By: Chriss W. Street
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced on January 30th: “As correct as the policy of military restraint is, it must not be misunderstood as a culture of standing aside.” In a full-page interview under the headline “Germany and the World” released later the same day Steinmeir emphasized: “Germany is too large, just to comment on world politics.” When asked if that meant use of military force as the “ultima ratio” (last resort) of foreign policy, he warned: “No foreign policy in the world can banish the ultima ratio from its political thinking.” In response to questions about America’s diminished sway in the world, Steinmeir added: “The US has not lost its interests in Europe and the world. But America cannot be everywhere. Whether we like it or not, that shifts more of the responsibility for security in Europe onto our shoulders.” With the hundred year anniversary of the start of World War One just months away, Germany announcing its intention to rearm is a very problematic development.
Germany has been the big economic winner since the Financial Crisis began in 2008. While the rest of Europe is suffering 12% unemployment, the export-led growth hasdriven down German unemployment from 8.4% to a record low of 5.1%. As the architect of the euro currency, the highly competitive German manufacturing enjoys the equivalent of a 25% undervalued currency. Coupled with growing demand for high-quality goods from emerging economies such as China, Germany has boosted its international competitiveness according to a study by the World Economic Forum. Continue reading