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What’s the real reason?

Pacifist raises the issue (commenting on my last post) that Germany’s reluctance to get involved in military operations such as Afghanistan may not have anything to do with its past. He ponders:

Do you really think it has anything to do with their military past? Surely it has more to do with them having the sense to realise Afganistan [sic] is a murderous hell-hole from which they'll never be able to withdraw troops once they're in there.

This got me wondering whether the premise of the survey question (take part HERE) is even accurate.

There’s no doubt that the factor is worth at least considering — the Washington Post notes

a strong reluctance to send soldiers into battle given the country's Nazi legacy,

and according to the International Herald Tribune:

The experience of Nazism is actively alive in contemporary public debates over everything from the country's troops in Afghanistan to the low birth rate to the country's dealings with foreigners. Often it seems to stifle discussion that could proceed more openly in other countries with fewer taboos.

There are other factors though. The same Post report points out three:

* They see it as America’s own problem

* German scepticism of “an American combat-style approach”

* Chancellor Merkel having to work in coalition less pro-US political rivals

In addition, I’d add the rise in very left-wing anti-American politics in Germany (remember this guy?).

The issues are many, of course. As one German politician remarked:

It's a little bit too simple to put all this on a pacifist and reluctant German public

But I think our Pacifist may have got it with the most obvious and simple explanation.

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