German Of The Day: Kristallklar

That means crystal-clear. You know, like Germany’s policy of backing the airstrikes in Syria as “necessary and appropriate” – immediately after they have taken place?

Germany

This “hat Hand und Fuß” (has hand and foot = rhyme and reason) as immediately before they took place Germany made clear that it would not participate or support these airstrikes in any way. Being a responsible ally with clear conviction beforehand was apparently neither “necessary” nor “appropriate,” you see.

No one here or anywhere else bats an eye at this strange logic (some would call it a contradiction) much less critisizes it because German policy in matters like these where something is asked or expected of them is always contradictory – and no one here or anywhere else very much seems to care. The German conviction is to freeload, in other words. Or perhaps this confusion is not a contradiction at all, just another complex nuance of the German language.

“We support the fact that our American, British and French allies have taken responsibility in this way as permanent members of the UN Security Council.”

Advertisements

I Would Rather Have Venezuela

Well received? “Berlin’s bid for UN Security Council seat was well received, but questions remain.”

UN

I don’t have any questions. No way. Go with Venezuela. At least you know where the Venezuelans stand when it comes to the question of shouldering responsibility. They don’t stand there very well, of course, but at least you know where they stand. Germans just talk the talk. And don’t even get embarrassed when they get caught doing so.

Maas highlighted the fact that Germany is one of the largest UN contributors. He also expressed how grateful he was for the trust he felt was given to Germany at the UN, describing Berlin’s bid for a rotating Security Council seat as a way to try to give back some of the trust.

“We are shouldering responsibility already and we are prepared to shoulder responsibility in the future.”

“Not Deployable For Collective Defense”

Three years ago, Germany’s military made headlines when it used broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise because of a shortage of equipment. The lack of real weapons in the European Union’s most populous nation was seen as symptomatic of how underfunded its military has long been.

Germany

One Russian annexation later, if anything, the state of affairs has only gotten worse, according to the parliamentary commissioner for the country’s armed forces.

He has now reached the conclusion that the German military is virtually “not deployable for collective defense,” at the moment. Independent commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels also indicated in a recent interview that Germany was unprepared for the possibility of a larger conflict even though smaller operations abroad may still be possible.

Meanwhile… Rising exports, Turkish tanks fuel German arms sales debate.

Again: Germany’s army is an alibi army that will never be used for anything other than to make Germans feel better (less worse?) about being 1) pacifists while being at the same time 2) the world’s third largest weapons exporter. Remember this when the next demand for them to spend 2 percent GDP on their defense comes up and they start to fidget – and get away with not spending it again.

Leftest SPD Mayor Also Shocked That Leftest Crazies Got So Leftest Crazy In Hamburg

But Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD) won’t resign or anything. Not after having promised a safe G20 summit in Hamburg and having failed to deliver miserably.

SPD

Hamburg is deep SPD red, you see (or deep red-green at the moment) and it would be a major Tabubruch (breach of taboo) to actually hold an SPD mayor responsible for his actions. Die Partei hat immer recht (the party is always right) and all that, you know? The real culprit is the “political left” (duh, like the SPD?) and the “strategic militancy” of others which created a level of violence of “scarcely known dimensions.” Well, I’m glad the political left cleared that up for us, again.

Scholz machte den Gewalttätern schwerste Vorwürfe. Diese hätten „bei entsprechenden Hinterhalten schwere Verletzungen und sogar Tote nicht nur in Kauf genommen, sondern offenbar gewollt“.

VW Too Big To Fail?

Then it’s too big. Think GM (Government Motors). Only different. As in much worse.

VW

At Volkswagen AG, political connections come already fitted.

When it comes to Volkswagen, German chancellors don’t intervene in company decisions. But the unique arrangement in Lower Saxony (it holds 20 percent of the company) has spawned alumni in high places with an interest in the boardroom, including Merkel’s Social Democratic predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder, who sat on VW’s supervisory board for eight years as state premier, was known as the “auto chancellor” when he led Germany from 1998 to 2005 because of his perceived closeness to the car industry.

