It wasn't supposed to be like this. Germany would begin to match its economic power with diplomacy and join its allies in confronting the myriad global crises. Earlier this year the German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier promised a more robust foreign policy:
'In Germany we've gotten very used to commenting on the behavior of others. We often know exactly what the English, French and Americans are doing wrong. But we are not willing to do more ourselves. I'd like to change that: We shouldn't wait until the kid is already lying at the bottom of the well."
And the German president Joachim Gauck promised that Germany would live up to its international commitments, even if that meant using military force - always a delicate issue in Germany:
Gauck argued that, in light of its changing international position, Germany should take on a mediating role in international conflict situations wherever it can and shouldn't shy away from using force if necessary.
But in the two most pressing global crises - the advance of ISIS in the Middle East and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa - Germany is nowhere to be seen. The French and the British have joined the United States and its Arab allies in the aerial assault on ISIS positions in Iraq, while Germany's armed forces continue to be plagued by mechanical malfunctions and failures.
Germans, it seems, are content to be "World Champion Observers" on the global stage:
Und wir schauen zu. Denn wir sind Weltmeister im Zuschauen. Wir haben nicht nur in Ruanda zugeschaut, sondern auch in Srebrenica und Gorazde, in Halabdscha und Ghouta. Wir haben rote Linien gezogen, nur um zuzusehen, wie sie überschritten wurden. Wir haben immer nur mit "Konsequenzen" gedroht, aber keine umgesetzt.
(And so we watch. For we are the world champions in watching. We stood by and watched not just in Rwanda, but also in Srebrenica and Gorazde, in Hatabdscha and Ghouta. We drew red lines, only to watch as they were crossed. We always threatened "conequences" but never carried them out. }
Well, at least one German politician is tired of just watching and wants to take action. Christine Buchholz of the Left Party (Putin's Fifth Column in Germany) has been protesting the bombing of ISIS in Syria by "imperialist US forces" and urging dialogue and support of "leftwing Kurds" in their struggle against the "ruling classes" in the region. No doubt the ISIS forces - systematcally beheading and enslaving those who reject their fanatical extremist ideology - are impressed by Frau Buchholz's brave activism.