Give me a break. While Germany gets more grief than it should, it certainly underperformed in Afghanistan. It has the third largest contingent for most of the time, yet did not make much of an impact. Stories abounded of their soldiers gaining weight while in Afghanistan, which is kind of like Hurley maintaining weight during the Lost series. Germany had far more capabilities than it deployed. No tanks, little or no artillery, only a handful of helicopters, and its contingent faced pretty tight restrictions through 2009 and a bit less so thereafter.
Then Germany opted entirely out of Libya. This was out of character. I would have expected Germany to participate in the naval embargo and maybe even in the no fly zone once there was nothing to shoot at in the air over Libya besides other NATO (and partner) planes. But Merkl overreacted to the Afghanistan malaise. No Germany in Libya either.
So, Germany will acquire a new capability, one that is pretty much expected for any 21st century military, but as long as Germany has coalition governments, I would expect it to be quite limited in how it deploys such capabilities.
It seems to me that those covering Europe are required to write the same stories over and over again:
- Germany becoming assertive.
- NATO's imminent demise. (checking old posts, I think I have more than a dozen responses to past predictions of NATO's death)
- The EU's new defense cooperative enterprise and how it will supplant NATO.