Virtuous Germany,

Germany’s political elite has subordinated itself to US geopolitical strategy. Why and how explains Wolfgang Streeck in this interview.

Wolfgang Streeck is the Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany.

1. In your articles you write about the “post-Zeitenwende Germany”, referring to the content of Chancellor Scholz’s speech in the Bundestag on the eve of the war in Ukraine. Can you explain what this “turning point” means for German foreign and defence policies in the years to come and also for Europe, and how is this linked to the increasing Americanisation of German politics, ideology and culture? (A telling quote of yours says: “Seen this way, the fact that the special €100 billion defence budget announced by the German government three days into the war will have its first effects on the ground only in five years’ time does not mean that it is wasted; it only means that it has nothing to do with the Ukrainian war as such”.)

Streeck: Political slogans are manufactured so as to be open to different interpretations. What is clear is that Scholz’s Zeitenwende entails a promise, above all to the United States, that Germany will from now on, unlike in the past, act in line with a view of the world as divided between “the West“ and an evil empire, or better: several evil empires, from Russia to China to Iran, the list waiting to be expanded. (There are also various in-between empires, like India or Brazil, which we will have to get to take our side.) Between us, the virtuous empire under American leadership organised in NATO and the various evil empires, peace is possible only temporarily and intermittently, and only as long as we enjoy military superiority. Läs intervjun