September 18, 2017
Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
Natalie Nougayrède is absolutely right in her Guardian column asserting that Germany cannot lead the free world. The country is hardly looking beyond its own borders. She notes this is very similar to the UK at the moment, but for different reasons. While the provincialism of the UK election was largely due to psychological factors, there is a genuine lack of interest in world affairs in Germany, where neither Europe nor the wider world play a role in the campaign. She believes that the deep reason for navel-gazing is the relative success of the German economy, which has led to an unprecedented level of complacency. This is her overall conclusion:
"To be sure, all politics is local. But the Germans will choose Merkel yet again because they believe she will protect them from external pressures, not help transform the world, or Europe, for the better. Most just want to keep things the way they are: an apparently placid, content country that likes rules to be strictly respected and doesn’t want to be troubled much by what’s going on beyond its realm. A Kantian village in a world that has become ever more Hobbesian. Can that be real?"