Prepare for the Trade Wars

The loaded container ships leaving Hamburg harbor are the modern flagbearers of Germany’s national pride. On board are cars and pharmaceuticals, factory robots and MRI machines, Escada dresses and kegs of beer. To many Germans, their exporting prowess has become a symbol of economic virility, perfectly captured in a sinuous German noun: Exportweltmeister, or world-champion exporter.

It’s as if the nation’s collective chest swells each time the statistics office announces another uptick in trade.