In short, what is uppermost in Merkel's mind is probably coming from a political, cultural, and economic analysis that her Foreign Ministry and intelligence services have conducted with respect to three powers: India, China, and the USA. In the case of the first two, that analysis would be straightforward and include most of the points I have rehearsed in the previous two days' blogs. With respect to the USA, Merkel's government and long term planners are likely seeing the very same thing that Mr. Abe's government is seeing: the USA is a country increasingly divided culturally, there is a widespread breakdown of confidence in government institutions at the federal level in the USA, there are various secessionist movements on both the left and the right, and an inability to resolve domestic difficulties "within the system". And the situation for the long run does not look like it will improve given the rise of a radical and violent left in the country which is not going to go away any time soon and which, should it ever take power, will not look kindly on "bourgeois" powers like France or Germany. Notably, Merkel is really saying the same thing as Mr. Abe's government: we will continue to support our alliance with the USA, while re-arming for the possible eventuality that we well have to assume the burden of our own deterrence and defense; or as Herr Maas put this point in the first article:
Still, he also admitted that Berlin is not ready to give up on its longstanding alliance with Washington just yet. “The transatlantic relations are extraordinarily important, they will remain important and we are working to make sure they have a future,” he said.
The reference to the "shared nuclear umbrella" is also intriguing, since this means that with the departure of Great Britain from the EU, that country's "nuclear umbrella's" extension to Germany is no longer as solid as it once was. That leaves France as the only nuclear and thermonuclear power in the European Union, and I can see no situation, in spite all of globaloney dogmas and reassurances, that would convince France to share sovereign control of that umbrella with any other nation, especially Germany. Thus, behind Frau Merkel's pleasant words, I strongly suspect there lurks some internal pressure for the formation of a strategic deterrent on the part of Germany itself. Indeed, the Bundeswehr has done such studies in the past, and in most instances concluded that such a step would eventually become necessary.
Merkel would do well to consider the recent Japanese statements, which included deliberate mention of "kinetic weapons," weapons which, if deployed in space, would have a similar strategic destruction potential, without all the nasty fallout consequences of nuclear weapons. And it would avoid treaty undertakings by the German government not to develop nuclear weapons.
Of course, to assume she and her military experts are not familiar with those statements and with the possibilities afforded by kinetic weapons is to assume a level of incompetence and stupidity on their part that is simply impossible.
One may disagree with her, but she, and her advisors, anything but stupid.
See you on the flip side...