Germany and Iran's Nuclear Program: Germany's theoretical approach

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 152-156)

Although France and th e United Kingdom possess nuclear w eapons capability,

the EU's articulation tow ards Iran's nuclear program has mostly been in line w ith

rhetoric em ployed by German policy makers based on nonproliferation theory.

Statem ents made by Joschka Fischer in 200 5 and Germ an Foreign M in is te r Frank-W alter

S teinm eier in 2006 point to Iran as only one o f th e cases which underm ine th e global

nonproliferation regime, urging an increase in disarm am ent practices.21 G erm any's

rhetoric, and statem ents m ade by Angela M e rk el, has consistently included an aspect of

approaches th a t w ork tow ard a w orld w ith o u t nuclear w eapons by reducing nuclear

arsenals. Despite this, in recent years, G erm any's, as w ell as th e EU's approach, has not

only focused on Iran's nuclear program but mostly presented nuclear issues along w ith

regime change w ith o u t taking into consideration th e Iranian perspective, especially in

regards to national security. The lite ra tu re about th e EU's theoretical approach and link

o f policies tow ard Iran's nuclear program shows th e EU's role as a global actor in

influencing behavior by using concrete policies in line w ith norms such as hum an rights

and political freedom s.22

The European approach, w hich has num erously been referred to in te rm s of Ian

M anners' 2002 articulation of NPE, has strong aspects o f asym m etry and unilateral

direction on securitizing th e issue o f Iran's nuclear program by only considering th e

21 Harnisch, "M inilateral Cooperation and Transatlantic Coalition-Building: The E3/Eu-3 Iran Initiative," 423.

22 Lynne Dryburgh, "The European Union as a Global Actor: Exploring Eu Policy Towards Iran," ib id .17, no. 2 (2008).

Referring back to statem ents m ade by Joschka Fischer in 2 0 0 5 about his hopes fo r Iran

to return to 'rational policy', scholars o utline an arg u m en t fo r depictions and

constructions o f double standards o f how nuclear and non-nuclear states are d ealt w ith .

Here, a clear construction o f 'w e ' and 'th ey ' is observed in th e dialogue b etw een th e EU

and Iran, as well as overall international rhetoric describing Iran's nuclear program .24

The EU, as th e 'good citizen', backed by th e international com m unity, has th e re fo re

established a "pow er asym m etry" th a t allows fo r a "m ore decisive coercive diplom acy"

action by th e EU.25 Securitization occurred by portraying, outlining, and exposing the

behavior o f an actor w ho violated international law and norms; an actor unwilling to

change and comply despite num erous changes, offers, and com m unicative efforts. This

view is also supported by surveys conducted on m em bers o f the European P arliam ent as

well as European citizens, w ho despite view ing Iranian actions as irration al, reject a

m ilitary option using force against Iran.

Ian M anners' articulation o f NPE and the elem ents o f the concept theoretically

explain and describe German and EU approaches to w ard th e Iranian nuclear program .

The idea o f civilian power, w ith a focus on econom ic prowess rather than m ilitary

capabilities, provided th e building block fo r M an n ers' arg u m en t o f th e ideational im pact

23 Ruth Santini, "European Union Discourses and Practices on Iranian Nuclear Program m e," ibid.13, no. 3


24 "European Union Discourses and Practices on Iranian Nuclear Programme," 477. 25 Ibid.

Here, a focus is given to th e pow er o f ideas and norms through cognitive processes th a t

essentially shape 'norm al' international relations and construct an id e n tity fo r th e EU.

This norm ative approach includes a strong c o m m itm en t to human rights, peace, liberty,

th e rule o f law, democracy, and social solidarity, concepts found in th e EU's acquis

com m unautaire (European Union Law), and diffused through contagion, in fo rm atio n ,

official process, transference, and cu ltu re.27 Although M anners argues fo r this concept

by applying th e abolition o f the d eath penalty, NPE can explain the cu rren t views and

approaches tow ard Iran's nuclear program in th a t policies are constructed on a

norm ative basis and w ith an emphasis on m ultilateral action in order to 'civilize'

international relations through ideas and norms. This means th at th e facto r which

shapes Germany's and th e EU's role as an international actor is based upon w h a t th e

actor is, rather than how it acts and w h a t it says. Th erefo re, th e EU can be view ed as a

'changer o f norms' in the international system through th e exercise o f norm ative pow er,

which has evolved from th e previous concepts o f civilian and m ilitary p o w e r as a

categorization. This theoretical understanding and explanation of 'actorness' is

im portant w hen analyzing Germ any's w ill and desire to influence, shape, and change

th e international environm ent, and can con trib u te in understanding G erm any's norm s-

based policy approaches.

26 Ian Manners, "Norm ative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?," Journal o f Common M a rk e t

Studies 40, no. 2 (2002): 238.

27 For specific references to these concepts in th e articles and an explanation o f th e process o f diffusion fo r these norms, please refer to "Norm ative Pow er Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?," Journal o f

'coercive diplomacy approach' tow ards th e Iranian nuclear w eapons crisis.28 Here,

diplomacy is th e main instrum ent, w h ereb y coercive diplom acy has th re e distinct

characteristics: a demand, a th re a t, and tim e pressure. The dem and has to be

form ulated w ith th e opponent and has to be supported by a th re a t th a t requires tim e

pressure or a deadline. The theoretical underpinnings of this approach present th e

concept as a w ay to persuade th e op p o n en t and to avoid w ar, w hereby several

questions and aspects have to be taken into consideration before linking th e o ry to

policy. Legitimacy of demands, credibility o f the th re a t, credibility o f tim e pressure, and

m otivation of actors all contribute to decisions w ith in coercive diplom acy as an

alternative betw een going to w a r and doing nothing. It is im p o rtan t to n ote th a t not all

individual countries within Europe articulate th e ir opposition to th e Iranian nuclear

program in line w ith nonproliferation rhetoric. Scholars have pointed to d o u b le ­

standards and legitimacy issues under th e NPT as early as 2003, especially in regards to

th e argum ent of the acquisition o f nuclear w eapons in o rd er to p rotect national

interests. Some scholars highlight this legitim acy issue by presenting France's argum ent

fo r national interests. National interests-based argum ents fo r nuclear w eapons

acquisition emphasizes the difficulty in convincing a state such as Iran to forgo

proliferation despite being geographically situated in an unstable region.29

28 Tom Sauer, "Coercive Diplomacy by th e Eu: The Iranian Nuclear W eapons Crisis," Third W orld Q uarterly 28, no. 3 (2007).

29 Scholars often discuss this in com bination to some o f th e de fa c to w eapon states (Israel and Pakistan), who are allowed to keep their nuclear weapons.

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 152-156)