Germany’s pivot from America

Over the past decade, the idea that Germany could no longer fully rely on the U.S. for security amid America’s “pivot” to Asia became accepted wisdom among German leaders.  

The unfolding crisis in Ukraine reveals that reality cuts both ways.  

Germany’s allies hoped Olaf Scholz’s coalition, which includes the Russia-critical Greens, would back away from the accommodative policies toward Moscow that marked the Angela Merkel era. Recent days have shown such optimism to be misplaced.

As Washington has tried to present a united Western front against Russian intimidation in recent weeks, Germany has been a conspicuous outlier. Under the influence of a potent cocktail of energy and commercial interests, and a political culture laced with good old-fashioned anti-Americanism, Germany has strayed from the Western fold.

To outward appearances, Berlin is far from AWOL on Ukraine. …

And instead of locking arms with the U.S. and other transatlantic allies to help Ukraine prepare for an attack, Germany has sought to placate Russia by taking some of the West’s most powerful deterrents off the table.

As the crisis has intensified, German officials and politicians have strenuously opposed using the threat of suspending Russia from SWIFT, the Belgium-based international payments system, a step that would make it extremely difficult for Russian entities to engage in international commerce. …

On a shelf dedicated to American issues at downtown Berlin’s largest bookstore, the following titles were recently on prominent display:

“Crazed, The American Catastrophe;”
“America’s Holy Warriors;”
“What the U.S. has Perpetrated Since 1945;” and
“America on Fire.”

The first two are bestsellers that typify Germany’s growing distrust of all things American. In this growing genre, the U.S., which rehabilitated Germany after World War II and has guaranteed its security ever since, is not a model but a cautionary tale.