Has Germany Become NATO’s “Lost Nation”? Prospects for a Reinvigorated German NATO Policy

In an essay for the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), Tobias Bunde discusses the international criticism of Germany's role in NATO and the prospects for a reinvigorated German NATO policy.

1. What’s Wrong With the Germans?

Recently, the U.S. debate on Germany’s international role has become ever more critical. The American image of Germany that has emerged is one of a country profiting from an open economic order, but not being keen on increasing domestic demand; a country accepting the benefits from U.S. intelligence efforts, but accusing its partner of spying too much; a country profiting from a stable and open international order without contributing its fair share of the burden in upholding it.

 

While the rising concerns about Germany’s free-riding in economic and intelligence terms are a rather recent phenomenon (at least in the public arena), the criticism of Germany’s rather limited role in international security is nothing new. Seen from the United States (and many other allies), Germany has been punching far below its weight. It has become, from this perspective, what Hans Kundnani has called a “geo-economic power,” a country that has accepted its leadership position in economic terms and is not shy to defend its economic interests, but is reluctant to assume a leadership position in the field of security.[1] In a 2012 Atlantic Council report, which mentioned that a senior NATO official had referred to Germany as a “lost nation,” the authors concluded: “Today, Germany is an economic powerhouse, but a second-rate political and military power. German weakness is NATO’s most significant problem. A stronger Germany would be the greatest boost to NATO’s future.”[2]

 

Despite a certain comprehension of the Federal Republic’s progress since its first participation in international military operations in the 1990s, the argument that Germans value a “culture of military restraint” for historical reasons is increasingly seen as an excuse for not contributing to international missions. While Germany has assumed an important role in Afghanistan, albeit only in the Regional Command North of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), critics have deplored the absence of German contributions to Operation Unified Protector in Libya. At the time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as saying: “We wish our allies success because we share the same political goals.”[3] Nonetheless, not only did the government abstain in the decision of the UN Security Council and refuse to contribute troops to the mission, it even withdrew four ships with 550 sailors from NATO command in the Mediterranean and another 60-70 airmen from AWACS, NATO’s airborne radar system, operating as part of Operation Active Endeavor.[4] More recently, the government’s refusal to even start discussing the situation in Syria within the North Atlantic Council raised eyebrows. Even some of Germany’s closest European allies have expressed their concern that you cannot rely on the Germans. This skepticism concerning Germany’s reliability has turned into a tremendous obstacle for all initiatives on multinational pooling and sharing. For some time now, NATO insiders have thus wondered whether Germany has become the “new France,” blockading new initiatives proposed by others, while not contributing constructively to the development of the alliance.[5]

 

Unfortunately, the Germans do not seem to care that much about this: While Bündnisfähigkeit (roughly: the ability to meet alliance commitments) was a crucial concept in the German debate about a decade ago, it does not play an important role today. So, what is wrong with the Germans?

 

2. What Does Germany Want NATO To Be? Allied Visions on NATO and the German (Non-)Response

 

There has been a lot of talk about the actual capabilities that Germany has provided to NATO missions in recent years and the caveats of its troops in Afghanistan. The importance of these topics notwithstanding, the German balance sheet on these issues is better than expected. U.S. defense officials admit that the Germans are getting short shrift for their service in Afghanistan, while other countries, including France or Italy, have contributed much less to NATO’s most important mission. Although the decision might be triggered by the concern that the allies would argue for a bigger German contingent later, Germany was the first country to announce its commitment to a post-2014 mission in Afghanistan.[6]

 

However, there is something that is much more problematic than the actual numbers: the lack of vision and commitment coming from Berlin. We know what the Germans oppose, but not what they want from NATO or what their vision for NATO is. This has been evident for a while, but came to the fore quite strikingly in the run-up to the Strategic Concept, agreed upon in Lisbon in 2010.

 

While numerous German politicians had actively called for the drafting of a new Strategic Concept in the years following the Iraq intervention, the German contribution to this debate was surprisingly mute. Put bluntly, the German position can be described as status-quo oriented,[7] avoiding the pressing issues the alliance needs to face if it wants to adapt to new challenges. While other allies put forward quite distinct visions for NATO’s future, German NATO policy was essentially characterized by its opposition to those visions, not by the promotion of its own.

