Letter From Germany: Fat and Impotent

In modern Germany, where even discussion of political ideology is a matter which has to be treated with extreme circumspection, political debate centers on the safer area of financial management, and in recent years the main purpose of financial management in Germany has been to ensure a smooth path toward full European unification. Since the currency reform of 1948 and the Marshall Plan, the citizens of the German Federal Republic have been bribed with the carrot of constantly increasing living standards in return for their political acquiescence to the Western world order, a formula summed up in Churchill's unforgettable postwar wish that the Germans stay "fat and impotent." The German Federal Republic became the milk cow of numerous costly projects, including the establishment of the state of Israel, financial assistance to the East, the financing of the Gulf War, and, not least, the Common Market; Germany pays 80 percent of the European Union's budget.

Germany's lack of political clout has been tolerated by her citizens because of a standard of living which until recently was the envy of her neighbors. The citizens of the "strawberry Reich," as Ulrike Meinhof called the Federal Republic of Germany, accept the loss of national pride and sovereignty because they see that the international order ensures them security and wealth. The fate of Carthage and the outcome of the Third Punic War is deeply...

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