Interests, Identity, and Norms
THEORIES OF GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY
G erm an security scholars point to th e difficulties in analyzing G erm an foreign
policy theoretically as a d ifferen tiatio n b etw een national, systemic, and supranational
59 Simon Bulmer, Jeffery, C., & Paterson, W illiam Germany's European Diplomacy: Shaping the Regional
M ilieu (M anchester, UK: M anchester University Press, 2000); Katzenstein, Tamed Pow er: Germ any in Europe.
70 Crawford, Pow er and German Foreign Policy: Embedded Hegem ony in Europe. 71 Pow er and German Foreign Policy: Embedded Hegem ony in Europe, 26. 72 Ibid, 27
levels o f analysis has to be made. Once again, th e scholars under review analyze
Germ an foreign policy from th e neorealist, utilitarian-liberalist, constructivist
approaches, as well as th e Brimingham school. In regards to foreign policy, neorealism
analyzes th e system-level variables and follows th e assumption th a t states respond to
shifts in th e balance of m aterial p o w e r w h ile utilitarian-liberalism emphasizes th e
subsystem variables.73 Constructivism focuses on both variables w h ile assuming th a t th e
state will fo llo w th e "logic of appropriateness" in regards to societal and international
norms.74 The Birmingham school, w hich is com prised o f several authors under review ,
analyzes both variables, but also assumes th a t states will follow th e logic o f
consequentiality in com bination o f appropriateness. Here, and emphasis is pu t on th e
limiting role th a t international and dom estic institutions have on state action.
Each author has d ifferen t predictions abo u t th e fu tu re of G erm an foreign policy.
John M earsh eim er predicted, in neorealist fashion, th a t a unified G erm any would
separate itself from previous com m itm ents to NATO and th e EU. This prediction was
based on th e balance of pow er change th a t occurred a fter th e Cold W ar, to include th e
absence o f th re a t from th e Soviet Union, th e re fo re shifting th e security arrangem ents.
The neorealist position was th a t G erm any w ould take full advantage o f th e increased
pow er position and ultim ately pursue p o w e r politics. The predictions under th e
utilitarian-liberalism fram ew o rk is th a t changes only occur if the preferences of
domestic actors changes. Here, scholars explain th a t the preferences o f private
73 Sperling, "The Foreign Policy o f the Berlin Republic: The V ery M odel o f a Post-Modern M a jo r Power? A Review Essay" 16.
domestic actors rem ained unchanged a fte r unification, and th e re fo re conclude th a t th e
foreign policies o f th e Bonn and Berlin Republics should not change.75
The central assumption o f th e constructivist th eo ry is th a t id en tity construction
occurs and then creates interests and norms. Further, constructivism assumes th a t th e
international system is both m aterial and social, w h e re b y m aterial structures are
assigned meaning th e environm ent. This assigned m eaning then provides th e norm ative
com ponent to th e analysis and explanation.76 In th e case o f G erm any, constructivism
predicts no change in foreign policy fro m th e Bonn Republic to the Berlin Republic. The
explanations and predictions m ade by th e Birmingham school focus on th re e variables.
An emphasis is given to th e analysis o f th e strategic (m ilieu) goals and d raw a tte n tio n to
th e limitations placed on states by institutional patterns w hile also exam ining interest
and identity (also finding a Europeanized id e n tity ).77 Further, the Birm ingham school
analyzes the relationship betw een p o w e r and th e exercise th ereo f, d ifferen tiatin g
betw een tangible and intangible pow er, and d elib erate or structural exercise o f pow er.
Germ an economic and financial p o w er has been structural, w hile offering financial
support fo r states th a t are in com pliance w ith G erm an preferences is view ed as
deliberative pow er.78
75 Rittberger, German Foreign Policy since Unification: Theories an d Case Studies. 76 Ibid, 17
77 Sperling, citing Bulmer, Jeffery & Paterson (2000), explains th a t th e Birmingham School, in examining Germ an foreign policy, pays particular attentio n to th e im pact o f Germ an federalism , th e sectorization of policy making, and th e impact observed by th e EU in constructing Germ an interests w hile simultaneously limiting Germany's freedom (p. 18).
Crawford compares and contrasts th e realist and constructivist v iew o f G erm an
foreign policy and offers her ow n approach which claims th a t "Germ any has changed
the w ay it has pursued its original vision as its p o w er position in Europe and in
international politics has gro w n ".79 The author's m ain argum ent here is th a t changes in
uses of pow er before unification w ere largely ignored and n o t view ed as p o w er politics,
whereas deviations from foreign policy choices a fte r unification, and w ith increased
overall power, w ere interpreted as a d ep artu re of G erm any's "unique vision of
cooperation and antim ilitarism ".80 Further, Crawford argues th a t th e shifts in pow er th a t
occurred a fter th e end of the Cold W a r have tu rn ed G erm any into a "regional hegem on"
(in Europe) and a "great pow er" globally, whose p o w er is used to guide th e original
vision th a t was in place before unification. Through this increased pow er, and continued
vision, Germ any has become a "norm ative pow er", focusing on civilian measures and
diplomacy backed by m aterial resources.81 Craw ford then argues th a t G erm any's foreign
policy choices are appropriate fo r th e current international environm ent, filled w ith new
threats th a t disregard sovereignty and cannot be m e t w ith traditional uses o f national
Scholars discuss post-unification changes in foreign policy, arguing th a t 'post-
W all' behavior differs greatly from th a t o f previous decades. Theories th a t address this
puzzle o f policy shifts and changes include a theoretical analysis o f structural realism,
79 Crawford, "The Norm ative Power of a Norm al State.Pow er and Revolutionary Vision in Germanys Postwall Foreign Policy " 169.
81 Ibid, 170. Crawford here refers to Ian M anner's articulation o f norm ative pow er in N orm ative Pow er
intergovernm entalism , liberal institutionalism , sociological/cultural explanations,
political party structure, and dom estic explanations. Scholars approach this exam ination
by asking, "Are international or dom estic pressures prim arily responsible fo r Germ an
foreign policy decisions?", w h ereb y th e answ er to this question should include a th eo ry
th a t is able to predict and explain policy preferences.82 Crawford finds th a t although
structural realism is able to explain certain policy behavior, it lacks in accounting fo r
Germany's sacrifice o f self-interest in certain cases.83 Similarly, th e o th e r theories and
explanations under review by scholars all yield valid explanations in regards to some
foreign policy choices by G erm any since unification and in th e past decade, but not one
single theory accounts for all questions and changes. Liberal institutionalism is unable to
account fo r a state's desertion o f alliances and coalitions, identity-based argum ents
rem ain vague, and domestic explanations only account fo r part o f policy variances