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Over the last two centuries, the "German question" – how to contain a Germany whose dominance was buttressed by its commanding size, high productive capacity and geographic position at the heart of Europe – has occasioned much worry and not a little warfare.It was Germany that pushed the EU's "fifth enlargement" – the simultaneous accession of 10 Central and East European countries, which occupied Europe from 2004 to 2008 . But it was the global financial crisis that really solidified Germany's position as Europe's leader. Other influential powers in Europe have also retreated from the continent: Not only did the United Kingdom vote to leave the EU altogether, the United States, which had long underpinned the Pax Americana that was so crucial to Europe, also turned its attention away from the region.On the contrary, it has fueled frustration in economically challenged Southern Europe, in the geographically vulnerable Eastern Europe and in Germany itself.Two months after the election, Europe is still waiting.The EU is nothing without Germany. That is why Europe cannot afford simply to wait around, hoping that Germany will suddenly decide to resume leadership.
The twilight of the global order
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