Following him to Berlin after serving at his side in Lower Saxony was Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now in his second stint as Merkel’s foreign minister. Sigmar Gabriel, who succeeded Schroeder as state premier — and VW board member — is now vice chancellor and economy minister. He also heads the Social Democratic Party, Merkel’s junior coalition partner. Christian Wulff, a Christian Democrat like Merkel who succeeded Gabriel in the state capital Hanover, made it all the way to the German presidency, before resigning in 2012 amid a legal probe.

Im Abgas-Skandal, dessen Auswirkungen noch unübersehbar sind, rückt die Frage nach der Mitverantwortung der deutschen Politik in den Fokus. Und weil die politischen Spitzen der Republik wie geschockt schweigen und selbst die sonst geliebten Talkshows meiden, werden Vorwürfe laut, die Bundesregierung habe mit Volkswagen gekungelt und möglicherweise sogar von den Manipulationen gewusst.

Germany Celebrates 60th Year In NATO

By maybe-possibly-perhaps increasing its current expenditure of 1.2 percent of German GDP on its military. Maybe, like I said. Hard to say for sure. They don’t want to overdo it or anything, just yet. Being newbies and all, I mean. And it’s not like Germany has ever gotten all that much out of being a NATO member or anything…

NATO

“I am speaking to all the allies. But as the biggest economy, Germany weighs more heavily than others. The USA spends four percent of GDP on defense, in Europe we’re closer to one percent. “That isn’t a fair distribution of the burden.”

Why Germans Are Desperate To Ignore A Dangerous World?

Desperate? I think determined is the better word. Why? Because they can. And this is just what Germans do. It’s never been any different here (not in our lifetimes).

Disneyland

Imagine being born and raised in a place that is cut off from the rest of that yucky world “out there,” just like your parents before you. In an amusement park kind of way, I mean. You know, kind of like Disneyland? Only they call it Deutschland instead.

I spoke about the relative weakness of NATO, about the failures of European foreign policy, about Russia’s use of money and disinformation to divide Europe and the United States. The crowd and the other panelists nodded—and then almost immediately changed the subject. Instead of NATO, the German audience wanted to discuss genetically modified food and chickens washed in chlorinated water.

“When I think of politics I think about my neighborhood, street lights and construction permits.”

What Do You Mean BEFORE World War II?

“Given the horror of the Second World War where the guilt of course strongly lies with Germany and we take responsibility for the terror of National Socialism, we haven’t in Germany had the First World War so much in mind.”

WWI

One indication of Germans’ interest has been the success of the best-seller “The Sleepwalkers” by Australian Christopher Clark…

Experts and critics put the German success of the nearly 900-page title down to the book’s premise that Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire didn’t play any greater role than other countries in starting the war.

“People are delighted,” Historian Gerd Krumeich of Duesseldorf University said, sarcastically. “Among German intellectuals there was the conviction that everything led us to Hitler. Clark liberates us from all that by saying to us ‘you’re not more aggressive than the others’,” he said.

Poll: Four In Five Germans Have No Problem With Germany Being World’s Third Largest Arms Exporter

No, wait. That was four in five Germans would like to see their armed forces take part in fewer military missions abroad. But still.

Arms

Damn. And almost two-thirds think Germany should show caution on foreign affairs. Even more caution than they are already being so overly cautious about already, I mean. Well the Germans certainly have been reckless these past few years, haven’t they?

Calls from abroad for greater German participation showed the respect Germany had won, but could also put Germany under too much pressure.

PS: Speaking of pressure, according to former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer himself, “Russia is striving a major power role. That must not and will not be accepted by Europe.”

Die russische Strategie, verloren gegangenes Territorium zurück zu holen, könne man nur mit Entschlossenheit und Härte begegnen, nicht mit Verständnis. „Ein starkes Europa ist Voraussetzung für Sicherheit“, sagte der Ex-Außenminister.

“Rethinking German Pacifism”

Would the Germany of today help liberate the Germany of 1944? You don’t need to tap Angela Merkel’s phone to find the answer: It’s no.

Peace

Defense-minded politicians in Berlin rail against this picture, arguing that postwar Germany has participated in major military operations. Take Kosovo! Take Afghanistan! Big missions! Don’t be fooled. It is perfectly clear by now that these interventions hardly represent the rule; rather, they are two exceptions from a convenient and holier-than-thou foreign policy attitude, one the Germans have cultivated over the past 70 years.

Jochen Bittner is a political editor for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit.