德国终于要承担起自己的责任了——Growing up at last

Thirty years after reunification, Germany is starting to shoulder its responsibilities. It has a lot more to do.


Margaret thatcher feared and openly opposed the reunification of East and West Gerany . Francois Mitterrand was said to have shared her worries, though he accepted it was inevitable. Giulio Andreotti repeated a popular quip: that he loved Germany so much, he “preferred it when there were two of them”. Yet despite the reservations of the British, French and Italian leaders in 1990, a new country came into being 30 years ago on October 3rd. With 80m people, it was immediately the most populous country and mightiest economy in a Europe that until then had had four roughly equal principals. Ever since, statesmen and scholars have grappled with the problem of how to deal with the reluctant hegemon at the heart of Europe. How should Germany lead without dominating? Indeed, after the enormities of Nazism, can it be trusted to lead at all?

Margaret thatcher(人名)担心并公开反对东西德的统一。据说 Francois Mitterrand 也和她一样担心,但他承认这是不可避免的。Giulio Andreotti 嘟囔了一句流行语:他很喜欢德国,但更喜欢有两个德国时候的德国。尽管,在1990年时候,英国、法国、意大利的领导人都有所保留,一个新的国家还是在30年轻的十月三号诞生了。这个拥有8000万人口的国家,立即成为了欧洲人口最多、经济实力最强的国家,而在此之前,欧洲有四个几乎实力相近的国家。从那以后,欧洲的政治家和学者们一直在研究如何解决这个地处欧洲中心不情愿霸主的问题。德国如何在不占主导地位的前提下发挥引导作用?并且,在纳粹犯下滔天罪行之后,它的领导还值得相信吗?

Thirty years on, German reunification has been a resounding success. East Germans were freed from the dull yoke of communism. With just three chancellors in three decades, the new, liberated Germany has been steady and pragmatic. It has championed the expansion of the European Union to the east and the creation of the euro. It has powered solid if unspectacular growth across a continent—at least until covid-19. Europe survived the economic crisis of 2007-08, the euro panic of 2010-12 and the migration surge of 2015-16. Germany has thrown its weight around less than sceptics feared, though indebted southern Europeans are still sore about crisis-era austerity.


Under its next chancellors, Germany needs more ambition.The need is most acute when it comes to security. Military spending is rising in Germany, but remains far below the 2% of gdp that nato members are supposed to contribute. Even within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats this is a touchy issue; it is even more so for her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, and for the Greens, who may help form the ruling coalition after next year’s election. More important, Germany has been too cautious in its policy towards Russia and China, tending to put commercial interests ahead of geopolitical ones. The construction of Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, is a case in point. It undermines the interests of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, but until now Mrs Merkel has refused to cancel it. Nor has she listened much to those in her own party who warn that it is too risky to allow Huawei, a Chinese firm, to supply Germany with 5g telecoms equipment.

在下一届总理的领导下,德国需要更大的野心。当涉及到安全问题的时候,这种需求更为迫切。军费的开支在德国一直在上升,但仍任低于GDP的2% ,这远低于成员国要求贡献的比例。即使在总理Angela Merkel 领导的Christian Democrats 内部,这也是一个敏感的问题。对于她的合作伙伴、其它党派来说,更是如此,他们可能会在明年的选举后帮助组建执政联盟。更重要的是,德国对俄和对华的政策上过于谨慎,倾向于将商业利益放在地缘政治上考虑。连接俄罗斯和德国的天然气管道北西2号的建设就是一个很好的例子。它损害了乌克兰、波兰以及波罗的海的利益,但直到目前为止,Merkel 仍拒绝取消该项计划。她也没有听取自己人的太多建议——允许华为位德国提供5G电信设备风险太大。

Still, there are signs of a shift. This week it emerged that Mrs Merkel had gone to visit the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in hospital in Berlin, where he was recovering from being poisoned (by himself, Mr Putin claims). Huawei is to face steeper bureaucratic hurdles in Germany than previously envisaged, and Mrs Merkel is showing doubts, albeit faint, about Nord Stream 2. She increasingly accepts Emmanuel Macron’s argument that America is becoming an uncertain ally, and that Europe will have to do more to help itself no matter who wins November’s presidential election. This does not yet add up to a more assertive Germany leading a more assertive Europe, but it is a shift in the right direction.

尽管如此,仍有转变的迹象。本周有消息称,Merkel 前往柏林的医院看望了俄罗斯反对派领袖Alexei Navalny ,当时他正从中毒(普京称是自己中毒)中恢复过来。华为在德国面临的官僚障碍比之前预想的要大得多,而默克尔已经展示了对北西2号的迟疑,尽管十分微弱。她越来越接受马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)的观点,即美国正在成为一个不确定的盟友,而且无论谁赢得11月的总统大选,欧洲都必须做更多的事情来帮助自己。这并不意味着一个更加自信的德国将领导一个更加自信的欧洲,但正朝着正确方向的转变。

Likewise, Germany needs to do more on the economic front. The pandemic has accomplished what the euro crisis did not, forcing the eu’s richer countries to show more solidarity with the poorer. The agreement over the summer to set up a €750bn ($880bn) recovery fund to be financed by common debt has been a crucial shift that Germany until recently would not have allowed. More than half of the fund will be given as grants rather than adding yet more debt to the highly indebted. The fund may yet be delayed; but it is a sign that Germany is at long last shouldering its responsibilities. More of this will be needed in the next 30 years if Europe’s currency union, and perhaps even the eu itself, are to survive. But the Bundesrepublik is growing up.



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