Post-Iraq: Europeanization instead of Transatlanticism? 150 

In document From Guilt to Responsibility and Beyond? : Change in German Strategic Culture after the End of the Cold War (Page 162-166)

With regard to further evolution of German strategic culture, the transatlan- tic rift that ensued based on the differences regarding the Iraq war and US unilateralism, was not a factor that would have clearly underlined the aspect of continuity. This was so despite the fact that the German rejection of Bush’s ‘adventurism’ was strongly framed in terms of the German culture of re- straint and ‘never again war’. Indeed, the firm ‘no’ on behalf of the Schröder

government raised serious questions regarding Germany’s alliance policies and partnerships, and seemed at first to indicate a change in terms of ‘never again alone/Sonderweg’ principles. First and foremost, US unilateralism and the issue of interventionist warfare raised questions regarding the use of mil- itary force for Germany that went beyond the war in Iraq and the question of WMD’s. Even though Germany continued to be skeptical in terms of the ef- fectiveness of the use of force especially as a pre-emptive means to topple dictatorships or regimes, the shift from multilateralism to unilateralism in US grand strategy, the repercussions of the transatlantic crisis for the func- tioning of NATO and subsequently, the decrease in Germany’s ability to be able to influence the US and its other partners via traditional avenues of co- operation within the transatlantic security community all seemed to under- mine the idea of Germany as a civilian power.407 The German post-Iraq poli-

cy towards buttressing the process of CFSP and ESDP408 can hence not only

be seen as an attempt to steer clear of US unilateralism but also as an aspira- tion to preserve what was left of the idea of Germany as a civilian power.

CFSP and ESDP seemed particularly viable for the Germans in this re- gard, because they strengthened the foundations of multilateralism in for- eign, security and defence policy and functioned not as an alternative for NATO, but as a way to decrease European dependency on NATO in the realm of security.409 Moreover, the professed more active role for the EU as a secu-

rity provider underlines a rather complex transformation process. This needs to occur on the level of EU member states’ strategic culture before we can continue to argue for the evolution of a genuine European strategic culture. However, CFSP and ESDP continue to be of utmost relevance to this process and as Gross has argued, offer Germany an avenue to project and protect its interests.410 Furthermore, this policy framework aligned itself gradually in

the German efforts to maintain a balance between civilian and military means in crisis management, with a clear national accent on the former. This had already been highlighted in the Action Plan Civilian Crisis Prevention, ConÀict Resolution and Post-ConÀict Peace Building which was passed by the German government in 2004. One of the main objectives of the Action Plan was to enhance the interconnectedness of actors and structures within crisis management and conflict prevention which paved the way for the in- troduction of ‘networked security’ (Vernetzte Sicherheit) in terms of ‘Whole of Government Approach’. Even though the inclusion of CFSP in the Maas- tricht Treaty’s pillar structure and the integration of WEU and CFSP within

407 See e.g. Rudolf, Peter 2005, ‘The Myth of the ‘German Way’: German Foreign Policy and7UDQV

$WOantic Relations’, Survival, Spring 2005, Vol. 47, Issue 1, p. 13

408 With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU’s European Security and Defence

Policy (ESDP) has been re-baptized the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

409 Ibid., p. 136.

410 Gross, Eva, 2007, ‘Germany and European Security and Defence Cooperation: The Europeanization

the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997 would hardly have materialized without strong Franco-German co-operation, Germany remained on the sidelines when France and Britain took the St. Malo initiative in 1998 in order to en- hance the EU’s military capability and operability. Allens has argued that this was because “Germany had neither the ability nor a strong interest in leading an initiative that would make the EU more operative militarily”.411 However,

the Schröder government gradually shifted its stance towards the ESDP be- cause it enabled the German government to “develop the role of the WEU in line with the result of the Amsterdam Treaty and to use the ESDP in order to strengthen the EU’s capacities in the area of civilian conÀict prevention and peaceful crisis management.”412 Moreover, as Berenskoetter and Giegerich

have observed, “(t)he [German EU] ‘Presidency Conclusions’ presented in Cologne in June 1999 clearly shows the German attempt to build up ESDP as an alternative to NATO, more precisely as a preferred alternative whose ac- tivities resonate with German ideas of appropriate mandate, missions, and means.”413

