After proposing the “Indo-Pacific Policy Guidelines” and realizing the first “2+2” talks with Japan, Germany, which has always been low-key in the field of international security, suddenly appeared in the Asia-Pacific region as a “security actor”. From Trump’s threat of “withdrawing American troops from Germany” to the Biden administration’s recent announcement of “an increase of 500 troops” to Germany. Lived the safety gate of the latter. In the era of great power competition, German diplomacy, led by some political elites, is embarking on a period of fantasy drifting.
Germany is eager to “go forward” to the “Indo-Pacific region” in a diplomatic and security manner, and to develop it in the form of “security cooperation” between Germany and Japan. There are two thoughts behind it: one is to realize the transformation from an economic actor to a “security actor”. The second is to leverage each other’s strength with Japan to achieve “national normalization.”
Due to the history of World War II, Germany has maintained a relatively single economic actor image in international relations for a long time. Both the government and the private sector have been cautious about intervening in external security disputes. They not only took the opportunity to immerse themselves in the development of the economy to achieve a re-emergence, but also won a “thorough introspection.” “History, adhere to pacifism” has a good reputation.
But under the stimulus of the Ukraine crisis, the U.S.’s shift from Europe to the Asia-Pacific, and the intensified competition between China and the U.S., Germany is no longer willing to be a “uncontested” rich man, from economic strength to political influence to diplomatic security shaping power. From the European Union to Africa and then to the “Indo-Pacific”, Germany began its transformation and body shaping process to a “political security actor” after a brief period of hesitation. However, as the location of the United States’ largest military base in Europe and close to Russia, which has a very hard fist, Germany’s security ambitions cannot be brought into play nearby. The “Indo-Pacific” with high winds and turbulent waters has become another piece of sky where it can make a difference. .
Behind this mentality, there is also the intention of Germany to get rid of the fetters of history and realize the normalization of the country, and Japan, which has had similar historical experiences, has become a “good partner” that can make each other perfect. In the statement issued by the German side after the “2+2” talks between Germany and Japan, Japan was called “one of Germany’s oldest and closest partners” and became “the oldest democratic country in East Asia.” Obviously, this argument is to take into account the disgraceful history of the two countries during World War II, or simply eliminate them and then join them together. If Japan can reciprocate the truth and praise Germany in such a way, the two countries will be able to get rid of it. To lose the burden, go lightly, and play the role of the “maintainer of the international order” without any shame. This attempt to untangle each other with Japan can only show that some German political elites “have not eliminated their demons.” The Asia-Pacific countries need to be vigilant against Germany, which has gone to their own door to engage in historical corrections with Japan, and the international community also needs to deal with it. The image of “Liquidating the History of World War II” has been re-examined.
While some political elites want to make a difference in the direction of the Indo-Pacific, Germany is “a chicken feather” on the issue of diplomatic security at its own door:
Despite the apparent enthusiasm with the Biden administration, the United States has not let go of the sanctions on the “North Stream-2” pipeline project, and even has the intention of additional punishment; Trump previously stated that he “intended to withdraw troops from Germany.” It makes Germany less dependent on security, but in fact it gives Germany the reason and space to engage in “strategic autonomy.” The Biden administration’s troop surge measures go the other way, and are to tie Germany more securely. Firmly, while squeezing the space of the “strategic autonomy” while building the platform for the “transatlantic faction” in Germany; facing the tough Russia and Turkey, Germany, which is unable to show its strength head-on with the tense situation in eastern Ukraine and the Eastern Mediterranean, is also Simply pretend to be deaf and dumb. The diplomatic and security performance led by some German politicians is magical.
Proceeding from Germany’s own interests, it is reasonable to fully develop its national strength and realize its normalization, but the key is which way to choose and which way to take. China-Germany economic and trade cooperation is solid and the common interests are huge. As long as Germany does not go far and wide to engage in “rule checks and balances” and “system output”, China and Germany can continue to work together to make the cake bigger, and it can also radiate to other areas such as climate change; As long as the German-Japanese cooperation does not overturn historical cases and does not engage in innuendo, China will also be happy to see the two countries contribute to regional peace, stability and development.
If Germany wants to realize its ideals, what it really should do now is to straighten its waist in the face of the strategic pull of the United States and insist on “strategic autonomy.” Good-neighborly living is to earnestly respect the development rights of other countries and the right to participate in the formulation of rules under the principle of multilateralism. Otherwise, it is difficult to imagine the German-Japanese trade, which has only one-tenth of the Sino-German trade volume, the overlap and the more competitive German-Japanese industrial pattern, how to support the German-Japanese cooperation that sings “common values”? It is hard to imagine that Germany, which is deeply introspecting at home, bowing to its strength but going to the Asia-Pacific to turn over historical accounts, and using rules to talk about things, can win the trust of regional countries; it is even more difficult to imagine Germany, which is still stuck in the door of safety by the United States, how to “from The Indo-Pacific region, which extends from the eastern coast of Africa to the western coast of the Americas, plays a more active role.”
German diplomacy has always been committed to becoming the “anchor of stability” in a turbulent world. This should be based on rational, autonomous, pragmatic, down-to-earth economic development, and consistent historical reflection. If it is repeatedly impulsive, it will become a drifter that exacerbates turmoil. Under the influence of some politicians, Germany’s current impulse and possible drifting in the future have to make people pay attention and worry.