Jochen Bittner recycles a familiar argument:
Commitments in Bosnia and Afghanistan aside, Germany has long failed to pull its weight in international affairs [bold mine-DL].
In practice, what this really means is that Germany has not been involved in using its military to kill people in other countries as much as its allies would like. Provided that we don’t define international engagement primarily or solely in terms of military intervention, Germany has been “pulling its weight” in many respects for quite some time. Germany has been involved in negotiations with Iran for the last decade, and continues to be part of the P5+1, which is a fairly important role in international affairs. Germany is the preeminent political power in the EU, and has been instrumental in expanding and consolidating the European Union over the last twenty years. There are probably quite a few members of the EU experiencing the effects of austerity regimes that would be surprised to learn that Germany isn’t “pulling its weight” internationally. They might wish that it were so, but it clearly isn’t. The “failure” attributed to Germany relates almost entirely to the size of its military budget and its general unwillingness to join other Western governments in ill-advised wars. Changing that in favor of a larger military and more militarized foreign policy is what Bittner ridiculously refers to as wanting to be “grown-up.”
Bittner notes near the end:
Ms. Merkel is, by all accounts, far from pleased with the message from Munich.