Stability — whether it be economic, social, political or cultural — is a key term Germans use to define what they believe makes them, and their country, so different from the rest of the world.
The ensuing corollaries are predictability, dependability, responsibility, discipline and orderliness.
Many of those things, elevated to the level of national policy, have been invoked by Germans in their blistering criticism of the American administration — just because President Donald Trump told them that their freeloading on trade and defense was over. He warned that their systematic annual trade surpluses with the U.S. of $65 billion to $75 billion would no longer be tolerated; he also reminded the Germans that they had fallen far behind on their financial commitments as a member of the NATO military alliance.
The Germans reacted indignantly, and their media are still having a field day throwing abuse at the U.S. presidency. Meanwhile, Germany's current caretaker, Chancellor Angela Merkel, invited the Europeans to respond to an allegedly unpredictable and unreliable American partner by taking "our fate into our own hands."
The rest of Europe, starting with France, is taking a much more nuanced view of trans-Atlantic relations. That is especially the case now that Germany's political conditions have lost their signature stability and predictability.