The Birmingham School The Ideal Model?

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 81-86)

O ut o f all theoretical fram ew orks under review , th e Birmingham school directly

analyzes Germ an specific foreign policy choices, especially in regards to security.

Germany's strategic goals (m ilieu goals) are a t th e center of investigation in relation to

European security order. The Birmingham m odel m ainly seeks to exam ine w h ere

German foreign policy is headed and w h a t elem en ts of change and continuity are

82 Crawford, Pow er and German Foreign Policy: Em bedded Hegem ony in Europe.

83 Power and German Foreign Policy: Embedded H egem ony in Europe, 22.

present in G erm any since unification. An assumption o f th e m odel is th a t G erm an

interests are shaped by th e configurations o f institutions which also lim it G erm any's

freedom w hile Germ any is viewed as having a Europeanized identity. The Birm ingham

school's tre a tm e n t o f pow er (tangible, intangible, structural, or d elib erate) results in

four contending types of pow er explained by G erm an security scholars: p o w er th a t

intends to reach maxim um relative gains (realist pow er), p o w er th a t shapes institutional

rules (indirect institutional pow er), pow er th a t results fro m dom estic policy decisions

(unintentional pow er), and pow er to shape the EU agenda to maxim ize G erm an

influence (systematic em p o w erm e n t).85

In analyzing th e Birmingham m odel fo r its ability to explain and predict G erm an

foreign policy choices, Sterling uses several categories o f analysis and a focus on

Germ any as a security actor in Europe. The au th o r accomplishes this by exam ining

policies o f prevention and assurance and G erm an com pliance and contributions to EU

missions and programs. W hile assessing G erm any as a m ilitary actor, Sperling lists

Germ an defense expenditures (in comparison to those o f France, Italy, and th e UK) in an

EU context as well as German participation in UN, EU, and NATO-led m ilitary operations.

W h en com paring these analyses to th e predictions and assumptions o f th e Birm ingham

model, Sperling shows Germany's Europeanized id en tity in regards to interests,

Germ any's reserved approach to th e projection o f m ilitary force, and th e p o w er used by

85 James Sperling, "Germany and European Security Governance: How W e ll Does th e Birm ingham M o d el Perform?," European Security 18, no. 2 (2009): 127.

Germ any to reach its goals.86 The evidence used fu rth e r shows assumptions about

foreign policy choices th a t reflect m ilieu goals as well as G erm any's continued

preference tow ard m ultilateral approaches.

W hen analyzing G erm any as a security actor, th e Birmingham m odel argues th a t

Germ any will act in line w ith its European identity, pursuing "European" goals and a

"m ultilateral statecraft".87 This assumption does not account for th e im portance of th e

distribution o f pow er and th e relevance of p o w er in G erm an foreign policy. Scholars

explain th a t th e end o f th e Cold W ar, and th e end of a Soviet security th re a t, com bined

w ith lowered U.S. influence, allow ed G erm any to seek foreign policy security goals th a t

differed from those of the U.S. The au th o r concludes th a t th e Birmingham m odel lacks

an explanation in regards to preferences and interests but does explain th e reasons and

path of Germ an foreign policy in conjunction w ith policies o f assurance and prevention.

In th e past decade, several authors and analysts have questioned Germ any's

European vocation. Although strongly observed during th e Bonn Republic, G erm any's

European policies have been "contingent, contested, and circum scribed".88 N ow , th e

pursuit of "European" goals predicted by th e Birm ingham m odel have not been chosen

exclusively in recent years, and G erm an national goals have taken precedence. The post-

Kohl era has been difficult to categorize by authors in th e field. W hile some scholars in

defense o f th e Birmingham m odel and th e o ry to explain G erm an foreign policy stress a

86 Ibid, 143 87 Ibid.

contingency factor in contem porary policy rath er than th e structured m ultilateral

approaches, others refer to this period as "de-Europeanisation".89

Peterson groups Germ any's European vocation into th re e stages: th e first stage

involves European integration, th e second stage refers to a close union to th e EU under

