With Friends Like These…

The German Empire’s Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, once said that only idiots learn from their own mistakes; the intelligent learn from the mistakes of others.

It’s a good thing that Bismarck didn’t live long enough to see what a cock-up Germany has made of picking its allies for the last hundred years.  In 1914, she tied her trim frigate to Austria-Hungary’s worm-eaten galleon.  Not satisfied with giving the Austrians a blank check to go to war not just with Serbia but also with Russia, Germany compounded its error by 1) not ensuring that it wouldn’t fight a simultaneous two-front war (had Alsace-Lorraine been given autonomy at the outset, the resulting confusion in France would have given Germany time to eliminate Russia first) and 2) invading Belgium and thus bringing Britain – and the Royal Navy – into the conflict.  So Germany went to war with three countries and a useless ally she had to bail out again and again.

Fast forward 25 years.  Germany again avoidably goes to war on two fronts, again is blockaded by Britain, again gets itself cut off from raw materials and again has useless allies – Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia – that it repeatedly had to bail out.

Now you think Germany would have learned by now not to tie itself to weaklings that could only drag her down.  But what they didn’t learn in war, they didn’t learn in peace.  Entering into monetary union with fiscally irresponsible PIIGS countries again threatens Germany’s prosperity and threatens to plunge Europe into an abyss.

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