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Germany – the new mini-superpower

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IN PICTURES: Germany Inc

"NATO and EU integration was the model," says John Kornblum, a former US ambassador to Germany who is now a corporate lawyer in Berlin. "The model is now disappearing and that makes people nervous. We are at the end of a postwar European romance about Europe. Germany doesn't want to pay for the romance anymore."

Germany's new global strategy seeks markets and relations in every direction – from Brazil and China to Vietnam and India. France no longer exercises its capacity to "run Europe" but has become a kind of shadow partner of Berlin. Even the city of Berlin, with its bohemian nightclubs and vibrant arts community, has become a hip urban center – what some here consider the new Paris of Europe.

Germany makes no secret that it desires greater stability between Berlin, Poland, and Moscow. A new amity along the old Weimar corridor would signify a breathtaking change.

"The German-Polish and German-Russian policy planning staffs are in high gear," says a Scandinavian diplomat in Berlin. "It isn't just icing on the cake. It is a new cake. Germany is absolutely changing. It is breaking taboos. It is not going back to a cold-war identity."

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