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The most striking fact about the Germans of today is their desire to preserve the status quo. They are so risk-averse that they react angrily to any demand for change, even from friendly European states such as Britain or Greece. As for the Trump presidency, they fear and loathe it, but any suggestion that Germany might take up a leadership role terrifies them. They embrace the idea of Europe because it enables them to escape from their history, but for the same reason they need the project to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary — even though the realisation of a European superstate would require a revolution. Because the Germans deny themselves nostalgia, they are wary of idealism. The poison cloud of the German past occludes the European future.

Brexit alarms and infuriates Germans because it seems to them a rash gamble by the British, whom they see as fixated by the past and careless of the future. They refuse to see that the British are returning to their historical destiny as an island nation, baling out of the utopian and dangerous experiment to which the Germans, dismissive of history, have committed their continent.

Germany, in short, is a classic example of a status quo power. Germans believe they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by change. This is in stark contrast to the British, most of whom have come to believe that they have more to gain by change. After a long period of defending the status quo, the United Kingdom is thus once more becoming a radical power, a force for change, for freedom of speech and the rule of law, as it was for most of its history. The United States has likewise behaved like a status quo power since the end of the Cold War, but historically it too has been a radical one, urging the world to embrace life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If the West is to defend itself, it will be thanks to the Anglosphere. The English-speaking nations are still the only possible leaders of the free world, because they alone have the ambition to play such an arduous role. The status quo is untenable. Most immediately, the free world is menaced by North Korea’s nuclear blackmail — a menace that only the United States has the means to defeat. Other, more fundamental threats to the democracies (from Russia, China, radical Islam) will oblige Europe to reply to President Trump’s questions in the affirmative — even if through gritted teeth. Otherwise, the future of the West is bleak.

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Anonymous
October 4th, 2017
7:10 PM
Wake up: Germany may be a status-quo power (really? Germans registered more patents U.K. can dream of). But England (and its sourounding island states) are a power of the past. Be sure: everybody on the continent understands that Britain is a radical island. At first we were sad. Then we were sorry. Now we do not care. good luck!

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