Germany is like that rabbit pretending to be dead so that the snake does not notice it. But sooner or later, the rabbit ends up batting an eyelid, and the snake attacks it.
This is how Germany is now fighting its “war on terror.” Like that rabbit. Pretending to be dead. That is why, last summer, when Germany experienced the first terror attacks on its own soil, Christian Bommarius of the Frankfurter Rundschau wrote that “the likelihood of losing life on the roads is higher than the likelihood to be the target of a bomb.” You can understand the sickness of a country by the reaction of its élites in the times of national crises.
A few days ago, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel found a new enemy in U.S. President Donald Trump, whom she found “guilty” of asking the Germans and the U.S.’ other European allies to invest more resources in their own defense. How can we explain the German fury at their sole protector since the Second World War? Germans hate Donald Trump and the U.S. more than Caliph Al Baghdadi and the Islamic State.
The German news magazine Der Spiegel last February ran an illustration in which Trump wielded a bloody knife with which he had beheaded the Statue of Liberty. It was reminiscent of another German cover, that of the magazine Stern, in which George W. Bush wielded the Statue of Liberty, which set fire to the whole world. U.S. Presidents come and go, German anti-Americanism stays here.
After the 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the leading German daily newspaper, wrote about the “historically unique civilizational richness of the European Union, which was sky-high superior to the strange pathos for freedom and liberation of the American government and its fundamentalist prayers.” The German theater guru Peter Zadek said that Americans were comparable to the Nazis. It is a mixture of narcissism and moral sanctimony.
Many polls show that Germans are much more interested in deepening their country’s ties with dictatorial China than with the democratic U.S. Gerhard Schröder, Merkel’s predecessor in the chancellery, linked his refusal to send German troops to Iraq with the messianic promise of Germany’s “emancipation” from America.
As Tobias Jaecker, author of a book on the new German anti-Americanism, said to the Wall Street Journal: “Anti-Americanism today is a cheap means to a new German nationalism with a good conscience.” Hatred for the U.S. and Trump also helps Germans ignore the two most significant threats to German security: demographic decline and pacifism. And the two are well-connected.
The German army is now just 20% of what it was in 1990. If the U.S. defense budget was $597.5 billion, Germany’s is $36.7 billion, one-twentieth the size of America’s. German army has shrunk to 176,752 military personnel, a seventh of the 1.3 million of the United States. According with the magazine Der Spiegel, “Germany is experiencing a relapse into pacifism.”
Meanwhile, Germany overtook Japan by having the world’s lowest birth rate. Germany today also houses Europe’s largest Muslim community. The two phenomena are related, since for Mrs. Merkel Western civilization doesn’t exist: she just had to let migrants coming in to replace the old indolent and sterile Germans. Now the German fertility rate is surging again, thanks to Islam. An official of the Italian navy working at NATO told me a few days ago: “The Germans could invest much more in security, in tanks and weapons, but they could not find young men to work in the army.” Germany is becoming a hospice.
Meanwhile, German churches are closing at weekly rhythm, the German government approved a criminal inquiry into a brave comic who mocked the Turkish president, the “night of Cologne” with its mass sexual attacks on women has been justified by German multiculturalist feminists, and the scapeagoating of Israeli Jews has become official German policy (Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, met in Tel Aviv with the radical anti-Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, financed also by Berlin).
Germany’s new religion is hedonism. But it is a particular form of hedonism, concealing what Hans Ulrich Klose called “the post-heroic society.” That is the source of the German fascination with the Untergang, the defeat. That is also the secret source of the new German anti-Americanism and hatred for Trump: we are in the time of twilight, so we just have to work to our own pleasant downfall. A typical Weimar moment. The cabaret before the Nazis took power.
Giulio Meotti, cultural editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author. He is the author of three books: A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism (Encounter Books); J’Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel (Mantua Books), and La fine dell’Europa, about the Christian and demographic decline in Europe. He is a columnist at Arutz Sheva and his writings have appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, FrontPage, Commentary, and The Geller Report.
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