Davos—the Biggest News!
“Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild”—that was the mantra chosen as the theme for this year’s annual World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, January 27 to 31. Over those five days, business leaders and politicians from all over the world came together to discuss ideas to regenerate a global economic system that is still teetering on collapse.
If anyone had high hopes for consensus on a breakthrough—a way forward to a brighter global economic future—their hopes would have been clearly dashed. For most journalists, there was little of note to report from Davos.
Yet there was one BIG news item at Davos—startling news, largely ignored by the press! “Germany’s government launched an initiative to strengthen its military industry during the World Economic Forum this weekend in the latest sign that the country has become emboldened to fight for its international interests” (Dow Jones, January 31).
Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, used Davos as the occasion to announce that Germany is commencing an aggressive development of its defense industry! “A group of top executives from German blue chips met with federal ministers, talking military business in Davos. German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg brought up the ‘necessary interplay of defense policy and Germany’s economic interests,’ at a breakfast meeting with a group of top managers from utilities, chemical groups and other companies, his spokesman said” (ibid.).
For anyone who had memories of the last time that a united Germany revived an ailing economy by cranking up the wheels of industry to produce instruments of war, this should have set the alarm bells ringing. The alarms should have sounded from Davos to London, Washington, Ottawa, Sydney, Auckland and parts beyond and drummed up a frenzied reaction!
But no! To the contrary. The announcement was greeted with words of approval.
Jackson Janes, executive director of the Washington-based think tank the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, warmly declared, “Germany has come a long way since unification toward expeditionary activities including, but not only in, Afghanistan. Think of the Balkans” (ibid.).
Yes! THINK of the Balkans! It was Germany, supported by the Vatican, that lit the touch tape which started the Balkan wars of the 1990s, cleverly then handing the resultant explosion to the U.S./nato axis to, on its behalf, fight an illegal war that brought the phrase “ethnic cleansing” into the world’s foreign-policy lexicon and resulted in the handing over of the EU’S first colonies to the control of Brussels/Berlin!
In the process, Germany willingly joined the battle by sending a belligerent force via the Luftwaffe to join nato bombing raids over the Balkan Peninsula in 1999. Ten years later, with the Bundeswehr now deployed in 13 countries, the German defense minister announces at Davos, to plaudits from the West, that the Deutschlanders are once again aggressively cranking up their industry to produce weapons and machinery of war! And this time it’s with the encouragement of the Anglo-Saxons, who, less than a century ago, fought a war, initiated by Germany, to determine, in the words of the Allied leaders, that the German military would never, ever again pose a threat to global freedom!
At the Davos breakfast meeting of senior German industrialists and ministers of government, Baron Guttenberg highlighted the necessity to mesh together Germany’s economic and defense policies. He was supported in this by Germany’s Economics Minister Rainer Bruderle, who now holds the portfolio that was Guttenberg’s prior to his elevation to the Defense Ministry.
The move by Germany to strengthen its defense industry is being backed by Washington, which has long been pushing Germany to take more responsibility for global security and defense.
Foreign policy hardly figured in President Obama’s recent state of the nation speech. By contrast, Germany—especially via the current high-profile actions of the nation’s Defense Minister Guttenberg—is giving the development of a more aggressive (some would say imperialistic) foreign policy high priority, especially in regard to strengthening the role of the German military in expeditionary roles in foreign theaters.
For the past 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down, the Trumpet has been watching for, and predicting, these very events.
Now they are rapidly becoming a reality.
But the German elites are faced with one small problem. It relates to the postwar conditioning of the German public’s mind to non-aggression. The main witness to this public mindset is the extreme unpopularity of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter being a theater where Germany provides the third-largest contingent of troops in the nato/isaf force. But the German political elites are taking this all in their stride.
Startlingly, Rainer Bruderle added to the announcement of stepped-up German militarization by giving more than a hint that propaganda would prevail to ensure that the mind of the German public would be conditioned to support this latest aggressive policy change by Berlin. Dow Jones reported Bruderle as asserting, in words just too reminiscent of the 1930s: “Germans are still a little bit shy in this domain, but we’ll work to change this too!”
The best commentators on German character are intelligent Germans themselves. Too few have taken note of their warnings of certain innate tendencies in the German national character. In his well-researched thesis on the German character, Gerhard O. Marx writes, “Will Germans again arise to illusionary heights of grandeur? Not as long as one thing is lacking: a strong, authoritarian leader. Once he appears, the characteristics Germans have always possessed will again be obvious to all” (A Two Thousand Year Analysis of the German Character). In the wake of a certain high-profile breakfast meeting in Davos last week, perhaps we should ask: Is that strong, authoritarian leader on the rise today?
Fifty years ago, T.H. Tetens, a Berliner, warned that if Anglo-Saxon appeasement stood in the way of quenching the spirit of national socialism in Germany, we would rue the day. He warned, “[W]e should pause to consider whether we have correctly evaluated the potential of our [German] ally and whether our foreign policy in regard to the German Federal Republic is pointed in the right direction. … [I]t seems clear that if we ignore the facts, if we continue to rely on a policy that is misled by a facade, then our deeds today will haunt our children tomorrow” (The New Germany and the Old Nazis, emphasis mine).
The first foreign-policy initiative of the newly united Federal Republic of Germany was to trigger war in the Balkan Peninsula by unilaterally recognizing the old Nazi puppet state of Croatia and the state of Slovenia as sovereign nation-states separate and distinct from federal Yugoslavia. The result was war in the Balkans. A war that, in ignorance of the facts, was supported by the continuance of that same questionable Anglo-Saxon foreign policy relating to Germany that Tetens referred to as “misled by a facade.”
Today, under a continuance of appeasing 20th-century governments in Washington and London, misled by a facade of democracy that masks the true intentions of German elites, we endorse the revving up of the German military machine. The consequences are destined to, in Tetens’s words, “haunt our children tomorrow.”