Kaiser Bill would approve. A hundred years after he tried and failed, his heirs, a woman on top, have achieved mastery over Europe. And without firing a single shot – what an irony. Those nice pacifist Germans who refused to bomb Libya and to join the war against Saddam Hussein, who now polish their BMWs instead of their jackboots – these predators-turned-pussycats are now credited with fabulous, indeed planetary, power. A recent cover of the Economist says it all. It shows a sinking tanker labelled "The World Economy", with a voice from the bridge pleading: "Please can we start the engines now, Mrs Merkel?" Not just the European, but the global economy! American commentators even fantasise that the German chancellor has it in her hands to call the US elections in November: unless she saves the euro, Obama is a gonner.