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“The rebuff from Berlin may have been rough, but at least it marked a new age of clarity. Not only did the German government decline a recent American request to send ground troops to Syria to fight the remnants of ISIS, but it didn’t even consider the idea: There was no debate in the Bundestag, and not even a real one in the press.
This year, Germany’s postwar federal republic turns 70. Born from the moral and physical rubble of World War II, and reunited only 30 years ago, some of its national character traits are still being formed. Others have fully matured — including a deep and abiding anti-militarism.
Germany didn’t start out on this path alone. In 1945, having crushed the Nazi regime, the Western allies granted West Germany its own army, but only as a deterrent against the Soviet Union. It was fully integrated into NATO, with no general staff of its own. Instead, Bonn paid upkeep for the American troops stationed in West Germany. From the start, responsibility for national security was outsourced to others.
At the same time, Germans began to come to grips with the moral horror of the Nazi era. One conclusion from that reckoning was a deep aversion to military strength — for many Germans, particularly in the generation born immediately after the war, their unshakable guilt meant they could never be trusted with the power to make war.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"There is a famous line, variations of which have been used since the 20th century, that has been attributed (without evidence) to Vladimir Lenin. The first version of the mysterious quote goes like this: "When it comes time to hang the..."
"One enduring thing of value that ought to come out of the Trump administration — ought, but apparently won’t — would be to finally drive a stake into the heart of these deathless twin superstitions: that the skills and talents that enable..."
"There is no agreed criterion to distinguish science from pseudoscience, or just plain ordinary bullshit, opening the door to all manner of metaphysics masquerading as science. This is ‘post-empirical’ science, where truth no longer matters, and..."
"That morning, the door of the testing room was propped open, allowing for sunlight and a line of students and parents to snake inside from out on the sidewalk. We were waiting for the results of the math placement test that would let us know how..."
"It’s the end of millennials as we know them. No, not the 73 million younger adults born between 1981 and 1996; they’re fine. But the death knell is tolling for the way we tend to overuse, and misuse, the literal term millennials. The latest peal..."
"Of all the terms to gain prominence in 2019, few have provoked more pontification, more pearl-clutching, or more caustic dismissal than “cancel culture.” Depending on where you get your discourse, you’ve probably already seen the phenomenon..."
"In a bizarre quirk of fate, Russia is trying to trade Israeli Na’ama Issachar, just sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for possessing cannabis, for Alexei Burkov, arrested by Israel for perpetrating cyber fraud in the US. Welcome to..."
"Democrats tackled several issues on the debate stage Tuesday night that had previously gone untouched. One of those was automation — the idea that robots and technology will replace workers and destroy jobs. It prompted a confusing discussion..."