Germany Asserts Itself—By NOT Making War
April 20, 2011, 05:28 PM
A+
|
a-
Print Friendly and PDF
he Serious People are extremely mad at Germany for not plunging precipitously into war in Libya for the second time in 70 years.

Daniel Larison rounds up some representative comments. For instance, Roger Cohen writes in the New York Times:

We stand at a high point in French postwar diplomacy and a nadir in German. ... Germany often conveys the sense that it now resents the agents of its postwar rehabilitation - the European Union and NATO.
Timothy Garton Ash, a columnist for the lefty Guardian, is hopping mad:
But how could Germany not support a UN resolution backed by its principal European partners, the United States and the Arab League? ... A word that springs unbidden to my mind is Dolchstoss (stab in the back).
How could Germany not go along with starting an unprovoked war alongside France, Britain, the U.S. and a few small Arab countries? I dunno ... Because Germany is a sovereign nation and doesn't have to start a war if it doesn't want to? Because Germany is a republic, and its voters would have punished any Chancellor who did that? Because the Germans thought it sounded like a bad idea? Because the guys starting the wars didn't have a plausible plan for how they would win? Because Germany manufactures BMWs, not Renaults, Jaguars, Chryslers, or camels? Because Germany's attitude toward War in the Desert is Been There, Done That? Because German don't take Bernard-Henri Levy seriously?

Keep in mind that my title, a play on Thilo Sarrazin's book Germany Abolishes Itself, is a joke. The Serious People are mad at Germany not for asserting itself, but for refusing to be involved in starting a war. When Obama and Co. decided to attack, the Germans were preoccupied with what the Japanese nuclear meltdown meant for Germany's many nuclear power plants. Should they scrap all their nuke plants and replace them with renewable energy? The Germans felt more like spending money on windmills than on bombs. Bad, bad Germans ... The joke is that even Germany at its Greeniest Weeniest enrages the Serious People, which would be pretty funny if it weren't also kind of serious.