It’s comforting to believe that frequently rocky US-German relations over the last three years have been due largely to President Trump’s personal approach — and will therefore be solved the moment he exits the White House. That belief is mistaken. America’s broader “German problem” is very much grounded in German choices and German conditions predating the current US administration, and will likely outlast it.
The Berlin republic’s overall foreign policy since the end of the Cold War has centered on an admirably skillful promotion of specifically German economic interests, cocooned within a smothering verbal commitment to multilateral conflict resolution. There’s no doubt this verbal commitment is heartfelt. Still, for Berlin’s Western allies, that’s exactly the challenge. A pressing problem for NATO today isn’t German militarism; it’s German anti-militarism. This is particularly true among Social Democrats, on whose coalitional support Chancellor Angela Merkel depends…
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