 

2.1. Turning NATO into a Guardian of Liberal World Order: Please, No!

 

Since the end of the Cold War, and increasingly after 9/11, NATO’s evolution has been characterized by its development from an alliance defending the territory of its members into an alliance focusing on missions (far) beyond its borders. For Ivo Daalder, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, the out-of-area issue has been settled: “In NATO, we used to speak about “out of area”—that’s what was beyond alliance territory —and “in area”—alliance territory itself. Well, today out of area is in area. It’s the same thing.”[8]

 

While this may be true in principle, the German mainstream has never bought into this line of reasoning and is thus not willing to draw the consequences from this assessment. Although then-defense minister Peter Struck coined the famous phrase that Germany was also to be defended in the Hindu Kush today, the mainstream never really accepted this logic. However, for a number of allies, notably the United States, it makes no sense to have a regional alliance in a security environment that is seen as increasingly global. Accordingly, both the Bush and the Obama administrations have pushed for the strengthening of partnership with like-minded nations in other regions of the globe, most notably with liberal democracies in the Asia-Pacific. Many influential voices from both sides of the political aisle in Washington have even called for a truly Global NATO or a Concert of Democracies.[9]

 

A closer look at German NATO policy over the past decade reveals that German governments have anxiously avoided lending their support to something that would look like a Global NATO. As a result, Germany has opposed even minor steps in this direction, such as the U.S. proposal to institutionalize the partnerships with liberal democracies across the globe before the Riga Summit in 2006. For most German policymakers, NATO is and has to remain a Euro-Atlantic institution. As Chancellor Angela Merkel said in the Bundestag in 2009:

 

“I cannot see a global NATO. The alliance is and remains primarily concentrated on the collective security of the North Atlantic partners. This of course also means that if need be it must also guarantee security outside the area of the alliance. However, it does not mean that states around the globe can become members, but rather that the member states from the transatlantic area must fulfill this guarantee.”[10]

 

Over the years, the experiences in Afghanistan have only contributed to the German skepticism concerning out-of-area missions and the use of force for political purposes. Those who imagine a stronger German security commitment to the Asia-Pacific, maybe even a “pivoting together” with the Americans, will almost certainly be disappointed. The security outlook of the German remains regional, not global.

 

2.2. Making Plans for NATO’s Territorial Defense: Why? Against Whom?

 

Germany has not only been the “leading skeptic”[11] concerning NATO’s transformation into a global security provider, it has also opposed a refocus on collective defense (if aimed at Russia and going beyond the traditional hat-tip to Article 5 being the bedrock of the alliance). For years, the core message of German security policy in relation to Russia has been that security in Europe can only be guaranteed with and not against Russia. Interestingly, when the German Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik asked the leaders of the political factions in the German Bundestag to outline their conceptual guidelines for German foreign policy before the elections, the resulting essays from the leaders of CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, and the Green Party all used this particular formulation, albeit in slightly different wordings.[12]

 

This consensus in the political elite has also led some to downplay of the concerns of its NATO allies, especially in Poland and the Baltic states. The late Ulrich Weisser, a close advisor to Volker Rühe who was heavily involved in the first round of enlargement, even complained publicly that Germany’s neighbors were “obsessed with the fear of Russia” and accused them of “forcing the alliance to make defensive plans against Russia.”[13] When many former leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, including Vaclav Havel and Lech Wałęsa, voiced their concerns about a weakening of NATO in an open letter,[14] Ostpolitik architect Egon Bahr and peace researcher Reinhard Mutz answered by arguing that “the Open Letter represents an entirely revisionist programme.”[15] German politicians speculating about “equidistance” between Washington and Moscow[16] have only contributed to increasing fears that Germany might move slowly toward a new Sonderweg. While the tone of the examples cited above may be particularly harsh, the overall direction of these assessments is more or less common sense in Germany.

 

From the perspective widely shared in Berlin, Moscow might be a difficult partner, but it is widely seen as that: a partner, not a threat. Although Germany stopped opposing the defense planning for the Baltic states a few years ago and paved the way for including them in NATO’s defense planning for Poland, its leaders still do not think that this is based on rational threat assessment. Unsurprisingly, when NATO conducted its exercise Steadfast Jazz in the Baltic states some weeks ago, Germany reportedly only sent fifty-five soldiers.[17] Even after the Russo-Georgian war and the increasing oppression of critical voices in Russia, the German line of reasoning has not changed in essence. This has also meant that Germany has opposed any steps to bring countries such as Georgia or Ukraine closer to the alliance. It has supported NATO’s open-door policy in principle, but has at the same time made clear that no one should walk through. While important U.S. leaders such as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have claimed that the Chicago Summit was to be the last non-enlargement summit,[18] for the German political leadership NATO enlargement is presently an anathema.

