Why Germany Is Once Again a Threat to the West

Why Germany Is Once Again a Threat to the West, by Hikolaas de Jong.

The popular image both of Angela Merkel and of modern Germany is deeply flawed. Because far from representing a negation — or a misguided attempt at negation — of past German policies and attitudes, the modern German mentality is in many ways a mutation or an update of the same mentality that has guided Germany since the eighteenth century, and especially since the unification of the country in 1870.

Let us begin with the more obvious parallel: German support for further European integration. Despite all the German talk about subordinating narrow national interests to the European project, careful observers must have noticed the coincidence that the Germans always see themselves as the leaders of this disinterested project, and that the measures deemed to be necessary for further European cooperation always seem to be German-made.

Are the Germans really such idealistic supporters of the European project? It is more probable that in reality they see the European Union as an ideal instrument to control the rest of Europe. Indeed, in 1997 the British author John Laughland wrote a book about this subject, The Tainted Source: the Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea, which is still worth reading for anyone who wants understand what kind of organization the EU actually is. According to Laughland, the Germans are such big supporters of the European ideal because they know that all important decisions in a confederation of states can ultimately only be taken by or with the approval of the most important state — in this case, Germany.

Thus, on closer scrutiny, there is a strong continuity between the foreign policy of Wilhelm II, Hitler, and Merkel. And this continuity can easily be explained by looking at Germany’s position within Europe. On the one hand, Germany is the strongest and largest country in Europe, but on the other hand it is not strong or large enough to dominate the rest of Europe automatically. In consequence, ever since German unification in 1870, the country has been presented with the choice either to subordinate its wishes to those of the rest of Europe — which has always appeared rather humiliating — or to attempt the conquest of Europe, in order to ensure that Germany’s wishes would always prevail. …

[A] parallel with the old German ideology is the collectivist strain in Merkel’s multicultural project. The German government seems to assume that the rights of German citizens must always be subordinated to those of Third World immigrants, which ultimately simply means that individual rights are subordinated to whatever the state wants. Besides emotionalism, collectivism has also been a prominent characteristic of the German ideology since the eighteenth century, once again in opposition to the “atomic” individualism of classical liberalism that prevailed in the United States, England, and France.

When Germans talked about freedom, they did not mean individual freedom in the conventional sense, but rather the good fortune of citizens to live in a country that is efficiently governed by an all-powerful state. This is also what Merkel, and presumably her American and European supporters, mean when they are talking about freedom.

That would explain a lot about the character of the EU.