliaments are a necessary part of a healthy democracy, not a harbinger of collapse. When you write mechanisms into a constitution to prevent minority parliaments from ever occurring, that’s when you open the door to dictators taking over. Voters failing to select a clear majority winner is a feature, not a bug.

    That presumes no external enemy who can capitalize on the accompanying difficulty the democracy has making decisions. Worse, over the last decades, Germany has imported fifth columns loyal to ambitious external powers. The the neo-Ottoman sultan Erdogan heads the best organized of those powers, commands the second largest military in NATO and has signaled where his loyalties lie by (so far) permitting ISIS to open its third slave market in Turkey, this time in its capital, Ankara.

     

    • #59
  30. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):

    Occasional minority parliaments are a necessary part of a healthy democracy, not a harbinger of collapse. When you write mechanisms into a constitution to prevent minority parliaments from ever occurring, that’s when you open the door to dictators taking over. Voters failing to select a clear majority winner is a feature, not a bug.

    That presumes no external enemy who can capitalize on the accompanying difficulty the democracy has making decisions. Worse, over the last decades, Germany has imported fifth columns loyal to ambitious external powers. The the neo-Ottoman sultan Erdogan heads the best organized of those powers, commands the second largest military in NATO and has signaled where his loyalties lie by (so far) permitting ISIS to open its third slave market in Turkey, this time in its capital, Ankara.

    I have a hard time believing that Erdogan would willingly tolerate open slave markets.  It would be too damaging to both his own self-interest and that of Turkey.

    • #60
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