The German Manifesto on Anti-Americanism

Is reality starting to dawn on the Germany foreign policy elite? 

In a manifesto published in Die Zeit entitled "In Spite of it All, America," these foreign policy experts warn the German political class of the country's growing anti-Americanism. They write something that should be obvious even to the most doltish in Deutschland, namely, Germany is 'strategically' dependent on the U.S. and that the U.S. remains an "indispensable partner for both Germany and Europe and keeps Germany embedded in the West."  

Here's an interesting passage. 

If the ties to the United States are cut, with them goes the reassurance that other European countries need in order to accept a strong Germany in the center of the continent. the more leadership that Germany can and should take on, the closer the coordination must be with the United States.

Well, yes. 

But to fully grasp what is being said here, an addendum is needed. The unvarnished fact is that many countries in the European Union fear a strong, unified Germany far more than they do the U.S. or in some cases even Russia. And given the history of the 20th Century, this is quite understandable. This is what Lord Hastings Ismay meant when he said over 70 years ago, the purpose of NATO was "to keep Russia out, America in, and Germany down.” 

The takeaway conclusion of this Die Zeit document is that Germany's transatlantic relationship with America must be preserved at all costs. It correctly observes that German's prosperity is dependent on the liberal world order. How true. But what is left unsaid is that this world order, which was established by the U.S. after WWII, has come to be abused by aggressively mercantile countries like Germany (and China), all to the detriment of America and its middle class. 

Also unmentioned is the fact that German is riding as a freeloader on America's back with it comes to its security. In Germany, concern for its welfare state has a far greater priority than its defense. Such a position is tenable only as long as Uncle Sam is willing to play the role of Uncle Sap.

It is certainly in Germany's interest to preserve the status quo at all cost. But is that possible? Will the U.S. keep bending over for the sake of the rest of the world? Will trade be allowed to remain as lopsided as it has been? Must the U.S. continue to carrying an inordinate cost for Western world security and the near total cost of keeping the sea lanes open? Personally, I don't think so. The gap between what is actually in America's interest and what is accepted as 'normal' is too great. If America is to be put first, then a disruptive change is the needed medicine.   

But fear not, Germany. The manifesto has suggestions on how to sail through what has become a stormy sea for you with the election of Donald Trump. It specifically recommends not antagonizing the American president. Germany should avoid contentious issues like trade and immigration. As the New York Times put it,

Germany should avoid Mr. Trump's populist agenda and try not to push too hard on trade or immigration, the manifesto said, to avoid unnecessary conflict and failure. But on issues of climate, energy, and digital policy, Germany should be 'moderating conflicts and avoiding escalation.'

That advice sounds like telling a man to walk a tightrope. 

"In Spite of it All, America" is a bitter pill for the German establishment to swallow, especially as it is coming from the country's own. It is distasteful for the emerging German national ego to be reminded that it is far from being the big dog on the block. To soften the message, the manifesto tries to add some sugary assurances by observing (correctly) that that 'America is more than Trump' and that 'there will be an America after Trump.'  To that they add, "We argue that Trump (get that, it's 'Trump,' not President Trump) is not a symptom of a long-term trend..."

So that's the recommend strategy -- plays rope-a-dope with America until President Trumps fades from the scene. But the authors are deluding themselves. The fact is the status quo is untenable. It will be bent toward American interests. Donald Trump is just the beginning. And this is not because the U.S. is greedy or selfish or isolationist. It is because the current situation has been allowed to grow and fester so as to become a crushing burden on America and the American middle class. 

Is reality starting to dawn on the Germany foreign policy elite? 

In a manifesto published in Die Zeit entitled "In Spite of it All, America," these foreign policy experts warn the German political class of the country's growing anti-Americanism. They write something that should be obvious even to the most doltish in Deutschland, namely, Germany is 'strategically' dependent on the U.S. and that the U.S. remains an "indispensable partner for both Germany and Europe and keeps Germany embedded in the West."  

Here's an interesting passage. 

If the ties to the United States are cut, with them goes the reassurance that other European countries need in order to accept a strong Germany in the center of the continent. the more leadership that Germany can and should take on, the closer the coordination must be with the United States.

Well, yes. 

But to fully grasp what is being said here, an addendum is needed. The unvarnished fact is that many countries in the European Union fear a strong, unified Germany far more than they do the U.S. or in some cases even Russia. And given the history of the 20th Century, this is quite understandable. This is what Lord Hastings Ismay meant when he said over 70 years ago, the purpose of NATO was "to keep Russia out, America in, and Germany down.” 

The takeaway conclusion of this Die Zeit document is that Germany's transatlantic relationship with America must be preserved at all costs. It correctly observes that German's prosperity is dependent on the liberal world order. How true. But what is left unsaid is that this world order, which was established by the U.S. after WWII, has come to be abused by aggressively mercantile countries like Germany (and China), all to the detriment of America and its middle class. 

Also unmentioned is the fact that German is riding as a freeloader on America's back with it comes to its security. In Germany, concern for its welfare state has a far greater priority than its defense. Such a position is tenable only as long as Uncle Sam is willing to play the role of Uncle Sap.

It is certainly in Germany's interest to preserve the status quo at all cost. But is that possible? Will the U.S. keep bending over for the sake of the rest of the world? Will trade be allowed to remain as lopsided as it has been? Must the U.S. continue to carrying an inordinate cost for Western world security and the near total cost of keeping the sea lanes open? Personally, I don't think so. The gap between what is actually in America's interest and what is accepted as 'normal' is too great. If America is to be put first, then a disruptive change is the needed medicine.   

But fear not, Germany. The manifesto has suggestions on how to sail through what has become a stormy sea for you with the election of Donald Trump. It specifically recommends not antagonizing the American president. Germany should avoid contentious issues like trade and immigration. As the New York Times put it,

Germany should avoid Mr. Trump's populist agenda and try not to push too hard on trade or immigration, the manifesto said, to avoid unnecessary conflict and failure. But on issues of climate, energy, and digital policy, Germany should be 'moderating conflicts and avoiding escalation.'

That advice sounds like telling a man to walk a tightrope. 

"In Spite of it All, America" is a bitter pill for the German establishment to swallow, especially as it is coming from the country's own. It is distasteful for the emerging German national ego to be reminded that it is far from being the big dog on the block. To soften the message, the manifesto tries to add some sugary assurances by observing (correctly) that that 'America is more than Trump' and that 'there will be an America after Trump.'  To that they add, "We argue that Trump (get that, it's 'Trump,' not President Trump) is not a symptom of a long-term trend..."

So that's the recommend strategy -- plays rope-a-dope with America until President Trumps fades from the scene. But the authors are deluding themselves. The fact is the status quo is untenable. It will be bent toward American interests. Donald Trump is just the beginning. And this is not because the U.S. is greedy or selfish or isolationist. It is because the current situation has been allowed to grow and fester so as to become a crushing burden on America and the American middle class. 

RECENT VIDEOS