Continuity and Change since Unification in German Foreign and Security Policy

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 101-105)

Scholars w ithin the field have w idely analyzed and exam ined con tin u ity and

change of German foreign policy since unification, focusing on the puzzling phenom ena

o f structural changes th a t w ere not preceded w ith pow er political policies geared

tow ard self-interest. As explained in th e th eo retical section o f this dissertation,

numerous fram ew orks are used to understand and predict Germ any's past choices in

behavior, none of which can fully grasp and account fo r Germ any's policies in th e past

tw e n ty years. Since unification in O ctober 1990, several policy changes occurred th a t fall

into the realm of security, defense, and foreign affairs. Germany's e ffo rt to recognize

Slovenia and Croatia in 1991 was view ed as th e first tru e departure from policy, raising

questions about unilateral behavior. G erm any encouraged its European Commission

(EC) partners to consider diplom atic relationship w ith both countries despite resistance

from oth er European countries, th e U.S., and the UN. Germany's im m ed iate recognition

and violation o f th e EC agreem ent resulted in m edia and scholarly speculation about

Germ any's potential independent and unilateral approach to foreign policy in th e

fu tu re .11 Germany's decision was influenced by several factors to include a desire to end

conflict in th e area, decrease Germ any's risk of increased w ar refugees, and to act on

domestic pressures. German society, especially th e southern region, is m arked by

historical, cultural, and political ties to Slovenia and Croatia, thus sym pathizing w ith

Croatia while the German media focused on Serb violence.12

Examining the fram eworks and argum ents by scholars in th e field, th e

fundam ental determ inant and variable fo r these initial changes in policy can directly be

attributed to th e changes in th e external environm ent, resulting in n e w dem ands on

Germ any as an exporter o f security. Germ any's central position resulted in an increased

expectation by its W estern allies to act on ethnic and territo rial conflicts, refugee

m igration, and m ilitary conflicts in th e fo rm e r Com m unist countries as w ell as on crises

outside of Europe, to include Iraq and Som alia.13 Despite these changes in the

11 "German Security Policy after Unification: Sources o f Continuity and Restraint," 185.

12 "German Security Policy after Unification: Sources of Continuity and Restraint." For m ore inform ation about the factors th a t led Germany to recognize Slovenia and Croatia, see pages 1 8 5 -1 8 9 .

international environm ent, Germ any's post-w ar political culture was m arked by

continuity and restraint, especially in regards to its security policy. This culture o f

restraint can be explained through th e historical legacies o f G erm any's Nazi past.

Further, Germany's foreign policy past W W II and before unification was considered

"successful", thus constructing norms and rules which have been accepted, legitim ized,

and internalized by German political leaders, as w ell as dom estic society.14

Additionally, Germany continued to stress th e im portance of integration into

institutional structures of international and m ultilateral cooperation am ong its allies.

This firm integration in the post-w ar and post-unification years served to fulfill

Germ any's goal of strengthening and integrating Europe, as w ell as lessening th e fears

o f neighbors tow ards potential special, unilateral approaches in th e fu tu re . Institutional

theorists here refer to the shadow o f th e fu tu re in predicting peace and stability am ong

countries which are integrated into such structures and agreem ents. G erm any's relative

continuous foreign policy, especially fo r out o f area operations and involving th e

Bundeswehr, can be partially attrib u ted to th e balancing effect of th e coalition politics of

th e Bundestag, resulting in a centering effect o f Germ any's foreign policy. This

m oderate, or center, approach by G erm any has continued w ith a high degree o f

coherency throughout the 1990's and 2000's, w ith th e exception o f th e use o f force in

Kosovo, Germ any's strong tendencies to m ultilateral approaches in th e last tw e n ty years

has began to alter slightly, depending on th e issue area, but certainly w ith som e breaks

in m ultilateralism in 2002.

Germ any's desire after unification to fulfill its broadened obligation and

responsibility to the international com m unity appears to have altered slightly as

national interests and economic goals are pursued. John Duffield argued tw e n ty years

ago th a t "continuity in German security policy is partly contingent on th e m aintenance

o f a relatively benign and supportive external environm ent," and w arned th a t hostile

developm ents could trigger a divergence in security policy areas by G erm an y.15 Some

changes in Germ an foreign and security policy w ere observed from th e Bonn to Berlin

Republics. The old status quo was m arked w ith passive involvem ent,

noninterventionism , and refusal on th e use of force. The principles under th e Berlin

Republic a fter unification showed a responsible G erm any, willing to support o u t o f area

operations and a desire to reestablish long held principles. W hile these changes a fte r

unification could be categorized as a reconstruction of policies and establishing a new

status quo, an analysis of the sequential points o f crises may offer a d iffe re n t, m ore

consistent view. This is also true w hen considering o th er foreign policy areas, which will

be discussed in chapter five of this dissertation.

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 101-105)