Chancellor Kohl in the early 1990s, and th e third stage is referred to as th e post-Kohl

stage.90 Here, th e author explains th a t European identity and policy choices w ere

gradual processes, w hereby concepts such as security and "actorness" w e re essentially

dictated by the political environm ent, leaving G erm any little room to act

independently.91 Scholars of th e Birm ingham school argue th a t contingency in G erm an

foreign policy occurs in th e form o f "restoring th e goodness o f fit" b etw een th e G erm an

domestic level and th e European level, th e re fo re arguing th a t Germ any still has a

European vocation.92 Here, th e arg u m en t is m ade th a t G erm any continues to have

fundam ental interest in European integration, and w hile less emphasis is put on

m ultilateral institutions, Germ any's agenda includes supportive choices fo r European

foreign policy.93

Addressing arguments ab o u t clashing Germ an and European interests, th e

Birmingham school scholars refer to this leveling as a potentially long period o f

89 G u n th e r. Hellmann, Germany's Eu Policy on Asylum and Defence: De-Europeanisation by Default. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006), 48.

90 Paterson, "Does Germ any Still Have a European Vocation?."

91 Paterson here compares and contrasts Ostpolitik to Europapolitik, noting th a t Ostpolitik "could ta k e on a leadership role and also be seen manifestly to be making its ow n decisions" (p. 43).

92 Paterson, "Does Germ any Still Have a European Vocation?," 49.

93 For a more in-debt discussion, please refer to S. Harnisch and S. Schieder, 'Germany's N e w European Policy: W eaker, Leaner, M e a n e r', in M au ll, H. (2006), Germany's U ncertain Power: Foreign Policy o f the

'equilibrium '; however, Paterson e t al. also note th a t th e school takes a "binary" view

tow ards Germ any supporting "both m ore and less Europe".94 In contrast to this view ,

others list changes in public opinion and coalition structures to show a deviation of

Germ an foreign policy to previous European interests, w h ereb y th e au th o r accounts for

th e changes observed in G erm an policy by relating th em to changing "opportunity

structures at th e European level".95 Although th e Birmingham school shares m ost o f this

analysis, Paterson argues th a t despite th e changes observed, Germ any continues to

have a Europeanized identity, although governm ental policy show less European driven

interests. Paterson agrees th a t G erm any's European vocation is "shrinking and will

continue to do so", but adds th a t G erm any will continue to be com m itted to th e

European project, which continues to b en efit Germ an interests.95

Taking into account the shortcomings of th e Birmingham m odel, and th e fact

th a t every oth er theory used to understand G erm an foreign policy behavior lacks

explanatory pow er in certain aspects, Beverly Craw ford's articulation of G erm any as an

'em bedded hegem ony' m ay yield th e m ost parsimonious approach yet. This approach

combines th e strong points of several theories under review and directly challenges

claims th a t Germ any is unwilling to take on a leadership role in Europe. C raw ford's main

argum ent is th a t Germ any's foreign policy preferences are a reflection o f its position as

th e 'regional hegem on', possessing institutional pow er, and th e "need to p ro tect th a t

pow er position and satisfy dom inant dom estic interests" (p. 34). The au th o r th en lays

94 Paterson, "Does Germ any Still Have a European Vocation?," 49.

95 Hellmann, Germany's Eu Policy on Asylum and Defence: De-Europeanisation by D e fa u lt, 50. 96 Paterson, "Does Germany Still Have a European Vocation?," 51.

out a compelling argum ent for Germ any's ability and willingness to lead w hich includes

aspects of cooperation, capabilities, and econom y, and ends w ith th e prediction th a t

Germ any is likely to drop many of its in tern atio n al burdens over th e next decade,

especially if economic stagnation continues.97

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 81-86)