Typically, Mediterranean nations such as Portugal, Spain, and Greece are identified as the weakest links of the European Union. This, of course, is speaking purely economically. In terms of foreign policy commitments and unity, though, Germany is among the weakest European Union nations.
For many years post-World War II, Germany’s military pacifism was a welcome relief from Nazi militarism for European nations and the international community at large. However, since the 1980s and 1990s, roughly marked by the fall of the Soviet Union, the European Union and NATO have expected Germany to take a greater foreign policy role. It is, after all, the economic stronghold of Europe, yet it fails to take any controversial stance on foreign policy issues precisely for the fear of jeopardizing its economic prosperity.
In particular, Germany has consistently avoided any foreign policy decisions with regards to the Israel/ Palestine conundrum. Germany was also the only NATO nation to abstain from the United Nations resolution on Libyan intervention. This creates the image of a lack of unity and, more importantly, it shows that Germany is not committed to the good of the international community. After all, like all post-Industrialized nations, Germany benefitted greatly from globalization. Now, it has a duty to the international community to instill the factors that enable nations to benefit from globalization, such as economic development and political legitimacy, in the rest of the international community.
In a way, even though Germany is currently economically mitigating the debts of individual European Union countries, it has its own debt that it has yet to repay. Germany has benefitted greatly from NATO alliances and European Union participation since World War II and thus it is Germany’s duty to align with the relatively unified European Union/ NATO foreign policy and military stances. It is time for Germany to repay its debts. It is time for Germany to adopt a more moderate foreign policy involvement relative to the Nazi regime. It is time for Germany to once again stand strong in international affairs (but maybe it could lay off of Poland for the time being).