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The new German parochialism

Germany's inward turn and the European crisis

In the 1990s, many observers questioned whether Germany, having tackled the challenge of reunification, could become a “normal country” (The Economist). This formulation evoked a Germany willing to pursue its own interests at home and abroad, no longer forced to bury them in multilateral garb or to accompany each assertion with a qualifier about the consistency of its interests with those of Europe and the wider world. By Mark Vail


With some exceptions, most held that the new, post-reunification Germany would behave much like the old, “remain[ing] committed to multilateralism” and, when forced to choose, making its interests subordinate to the trans-Atlantic and European structures to which it owed its post-World-War-II rehabilitation and its successful return to the community of nations. Germany’s reactions to the post-2007 economic crisis, and particularly to the so-called European “sovereign debt crisis,” show that these predictions missed the mark, but not in the ways that some in the 1990s had feared...

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Find in this article:

False predictions
The emergance of a different Germany...
... against the background of crisis
Discouraging evidence

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