With the world looking to Berlin to save the euro, Germans may be reevaluating their decades of nearly constant criticism of the way the United States wields its influence. Die Welt columnist Clemens Wergin warns his readers not to expect gratitude from Europeans for saving the common currency, and lays bare the irony of Europe’s growing need for German help – and its fear of German power.
For Germany’s Die Zeit, Clemens Wergin begins his exposition of how Germans have learned what it means to be a global power while carrying the baggage of Nazi Germany this way:
What befell the United States after war with the Germans could happen to us after the euro crisis among our neighbors: ingratitude for rescuing them.
Germany is in the process of being turned into a scapegoat for the euro crisis. No matter what Germans do, they can’t seem to please anyone. For years, the message that Germans should hurry up and show more leadership in the euro crisis reverberated in op-ed pieces at home and abroad. Now Angela Merkel has finally taken up a more defined leadership role, and once again, it isn’t good enough.
In Britain, some commentators are already babbling on about the “Fourth Reich” Berlin is supposedly building in Europe. Read: The euro crisis will enable the Germans to achieve what they weren’t able to achieve in two world wars – European dominance.
And now, because those silly Germans continue to cling to a few principles on issues like monetary stability, anti-German sentiment is spreading in France as well. If the situation weren’t so dire, one could laugh about this irony of history.
Because Germans, who especially over the last ten years have carefully nurtured their anti-Americanism, must now realize what it means to be a large and important power.
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