Our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions on complex topics.
The German military is back
Hey everyone, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Colorado — a short one today, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not really, really, really important. The news is that the Germans are making a permanent military deployment to Lithuania. This is not part of a UN mission, this is not a rotating program. This is roughly 5000 troops that are being deployed to Lithuania as part of their NATO commitments on a permanent basis.
Why is this important? Well, you’ve all heard of World War Two, the world has gone out of its way the last 75 years to make sure that the Germans do not have a deployment capable military. They’ve been enmeshed within the NATO system in the United States has largely underwritten German physical security, and the Germans had been security consumers.
Now, this has been a financial drain on the United States and some of the other allies and some people from time to time bitch about that. But the advantage of having Germany without a functional military, I cannot underline enough why that is important. Germany’s borders are broadly indefensible, and it is surrounded by a series of countries that while they may be allies now, historically have never been.
So we’re in this one beneficial moment in time, where the United States has forcibly rewritten the rules of European security. And that has helped keep Europe united and at peace now for 75 years, especially in the post Cold War era. But underlining that is that the Germans have agreed to never have an opinion on security matters. That now seems to be going by the wayside, and the Germans are finally developing capabilities.
Now, 5000 troops in Lithuania is not the end of the world. But it does mean the rehabilitation of Germany as a more “normal country” that has military tactics and strategies as part of the toolkit, just like any other country. And because of that, the Germans will start having opinions on security issues. Now, in the short term, this is a broadly good thing for the European Alliance, because the most of the concerns are around Russia and Ukraine, and everyone’s more or less on the same page there. But the Russians starting to pick up guns and do things with guns that other countries do, this reminds me of the last seven major wars that the Germans were in,
There was a period of disarmament if they lost, and then it ended, and the Germans started using military tactics again. And stuff got real really, really fast. So are the Germans our enemies? No, not today. Will the Germans start to see the world a little bit differently? Oh, yeah. And has that ever ended well? Oh, no.
The two biggest losers from this sort of transformation: the first one’s Poland. Poland is in the process of a massive rearmament program to make sure that it would never fall to Germany or to Russia again. And part of that is predicated on the idea that the Germans don’t shoot. So all of a sudden, they’re going to actually have to pay a little bit more attention to the western border, even though the German deployment in Lithuania cannot function without hand in glove cooperation with the Polish government. This is something that no matter who you are in Poland, what’s the part of the political spectrum you’re in, you’re going to be a little nervous about this, because you know, your history. But the far bigger loser here is Russia.
The Soviet system and the post Soviet Russian system had benefited from something very clear. The Americans had been in charge of regional security, so you never had to worry about Sweden or Finland, or Germany or France basically going off on their own. As long as you could have a working relationship with Washington, the rest of it would be kept under control by Washington. That’s no longer the case. With the Ukraine War, even though it’s brought the Alliance closer together, it’s forced a lot of the regional powers to take some certain amount of matters into their own hands. And while NATO is certainly all reading from the same book, when it comes to countering the Russians, no one’s on the same page. And everyone’s taking their own independent actions in order to counter Russian influence. For the most part, this is all going in the same direction, but I don’t know if I exactly call it coordinated. And for Germany — the largest economy in Europe — to start to develop the tools that allow it to do things, that’s ultimately Russia’s worst nightmare, because the country that has always given it the biggest run for its money in the modern era, is Germany. And now they’ve got tanks again.
North Dakota is a vital hub for agriculture and rail
Historically, human societies have relied upon waterways for trading agricultural goods. Since the dawn of the railroad era and modern transportation, however, that behavior has shifted. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan argues that North Dakota boasts “the world’s deepest rail connection system” to ship out freight and agricultural goods entirely without waterway transportation. One…
Germany, Brexit and South Africa in geopolitics today
The United Kingdom is still struggling to cope with Brexit, Germany faces a demographic crisis, and South Africa has the potential to become so much more than it is today. And no, China is not behind the Israel-Hamas war. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan addresses viewer-submitted questions about geopolitics in today’s world, responding to…
Should we worry about Chinese land purchases in US?
Some U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about increasing ownership of American land by Chinese entities, often attributing it to the Chinese government’s attempt to control food supply and surveil U.S. infrastructure. China ranks 18th on the list of foreign landowners in the U.S., trailing Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and the U.K. So how worried should…
Sweden finally within sight of joining NATO
Sweden has been trying to join NATO for almost two years now, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Turkey and Hungary had been stalling that process, preventing Sweden from joining the Western military alliance. But recent public signals of approval from both Turkey and Hungary suggest a positive shift, indicating that the…
Will Europe go nuclear if US quits NATO?
The NATO alliance secured almost a century of peace on the European continent, with the exception of smaller conflicts and minor wars, until Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022. This was one of the longest stretches of continuous peace in recorded European history. Yet American isolationist instincts are resurfacing, just as they did before World…
We know it is important to hear from a diverse range of observers on the complex topics we face and believe our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions.
The commentaries published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
- What in the World
- America Speaks
In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. We hope these different voices will help you reach your own conclusions.
The opinions published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
Other AEI Contributors