Germany has been in a unique position over the last two decades.
Despite its natural strength on the European continent and all the dislocations this has entailed over the last 150 years, the West was united in the view that this Germany absolutely had to expand its military capacities. This was not only the position of the Americans, even though they were always the most outspoken, but also of states like France or Poland.
But what will happen when this is no longer the case?
First of all, it is assumed here that Germany has not responded to these requests and calls to an adequate extent in recent years. This can easily be seen in the still low share of military expenditure in the overall budget, but also in the periodic, sometimes downright ridiculous cases of organisational incompetence within the armed forces. The increasingly loud and direct criticism from France also points in this direction.
And the developments in France in particular show that this situation is unlikely to last forever. Marine Le Pen is increasingly gaining influence there and now has realistic chances of winning the presidential elections in 2022. With her rhetoric, in which she often addresses resentments that exist in France towards Germany, she is gaining a great deal of popularity among the population. Even if her policies are unlikely to be quite as confrontational as her rhetoric if she wins the election, the example of populist Donald Trump in the USA has shown that there can be considerable upheavals as a result.