‘Liberal’ Germany is still a danger to the West

Germany’s latest plan to legalise cannabis is being presented as a “model for Europe” by its health minister, Karl Lauterbach. Yet if the EU regulators have any sense, they will turn it down flat. Like so many terrible ideas that have emerged out of Berlin in recent years, from phasing out nuclear power in favour of Russian gas to making German troops use broomsticks as guns, the “liberalisation” of drugs is the worst kind of pious grandstanding, allowing the country to pose as a paragon of liberal virtue while behaving very badly indeed.

The trouble for Germany is that, following its disgraceful appeasement of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the act no longer works. In fact, the free world will soon see that the country’s combination of hypocrisy, irresponsibility and greed risks making Western civilisation hostage not just to the Kremlin, but to another evil empire, too: China.

Even the French are furious. Franco-German relations are at their worst for years, after Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to subsidise German energy bills to the tune of €200 billion, leaving the rest of Europe out in the cold. Perhaps worse in the eyes of the Élysée, however, was Scholz’s lack of interest in a joint visit to Beijing, an attempt to forge a united front against China. Instead, the chancellor is expected to go there with a German trade delegation in the coming weeks, helping to lend legitimacy to Xi’s transformation of China into a totalitarian surveillance state. Despite warnings from US and British security chiefs that Xi’s bellicose nationalism means that an invasion of Taiwan could be imminent, Scholz evidently wishes to bind Germany even more closely to Beijing, one of its most important trade partners.

Another worrying example of Germany’s moral failure came this week in the decision to allow the Chinese giant Cosco to buy a stake in the strategic asset of Hamburg harbour. Despite attempts to block the deal, Scholz was determined to push it through.

Some might have imagined that, just months after its policy towards Russia was exposed as a danger to the West, Berlin would have been a little less shameless in its kowtowing towards another hostile regime. Quite the opposite. There is no sign that Scholz and his coalition have learned any lessons from the Nord Stream débâcle and other scandals, which have implicated German officials at the highest level.

The most egregious case is that of former chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who remains a member of the Social Democratic Party, despite his role over nearly two decades as Gazprom’s travelling salesman, chief advocate of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project and regular guest of Putin. It is bizarre that Schröder’s links with the Kremlin have not even been investigated by the German authorities — as in the UK they surely would have been. Indeed, when German parliamentarians voted to deprive the former chancellor of his office in the Reichstag building, he sued them.

The biggest name of all in German politics is, of course, Angela Merkel, who presided over the disastrous Ostpolitik that left Europe weak and unprepared for the invasion of Ukraine. She successfully opposed…

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