You write in your book, Reluctant Meister, that Germany has been striving to out-compete its neighbours since the end of the 19th century. Now it has achieved that goal, why is Germany a ‘reluctant’ leader?
In 1945, Germany suffered a complete moral and physical collapse, more total than any civilized nation has ever known, and thereafter a growing appreciation of the evil, and therefore the shame, of the Third Reich and the determination that Germany will never do anything like that again. That translates itself into a reluctance to find itself in any kind of overt leadership role, lest leadership be felt to be domineering. Any sense of a reversion to the so-called Führerprinzip is anathema to Germans. Yet the realities of geography and economics in modern Europe are moving Germany into a position where it is, for all practical purposes, the leader within the eurozone.