25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall – is the world better or worse off with the united Germany?

When Germany’s neighbors – France, UK, Italy, Poland, and the Baltic states – faced the prospect of a unified Germany in 1990, many reservations could be registered. Experiences with a “big Germany” were only 45 years in the past. Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterand, and others were very open in their rejection of a unified Germany. Scientists like John Mearsheimer predicted a nuclearization of a unified Germany. Nothing of this sort materialized. But – Germany is not just a, but the core member of the Eurozone and the EU. Germany has a place at the Iran negotiations, and is also active in the Near and Middle East diplomacies. Also, it has its
troops deployed to keep peace or stability in plenty of global crises. There is no Western politician so much in demand in both Ukraine and Russia. On balance – how do we see Germany’s global role today?

  1. Shen Dingli 2 days ago

    A quarter century since Germany has been reunified, it has risen to be a world power. With the peaceful unification of the two Germanys, both sides have been integrated, more or less, institutionally and psychologically. With the former East German Angela Merkel as the Chancellor of the united Germany now, the intra-German relations are by far the best vis-à-vis current intra-Vietnam and inter-Korea relations.
    Regionally and globally, Germany has played a rather positive role since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Germany, along with the P5, is negotiating with Iran to mitigate the latter’s nuclear problem. It has joined international forces in Afghanistan, combating Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. However, when evidence and UNSC mandates were lacking, it refused the US war on Iraq. In 2011, Chancellor Merkel decided to shoulder more NATO costs in Afghanistan, but to avoid direct military involvement in Libya, contrasting Germany with Britain and France.
    Germany’s role in Europe and the world will continue to rise. Margaret Thatcher and Francois Mitterand were right to oppose the rise of a more powerful and influential competitor, but were relieved to find that the united Germany was not tempted by nuclear weaponry. Over years, France has shared more with Germany to defend the Eurozone and the EU, while Britain has more marginalized itself. Though it still has quite a distance, Germany is still more likely to benefit from a UNSC reform, than Japan, India and Brazil.

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  2. Hildegard Müller 2 days ago

    The fall of the Berlin Wall is one of the world’s most powerful political symbols for the pursuit of a people for freedom and democracy. That is why it is so important to remember this historical event that continues to resonate today, in a special way.
    We must not forget that overcoming the inner-German division did mark the beginning of the development and modernization of an entire country. Up to today, we should be proud of this achievement.

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  3. Jochen Wermuth 2 days ago

    Given the catastrophes of global scale which had originated from a united Germany, the global concern over unification was fully understandable. However, a Germany which has faced its history means that the world has gained a uniquely valuable global player with a particularly well developed conscience and sensitivity to failing to act when needed.
    The holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin, the Stolpersteine, the Wall Memorial, documentaries on WWI and WWII all make for a population at large, as well as an elite, highly conscious about the past.
    In the past, German children asked their grandparents why they could not stop the holocaust – they knew what was going on and they took no action. The reply: “We did not know, we could not have known and we could not have done anything against a dictator without risking our livelihood or our lives,” was quickly countered by the fact that the German population did find out about the Nazi’s Euthanasia program, whereby elderly and handicapped Germans were being taken away and killed, and were able to stop it.
    With this history, Germany is a country full of people who look at questions such as efforts needed to abate climate change through a particular lens: we know what needs to be done to stop climate change. We know that it threatens to kill the 2 billion socially weakest who had nothing to do with creating climate change and could wipe out all of humanity. That is: we know what is going on and we know what needs to be done. We also know that unlike in the Third Reich, all that is at risk is a bit of economic welfare and comfort now while the threat is that of no future for humanity and many other species if we do not act. So a united Germany, with children who have seen their grandchildren embarrassed, may well be the source of something good for the world this time around given the intensive focus on its history. Germany has already reached 25% renewable power supply on average over the full calendar year, and at peak times in the summer already 75% of power comes from renewable sources.
    Germany can reach 100% renewable power by 2020 and a full “Energiewende” in a profitable fashion, thereby setting a global example which could help save the planet as we know it. The 100% renewable power target (not 100% renewable energy – that would require a transport and heating switch as well) is possible with an investment of Euro 30bn, see the book by Matthias Willenbacher “My indecent proposal to the chancellor.”
    With regard to the Wall, all must be avoided to simply shift it east. A united Europe from Teneriffe to Kamshatka, including Russia and Ukraine would be a strong and positive force in the world. Germany could well remind the EU of its plan to implement four common spaces with Russia, including free movement of people, goods, common laws, security and educational standards and, given the relationship of trust between the nations, avoid a new cold war.
    The united Germany may thus play a positive global role – but it must also realize the great responsibility it has in both areas – climate change and relations with Russia for global affairs.

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3 Comments

  1. Carsten 2 days ago

    Although Germany has played a rather positive role on many occasions after its reunification, we still have to regard and analyse it as a “middle power” with specific economic and power interests. Therefore, Germany is not always an “honest broker” or interested in “peace” and “stability”. It has had no problem in supporting brutal dictatorships (Egypt under Mubarak, Indonesia under Suharto, Saudi-Arabia up to the present) as long as it serves its economic interests and also has no problem with imposing harsh austerity programs in the European south in order to save German investors.

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  2. Gudrun 1 day ago

    According to a BBC Poll Germany is The Most popular Country in The World. So of course u can criticize specific policies but, Overall, its foreign policy can’t be too Bad.

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  3. missbjelica 1 day ago

    With a high level of technological innovation, social welfare and financial prosperity, to name a few examples, Germany has done fairly well since the fall of the wall. What I find particularly admirable is how citizens of Berlin have preserved a strong liberal-minded collective consciousness, perhaps as a result of their mutual combat in 1989. The re-unification of Germany, in the midst of an era when states in Europe were breaking up, should be cherished as a symbol of freedom.

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