Balkan Strategic Studies

July 31, 1992

The Unspoken Concern Over Germany’s Path

European community (EC) politicians from many of the Community's 12 states — including Germany — are reluctant to discuss their very real concerns over the strategic direction which Germany is taking both itself and the EC as a whole. The reluctance to question some of Germany's recent actions is based on the embarrassment of most EC politicians to say anything which would revive memories of nazi Germany's aggressions which led to and included World War II. There is an almost universal consensus that discussing any issues which would automatically invoke parallels between today's Germany and Hitler's Germany of the 1930s and '40s would split the EC and once again make Germany an outsider. One German official told Defense & Foreign Affairs: "We must sublimate our 'Germanness' and become totally blended as a nation with Europe." The problem with this is that by becoming "Super Europeans," the Germans give the appearance of trying to become all of Europe, with the rights and interests of the smaller economies of the EC being totally subservient (and immaterial) to the German position. But the specific strategic policy questions which concern other Europeans and policy analysts in the United States and elsewhere include:

1. Unilateral and clandestine support for Croatia: Yugoslavia began its disintegration with the appointment of a Croatian head of the collective presidency a couple of years ago. The candidate, who was committed to the break-up of Yugoslavia, was heavily promoted by the EC. Many Yugoslavs agreed that each member republic should determine its own future, and -- despite the uncertainties inherent in any major transition -- the Yugoslav member states were on the way to determining a working arrangement which would have left some kind of customs union, or confederation. This brief opportunity to achieve change more-or-less peacefully was lost when Bonn precipitately recognized the independence and sovereignty of Croatia, encouraging it to remove irrevocably any chance of a working confederation of Yugoslav states. German recognition of Croatia was its most decisive and unilateral foreign policy initiative since 1945.

Germany has gone and continues to go further. It has either allowed or has provided, at a Government level, large numbers of German nationals to go to Croatia as mercenaries or advisers for the Croatian forces which are not only in Croatia, but which are controlling large areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Germany continues to provide significant quantities of former East German weapons systems, spares and ordnance to Croatia clandestinely, and in contravention of Germany law, via Hungary and other routes.

German support for Croatia is a natural extension of the country's historical links with Croatia and its support for the wartime Ustaše fascist organization of the country's historical links with Croatia and its support for the wartime Ustaše fascist organization which has once again revived in Croatia and has used its symbols and remembrances of its own wartime exploits to threaten ethnic Serbs living in Croatia and hundreds of thousands of civilians in World War II -- was predictably defensive.

There is now concern that Germany has dragged Europe, and possibly the US, into an intractable conflict in the Balkans, without considering the real objectives or reasons for such an action.

2. Germany's native efforts to undermine the US dollar: German Government officials have either provided, or have allowed to be provided, the tightly-controlled banknote printing paper to Iran to enable its mint to produce vast quantities of counterfeit, high-quality US banknotes. The Iranian distribution of vast quantities of forged US currency -- outlined and confirmed in the US Congress in recent months -- is aimed at helping Iran pay off some of its international debt while at the same time deliberately undermining confidence in the US dollar. The fact that Germany has supported this economic warfare against a NATO partner has shattered some US officials' faith in Germany after more than 40 years of alliance.

3. German involvement in nuclear and CBW proliferation: The German Government has done virtually nothing to stop German firms supplying the technology to states such as Iraq, Libya, Iran and others for weapons-related nuclear, chemical and possibly biological capability. Most senior intelligence analysts contacted by Defense & Foreign Affairs believe that the German Government has knowledge of the situation and could have controlled the transactions if it desired.