Now Bush and the Pentagon appear to have set their sights on Angela Merkel, new Chancellor of a unified Germany. That Merkel grew up in Germany's impoverished backwater, East Germany, and speaks fluent Russian, may help solidify ties with Condoleezza Rice, who was raised in the segregated black district of Birmingham, Ala., and also speaks fluent Russian.
Germans have unique historic attributes for fulfilling the partner role. German-Americans have been the largest single ethnic group in the country since the signing of the American Constitution. They are also the biggest national group in the European Union. Perhaps most important, Germans, far from being a single settled people, are made up of multiple tribes who swept back and forth across what was then more a crossroads than a single state. During the 18th century Germanic peoples migrated deep into Russia, and earlier many went to the new Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. They called themselves "Schwaben" -- meaning tribe.
The Romans feared the German tribes so much they built big walls all over Europe and Britain to contain them. When Attila the Hun ravaged much of Western Europe, the Germanic Goths were on their side. (In WWI the Allies called the Germans "Huns.")
Today, with 16 million unemployed, Germans are once again on the move, eager to find new roles that can absorb the talents of their young people. Germany will host the International Soccer Cup this coming June. No matter which team wins, Germany has already set its sights on the bigger game of world power. Its military forces are stationed in Afghanistan, the Congo and possibly Kazakhstan, where there are large Germanic minorities.
American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is of German descent, has encouraged high German officials to send armed forces overseas. No German soldiers have been stationed in Iraq so far, but German soldiers replaced Canadian troops after American strategists realized the Taliban were not defeated but had only retreated into the countless hills of Afghanistan.
U.S. strategists stationed the German forces in the northern town of Kunduz in a region populated mostly by Pashtuns. The Germans have a language advantage over the Americans and Canadians: German as a language has many symmetries with Farsi, the language spoken by virtually all Afghanis, including Pashtuns. The great poet Goethe learned Farsi in the early 19th century. Today, much like the Irish now speak perfect English, all Pashtuns speak Farsi.
Today, Pentagon strategists keep reminding us that Germany's frontiers are a range of mountains separating Afghanistan from the former British Empire. In Farsi the range is called Hindu Kush, which means "Kill Hindus."
If the German forces become the Pentagon's partner s they should be less like a modern day Attila the Hun and more like their forebears in Guan Zhong's China who helped defend the Zhou dynasty, winning wars without fighting battles.
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April 20, 2006 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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