Impromptus today is a continuation of my “Baltic Journal”: Part III. I touch on many issues, some of which deserve to be more than touched on. For instance, Germany.
I’ll tell you how it comes up. NATO has decided to send battalions to the Baltic states next year. This is one of the steps that the alliance has taken in response to Vladimir Putin’s Russia: its aggression in Ukraine and its threats to the Baltic states.
So, Germans are going to Lithuania, Canadians are going to Latvia, and Brits are going to Estonia. There will be an American footprint as well, throughout the region. There already is.
Germany’s role in all this is considered a great breakthrough. For decades, the German government has had a great allergy to military spending and military involvement. Also, the Germans have been very eager not to upset Putin.
Here is how Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaite, greeted the news that a German battalion was coming to her country: “A breakthrough is occurring in the German mindset. Time for self-doubt, fear, reluctance to take responsibility, and dread of what Putin might think, is over.”
All the smart people I know say that Germany must step up to greater military responsibility. But Germany’s allergy to things military? I haven’t really minded it, I must say. No offense to anybody. I just haven’t.
You recall that our heroine Margaret Thatcher was opposed to the reunification of Germany. Not just opposed, but bitterly, passionately opposed. One can understand: Her generation appreciated the idea of a sundered Germany.
Time moves on, and our thought must move on with it. But still. You understand what I’m saying, I know.
And we could talk about Japan too. There are many people today who think that Japan ought to be armed with nukes, the better to defend itself against the Chinese and the Norks. But not very long ago, the thought of a militarily formidable Japan was … unappetizing.