Germany Retakes Center Stage in Europe
Tyler Durdin’s recent article in Zero Hedge describes the incredible capacities of the FGM-148 Javelin, which is an American-made anti-tank weapon. The weapon has been nicknamed "St. Javelin." Its success is described in almost giddy terms, in ways teenagers talk about video games as they select weapons that will provide sure kill shots. Ukraine seems to provide an expedient and seemingly safe place for the United States and other countries to try out their most sophisticated weapons, including the Javelin.
One is reminded of the Spanish civil war. During that deadly internal struggle, Spain proved a useful testing ground for Italy’s and Germany's advanced weaponry and strategies. Among other things, the war proved to be both a proxy and a catalyst for the larger battles to come.
As Spain was during the 1930s, Ukraine is deeply divided internally, with the Eastern section oriented toward Russia and the Western section leaning toward Europe. Western nations seem to be interested in supplying advanced armaments to the West-leaning Ukrainians, much as Germany and Russia sent military hardware to their preferred political faction fighting in Spain.
Most importantly, as they were in pre-WWII Spain, the battles currently raging in Ukraine are indicators of massive struggles ahead as the world powers realign themselves into massive power blocs. The struggle augers realignment of the military and economic world order established after WWII and beyond.
Germany appears to be a few steps ahead in the ongoing global chess match.
As a chief player in the European arena, Germany may be using the crisis in Ukraine to its advantage, seizing the opportunity to rearm without attracting the suspicion or calumny of the world -- which it almost assuredly would if it acted solo and did not rearm under the EU umbrella.
It is doubtful Germany is rearming purely for the sake of NATO, which is presently disoriented because of the Biden administration’s inability to lead. Germany also is probably not interested in bolstering the strength of the European Union’s weaker and more vulnerable nations. But it may be interested in bolstering the strength of the European Union’s structure in order to reinforce its already considerable strength in the EU, which has long toyed with the idea of establishing a military presence. In fact, the organization has more than hinted it wishes to develop a military presence free of the influence of the United States. Italy and France have welcomed the idea.
But there are reasons to consider Germany as the most influential nation in the EU.
Germany's contributions to the budget of the European Union consistently have been greater than any other member nation. Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world and the largest economy in Europe. It has many natural resources and a fortuitous geographical location. Adding to its formidable economic and geographical advantages, especially after successful reunification dating from 1989, are the famed German discipline and engineering capacities, both of which are in no way diminished.
One can scarcely blame Germany for thinking about its national welfare in terms of its powerful position within the EU, especially in view of the erratic and feckless actions of the Biden administration.
The Biden administration has been humiliatingly revealed as good at posturing, but as being all sound and no fury. Despite his blustering affectations, Biden has been revealed as weak and irresolute.
Biden’s dismal reputation is well earned in view of the disastrous events in Afghanistan and his confused and fragmented responses to the situation in Ukraine. He also has been preoccupied with domestic policies aimed at steering the United States in a leftward direction. His wrecking ball agenda for America and his erratic and disastrous foreign policy maneuvers have been met with serious resistance from a recalcitrant and increasingly irritable American public.
A more resolute Germany could see its powerful position in the EU as a vehicle for expanding its influence economically and militarily. By bolstering its military presence and increasing its already-dominant position in the EU, the EU could become a substitute for NATO. With NATO pushed to the side, the United States’ influence in Europe would be diminished, perhaps irrevocably.
In a recent interview on YouTube, Nigel Farage outlines the core problems for NATO presented by the crisis in Ukraine. He sees the EU’s and NATO’s unreasonable expansionism as having led to the crisis of 2014, in which the Ukrainian government collapsed. He adds that the European Union funded the revolution of 2014. There is, then, a reason Zelinskyy is pleading for entrance into the EU, as he is indebted to the organization.
Farage pointed out the fact that NATO had made promises not to expand. But it did expand, and Russia was provoked. No one listened to Russia’s concerns about having NATO and its missiles parked on what Putin called Russia’s “front porch.” He added that Russia has had historic concerns about having a buffer state in order to prevent invasions like those of Napoleon and Hitler. The West should have listened and guaranteed Ukraine would not become a NATO member. In brief, while Putin’s current actions are not justified, there are underlying reasons for the Russian response.
Farage believes that if the West does not defend NATO, “the West is finished as a cohesive unit.” NATO, he says, is nothing without America. Unfortunately, ever since the Afghanistan debacle, there’s been a question, “Does America want to lead the western world now or don’t they?”
His question is perfectly legitimate. The catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan left a vacuum and raised serious questions about America’s international leadership, including America’s leadership of NATO. Perhaps America doesn’t want to lead the West, including Europe. But if it creates a power vacuum others will step in.
Germany may be stepping into the gap, using the EU as the organization as a platform from which it can lead Europe without resorting to NATO. Europe may become a cohesive unit without the United States.
Whatever Germany’s continuing role in Europe and the EU, it is clear the post-WWII European order once dominated by the United States will continue to be challenged by Germany and the EU, which may become the alternative to NATO.
What seems clear is that Germany has once again taken center stage in Europe.
Europe may be forever changed.
Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have appeared in many online magazines. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Henry Patrick Raleigh