The more things change, well, the more they . . . So it is with the perpetual German resentments of the U.S.
Recently German chancellor Angela Merkel reminded us of that German fixation, when she made some astounding statements to the German media that revealed what many Americans had long ago surmised.
Merkel all but announced that Germany, or for that matter Europe itself, is no longer really an ally of the United States: “There is no doubt that Europe needs to reposition itself in a changed world. . . . The old certainties of the post-war order no longer apply.”
She insisted that Germany views the democratic United States as not much different from autocratic Russia and Communist China: Urging Europe to present a united front in the face of Russia, China, and the U.S., she said, “They are forcing us, time and again, to find common positions.” And Merkel concluded that therefore Germany must find “political power” commensurate with its economic clout to forge a new independent European path.
In other words, in the calculus of the supposedly sober and judicious Merkel, the democracy that saved Europe twice from a carnivorous Germany — and Germany once from itself and once from becoming a Soviet vassal — is now similar to the world’s two largest authoritarian dictatorships, nations that not so long ago murdered respectively 30 million and 70 million of their own citizens. And how odd a sentiment for someone who grew up in Communist East Germany, a nightmarish state whose collapse was largely attributable to the Reagan-era effort to bankrupt and roll back the Soviet empire.