Giles Merritt says Germans have become the EU’s foremost movers and shakers, and occupy its political institutions’ top posts.
My take: Being a great power is a huge responsibility, a burden, but also a privilege. Some nations carry it lightly and gracefully, as if they were born for it – ancient Rome, France and Britain come to mind, just off the top of my head. Some carry it disgracefully and with brutality, like czarist Russia, then the Soviet Union and now the mini-Russia wannabe. The USA saw it, until recently, as its destiny, but it’s more ambivalent about it now. Modern Germany doesn’t seem to want to lead, probably because of its recent past. Compelled as it is by its size and wealth, it leads reluctantly and apologetically, more from behind than from the front.