BERLIN — You know times have changed when the Germans announce they are expanding their army for the first time in 25 years — and no one objects.
Back when the Berlin Wall fell, Britain and France in particular feared the re-emergence of a German colossus in Europe. By contrast, Berlin’s pledge last month to add almost 7,000 soldiers to its military by 2023, and an earlier announcement to spend up to 130 billion euros, about $148 billion, on new equipment by 2030 were warmly welcomed by NATO allies.
It has taken decades since the horrors of World War II, but Berlin’s modern-day allies and, it seems, German leaders themselves are finally growing more comfortable with the notion that Germany’s role as the European Union’s de facto leader requires a military dimension.
Perhaps none too soon. The United States and others — including many of Germany’s own defense experts — want Germany to do even more for Continental security and to broaden deployments overseas.