Like the Post-Bismarck Era (II)


BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - On the occasion of the 20 anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, the German Chancellor is calling for the establishment of a new world order. Monday, at a conference focusing on the consequences of the GDR's collapse, Angela Merkel declared that the United States must be prepared to subordinate itself to multinational organizations, because without "more multinational cooperation" this will "not be a peaceful world". Merkel's remarks reflect Germany's drive, over the past 20 years, to break US hegemony and itself become a world power. Berlin has significantly increased its power, with its persistent expansionist policy over the past few years - also through military means. In 1990, Washington put through West Germany's annexation of the GDR against the resistance of Britain and France. But today on the occasion of the anniversary celebrations, criticism of its rival can be heard in Washington. Germany has become "more powerful, more influential and more dominant than ever before," according to the US press. In reference to Berlin's striving for domination, critics are warning that Germany remains "difficult" and "not entirely a settled place."

The New Order

The USA must be prepared in the future, to abide by multinational agreements, the German Chancellor demanded during a conference on Monday, focused on the global consequences of the November 9, 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall. Evidently Washington has a hard time "simply giving up a couple of responsibilities to the International Monetary Fund or any other international organization" said Angela Merkel. The USA is "inexperienced" in going along with majority decisions, for example, in the UN.[1] The "most intriguing question" of the next few years will be whether "nation-states will be ready and able" to "relinquish responsibilities to multilateral organizations - regardless of the consequences." According to the German chancellor, global peace is dependant upon this. "This will not be a peaceful world," Merkel declared, "if we don't create more global order and more multilateral cooperation." Her demands for more "multilateral cooperation" are identical to those that the USA gives up influence.


The German Chancellor is not by chance expressing the craving - stronger than ever - for participation in world policy decisions on the 20th anniversary of the demise of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Federal Republic of Germany's (FRG) annexation of the GDR and the opening of traditional German eastern regions of expansion have been decisive factors for the rise of this larger Germany in world policy-making. In the 1990s Bonn, then Berlin, accompanied its conquest of economic and political hegemony over Eastern and Southeastern Europe with the German army's first military intervention since 1945. Based on its newly strengthened position, the FRG continued its expansion to Asia and Africa - also accompanied by military interventions, for example in Afghanistan or Sudan. Berlin's standing is being strengthened by its domination of the EU, which, since 1989, has also made enormous progress. Through Brussels, Germany has at its disposal a competitive currency to the US dollar and soon a European foreign minister and EU armed forces ("Battle Groups") for intervening globally. The Lisbon Treaty, soon to take effect, will oblige EU member states to a military buildup.[2]

World Power

In the long run, this represents a power potential that need not shy away from being measured against the USA. For some time, German political advisors have been anticipating this development. Werner Weidenfeld, ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl's advisor, had considered already in 2003 that the "the European Union's potential" comes "closest to the world power, USA."[3] In that same year, the Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP), of which Weidenfeld is the director, pronounced the alternatives confronting Brussels: "suffer demise or rise to world power."[4] In 2006, the foundation of the German Bertelsmann media group considered that soon "the unipolar moment will be over, in which the United States will be the sole center for world policy." The future world constellation will be clearly reminiscent of "the struggle of the major 19th Century European powers." The foundation reports that "in think tanks and government staff rooms this perspective is already taking shape and, in a few areas of great power policy, it seems to already become decisive."[5] Appreciations such as these form the backdrop for the German chancellor's demands that the USA give up power.

Not Entirely Settled

Germany's strivings for world power status is creating irritation in Washington. 20 years ago, in spite of Great Britain and France's objections, the USA put through the annexation of the GDR by the FRG, thereby creating the basis for the international rise of this larger Germany. Today the US press writes that Germany functions with an intensifying "sense of self-interest" lacking consideration for its allies.[6] The most significant example is its close cooperation with Russia, which in the view of several EU states, weakens, or even endangers, the cohesiveness of that international alliance. For all its "democratic strengths," Germany remains "a difficult, not entirely settled place." John Kornblum, a former US ambassador to Germany, had just previously expressed a similar thought. In an article appearing in the German press, he wrote that Germany followed its "own instincts, with little apparent concern for European, let alone Atlantic unity."[7]

More Dominant Than Ever

Just last week a US journal published reflections on Germany, which has continued to grow "more powerful, more influential and more dominant than ever before."[8] Thanks to Angela Merkel, this has not led to "rising anxiety and mumbling about the Fourth Reich," explains the journal. Her personal manner provokes "no jealousy or competitiveness among the alpha males who run large countries" and she inspires "no fear among the citizens of smaller ones." Merkel speaks constantly of "friendship," after which "she returns home and works to make Germany stronger and more dominant in the region. And everyone smiles." This explanation overlooks the ties, with which Germany binds EU states to itself, making open criticism nearly impossible. But it does show the obvious irritations that are beginning to spread in the US establishment over the German challenge.

[1] Merkels zweiter Gang über die Bornholmer Brücke; Zeit Online 09.11.2009
[2] see also The Hegemon's Army
[3] Die verhinderte Weltmacht;
[4] see also "Downfall or ascent to world power" and Supermacht Europa
[5] see also European Way of Life
[6] German Reunification: From Rejection to Inevitability; The New York Times 08.11.2009
[7] John Kornblum: Zentrum einer integrierten Welt; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 06.11.2009. S. dazu Wie in der Zeit nach Bismarck
[8] Europe's quiet leader; The Washington Post 03.11.2009