In a November 12, 20007 piece in the Wall Street Journal, Mark Helprin gives some gentle advice to Germany and to Europe generally. Germany is a major country with no independent nuclear threat. Therefore it will be vulnerable to threats from a nuclear capable Iran. Even without a missile system, Iran could truck the thing over the border from the east. What should be done? Mr. Helprin offers two pieces of advice: Russia, the sheriff to the east, must understand that NATO will build up its forces to demonstrate that Russia will not become a viable threat. Second, Germany should more closely identify its policies with that of the US and integrate its own forces with the nuclear capabilities of the US, Britain and France.
What is wrong with this advice? Germany and the German people specifically have a very very special place in the Russian soul. When asked if the fall of the Berlin Wall and the integration of East and West Germany would mean a “normal” state, a state that might have nuclear weapons, the response was direct and unequivocal, “We will not permit it.”
Identifying the German more closely with American nuclear capabilities will certainly be seen as provocative to the Russians. Dampening Iran’s capabilities will require some cooperation from the Russians. Mr. Helprin’s advice is at cross-purposes with itself.