Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The German and French Problems

Two pieces in the Washington Post today address apparently unrelated but significant issues for the future of both Germany and France.

The first comes from Anne Applebaum who points out that the big problem in Europe may not be the French, who are more or less behaving as usual in terms of Iraq, but the Germans. She warns that Schroeder’s Germany is quite a different beast from the West German Republic we’ve all come to know. Germany is reasserting itself in Europe and this could have some dangerous implications for the future.

The second piece, written by David Ignatius, gives the background to France’s recent disastrous intervention in the Ivory Coast.

In many ways, both columns point to key elements in the history of these nations, and both are worrisome because a resentful Germany seeking to assert itself in Europe has never produced much good. Similarly, a France bogged down in foreign interventions gone awry often begins to act highly irresponsibly both in its domestic affairs and in its relations with its European neighbors.

There are unsettling but familiar omens in Europe, and who knows, before long the US might find itself intervening once more on the old continent to prevent another disaster.

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