While it can be argued that Germany had been a steadfast supporter of both CFSP and ESDP since their introduction into the EU policy framework (ESDP especially since the St. Malo Declaration 1998), cases such as Opera- tion EUFOR RD Congo and Operation EUFOR RD Chad have shown that Germany has fallen short in terms of implementing this support into con- crete policy action. What is more, if we take a look at some of the crisis man- agement tools created within CSDP framework, such as the EU Battlegroups concept, German reluctance to act is evident. When faced with actual deci- sion, Germany has rejected calls to deploy Battlegroups that consist primarily of German troops (e.g. in the case of the Congo), even though it has been a strong supporter of the concept verbally. As Becker has argued, the official reasons given by the Germans for rejecting the deployment of the Battle- groups include financial deficits, an overstretched Bundeswehr as well as a lack of military capability of the Battlegroups, which, in turn, were connected with pooling and sharing at the EU level. However, the problematic nature of the Battlegroups concept was already visible in the different roles envisaged for them by France, the UK and Germany. While France and the UK treated EU Battlegroups primarily as a way to a more effective burden-sharing of EU crisis management, for Germany the Battlegroups concept underlined the idea of multilateralism in common defence policy and the German insistence

411 Allens, Robin Marc 2016, ‘Are We Doing Enough? Change and Continuity in the German Approach

to Crisis Management’, German Politics, p. 7.

412 Ibid.

413 Berenskoetter, Felix and Giegerich, Bastian 2010, ‘From NATO to ESDP: A Social Constructivist

Analysis of German Strategic Adjustment after the End of the Cold War’, Security Studies, Vol. 19, p. 442.

on the inclusion of smaller member states indicates that the Battlegroups primarily served the function of EU integration for Germany.414

Despite the elevated profile of CFSP and ESDP/CSDP in German post- Iraq security and defence policy, it can be argued that NATO (together with the UN) remains the primary multilateral platform considering the issue of the use of military force in particular for Germany. This is regardless of the problems that the transatlantic crisis created and even though Germany has often been considered a ‘lukewarm’ or ‘status quo’ alliance partner.415 Keller,

for instance, has argued that Germany never fully subscribed to the shift in NATO’s strategic posture towards out-of-area operations because of “fear of overstretch and a perception of insufficient threat”.416 However, the German

military contribution to the NATO ISAF mission in Afghanistan can be seen not only as the German commitment to upholding its alliance commitments but also as a token of the significance of NATO in German strategic thinking without forgetting German preference for civilian measures in crisis man- agement and its long term policy of intensifying the co-operation between the EU and NATO. This can be witnessed in the context of the perceived security challenge that Russia posed to the security of Europe and the transatlantic security community after the War in Georgia in 2008 and in the light of the current crisis in Ukraine, where Germany has played a key mediating role. It needs to be noted that the German preference for NATO in military matters also includes keeping the US vested in the developments in Europe and by so doing decreasing the pressure on the German leadership in expanding its role in military crisis management that has been on the increase ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ultimately, as is reflected in the recent publication of the new German White Paper on Defence (July, 2016), NATO, unlike the EU, will continue to guarantee peace in Europe, even though it underlines the importance of the further development of the European Pillar in NATO.417

In the following section, I will present an assessment of some of the key post-Iraq developments in terms of out-of-area operations for Germany and highlight the reasons why they matter in the discussion regarding the evolu- tion of German strategic culture after the end of the Cold War. As the majori- ty of the post-Iraq War crises and conflicts have occurred in the Middle East or in neighbouring regions in North-Africa as a result of the Arab Spring, it is worthwhile providing a more extensive overview of the German strategic stance in the region. Finally, I will also discuss the recent crises in Europe,

414 Becker, Sophia 2013, ‘Germany and War: Understanding Strategic Culture under Merkel Govern-

ment’, Paris Papers, 2013, No. 9, IRSEM Publication (Institut de Recherche Sratégique de l’Ecole Mili- taire), pp. 31-33.

415 Keller, Patrick 2012, µGermany in NATO: The Status Quo Ally’, Survival, Vol. 54, No.3, p. 95-110. 416 Ibid, p. 99.

particularly the crisis in Ukraine from the viewpoint of German strategic cul- ture.


In document From Guilt to Responsibility and Beyond? : Change in German Strategic Culture after the End of the Cold War (Page 162-166)