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Tom Ricks Mistrusts Germany

Today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day. 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany on June 6, 1944. Steven Spielberg captured this heroic and scary moment very well in Saving Private Ryan.

Today most US experts -- with the notable exception of Tom Ricks -- do not worry about a war with Germany or a return of militarism and Nazi ideology in Berlin. Instead they are concerned that Germany (and many other European countries) demilitarize so much that we are not of use to the US anymore. Wait for the press coverage of Merkel's trip to the US later this week or read Secretary Gates' speech from last year:

The demilitarization of Europe - where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it - has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st.

Tom Ricks, however, has a totally different view of Germany. Mr. Ricks worries about "Germany's resurgence", which apparently will bring back Adolf Hitler. Or why else did he chose this picture of a Nazi rally in Nuremberg (?) for his blog post on Foreign Policy?

Following are few more strange, offensive, and/or stupid remarks from this senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who is also a contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine and a special (!) military correspondent at the Washington Post, who was part of the teams that won two Pulitzer Prizes:

Robert Kaplan also said the biggest unreported story of the last two years is the re-emergence of an influential Germany. "The capital of Europe moved from Brussels to Berlin." Germany has been unleashed by the Euro, he said,

1. The above link goes to a six year old article that describes a 2000 year old battle, in which Germanic tribes defeated some Romans. WTF? How is that related to the "re-emergence of an influential Germany" in the last two years?

2. Is Germany a dog that Uncle Sam has to put on a leash again? Ah, never mind, it's just an expression.

The article continues:

I also think that the rise of Germany may make NATO relevant again. Remember the old line from the 1950s, that "the purpose of NATO was to keep the Soviets out, the Americans in, and the Germans down"? Well, if Germany is beginning to throw around its weight, NATO may be the way to control that a bit. Keep in mind that the history of Europe since the Romans has been basically, What to do about Germany? 

3. Ah, the evil Germany will make NATO relevant again. Oh, boy. Whatever. Every other military expert in America seems to complain about Germany's "pacifism", ever decreasing defense budgets, the slow speed of military reform, and the many national caveats at international missions.

4. I am speechless though, how he can reduce 2000 years of European history, including all the cultural accomplishments, to problems with Germany. Never mind, that Germany is a pretty young country.

5. Tom Ricks is obsessed with the battle in the Teutoburg Forest 2000 years ago. He refers to it, when challenged in the comments section about European history. He also brought it up in his last but one blog post about Germany, which has the headline "Our German problem" and again features a black-and-white photo of Nazi Germany although the topic was Merkel's statement on multiculturalism having "failed". He really seems to be concerned about Nazis coming back to power.

I remember someone once telling me that the history of Europe is essentially 2,000 years of "the German problem," with its tribes constantly getting frisky and invading westward, southward and, eventually, eastward.

6. He ends with the nice words: "Alas, it is too late to implement the Morgenthau plan."

Why is Foreign Policy paying for such stupid blogposts?

It seems that Tom Ricks is of the opinion that Germany (or the German people, culture etc) have not substantially changed since 1945 and is still a threat. In fact, he does not seem to see any changes since that battle of the Germanic tribes against the Romans 2000 years ago. Is he paranoid, does he hate Germany or did he read to many books about battles 2000 years ago?

There are still quite a few Germans, who use our violent history and crimes against humanity as an excuse for the lack of burden sharing in NATO missions. Tom Ricks' blog posts support their claim that our allies still don't really trust us and that we should therefore not support their military missions...

Endnote: Yoni Appelbaum writes in a sort-of related article about "Confederates on the Rhine" for The Atlantic (HT: David): "Why are so many Germans participating in Civil War reenactments-and siding with the South?"

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