This was quite interesting…
[quote]Sixty years after the end of World War II, the world remains understandably alert to any manifestation of neo-Nazism in Germany, however negligible and marginal. Likewise understandably, the world is quick to sense and disapprove of (what is more common) German insensitivity or indifference or forgetfulness of the crimes of the past.
But it is also true that in Germany, insensitivity, indifference, and forgetfulness are not the norm. Quite the opposite: The German memory is acute, and (perhaps paradoxically) becoming more acute all the time.
So can we say - as Daniel Johnson says in the The New Criterion - that the world also has something to lose from a Germany that becomes too abashed, too ashamed, too unable to speak up for its own liberal democratic identity? Can we say that there is something abnormal and even dangerous in the extreme self-abnegation of German nationhood that continues even now, all these years later?
But people want to be proud of something. If you tell a large and mighty nation that it can never be proud of itself, the natural egotism of human beings will seek some other outlet, less wholesome than normal patriotism. Many in Germany support the unification of Europe much less as a rational response to real needs, and much more because they yearn to feel for “Europe” the loyalty and pride they cannot allow themselves to feel for their own country and their own culture. The terrible irony is that this united Europe is emerging as a much greater threat to the Atlantic Alliance and to European democracy than the Federal Republic of Germany would ever be.
Nor is it fanciful, I think, to see much of the rising tide of German anti-Americanism - expressed most notoriously in the German enthusiasm for the crackpot works of Michael Moore - as an indirect, perverted expression of nationalism. The psychology seems to be that if Germans cannot allow themselves to feel pride in Germany, they can at least demand that Americans feel ashamed of the United States.
It’s unfortunately true that Germany is burdened now with the most irresponsible and provocative chancellor since Willy Brandt. Gerhard Schroeder has exploited ill feelings in Germany for crude personal advantage: with almost 5 million Germans out of work, there’s a lot of anger buzzing around the country, and redirecting those emotions against the United States and George Bush is one way and probably the only way for Schroeder to hold onto office.
Irritating as Schroeder is, though, today would be a good day to remember how important a force for good in the world democratic Germany has been this past half century. And even under Schroeder, Germany is today the second-biggest contributor of troops to the stabilization force in Afghanistan. Germay is also quietly training high-level Iraqi counter-terrorist officers at bases in the United Arab Emirates and in Germany itself.
For half a century, the Western world has found freedom, security and prosperity in an alliance between the United States and a Europe of sovereign states. Today that Europe is dissolving itself into a new kind of union - and as a result, the American-European partnership is daily becoming weaker, more difficult, more embittered. It’s not too late for Americans to recall to mind their national stake in European national independence, including German independence - and to recall too that national independence is sustained by national pride, including German national pride.[/quote]