 

2.3. Is There More Than Neither-Nor? The Lack of a German Vision for NATO

 

From the perspective of the German political mainstream, both strategic visions appeared unattractive. Neither did the German government want an expeditionary alliance for missions away, nor did it want a stronger commitment to territorial defense at home.

 

This “neither-nor” attitude has led many to wonder what Germany’s alternative vision for NATO could be. Yet, this debate has not been taken up in Germany. Sadly, during the far-reaching consulting process in the run-up to the Lisbon Summit, input from or even open debate in Berlin was scarce. It is in this sense, not so much in terms of military capabilities or its willingness to put troops in harm’s way, that Germany can be considered NATO’s “lost nation.” What is lacking is both the commitment to and a vision for NATO articulated by the German elites. In an op-ed for Der Spiegel, former Defense Minister Volker Rühe and a number of colleagues found harsh words for the German debate:

 

“In Germany, there is no significant discussion about the future of NATO, its self-image, its strategy for the future and the question of how Russia can be included. Berlin is not showing any opinion leadership, nor is it spurring international debate. This has been a disappointment for other members of the alliance, who are asking themselves whether the Germans are afraid of the debate or are simply no longer capable of contributing to it in a forward-looking way.”[19]

 

This criticism finds many targets. While it would have been the main responsibility of the governing coalition to fuel the debate on NATO with its own proposals, the opposition has not shown much enthusiasm either. When former (and, maybe, future) foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came to Washington in February 2013 to give a speech about “Germany, Europe, and the Future of Transatlantic Relations,” the word “NATO” was not even mentioned once.[20] Strikingly, it was the Green Party, with its rather complicated history in relation to NATO, that organized the only big conference on NATO in the months before the Lisbon Summit.[21] During this crucial phase of NATO’s reorientation, a process many German leaders had called for, it seemed as if the Germans did not care. What former German President Horst Köhler said about the Germans’ relationship with their armed forces—that it was one of “friendly disinterest”—is also true of the German leadership and its relation to NATO.

 

What is surprising about this development is that German political leaders have traditionally played a crucial role in almost any major transformation of the alliance. Helmut Schmidt’s speech at the IISS publicly raised the issue of European vulnerability in relation to new Soviet missile deployments and paved the way for the NATO “Double-Track” decision. Volker Rühe’s speech at the same venue started the debate about NATO enlargement. Helmut Kohl played a pivotal role in securing Russia’s acquiescence into NATO’s expansion and developing an institutionalized NATO-Russia partnership. Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer risked their government over the intervention and later argued for a NATO role in Afghanistan. For the past decade or so, however, you have trouble identifying a major German initiative regarding the alliance.

 

This is even more worrying if one considers the traditional guidelines of German foreign policy, above all its fundamental commitment to multilateral decision-making in international organizations. In the security field, the most important international organization for the Federal Republic has always been NATO. Surprisingly, however, despite continuous rhetorical support for the alliance, the political mainstream has not done enough to contribute to NATO’s adaptation to changing circumstances. In the report on a conference at Wilton Park, Julian Lindley-French summed up the “German dilemma” for NATO, which was a crucial point of the discussion: “Germany is a strategic ‘black hole’ in the heart of the Alliance. In the absence of a Germany willing to fulfil its role as a leader of the European pillar of the Alliance, NATO is weakened to the extent that the burden on and consequence of American leadership will remain overwhelming. This imbalance undermines the functioning of the Alliance as an effective political forum.”[22]

 

The fact that the lack of German input into the strategic debate has become a danger to NATO as an “effective political forum” is a particularly telling example: If there is one basic argument German governments have pushed in recent years, it is that NATO has to regain its role as the central consultation mechanism for the allies. At the Munich Security Conference in 2005, Peter Struck read Schröder’s (often-misunderstood) speech that stated quite bluntly that NATO was “no longer the primary venue where transatlantic partners discuss and coordinate strategies.”[23] This was not meant as an affront, but rather deplored this development. In a similar vein the year after, Angela Merkel argued that NATO had to conduct a “permanent common analysis of threats” and that it should be the primary venue for consultations on international crises, where political and military actions should be coordinated.[24]

 

Yet, in recent years, the German government has not really followed through on these proposals. For instance, when some allies wanted to have a debate in the North Atlantic Council about the deteriorating situation in Syria, Germany has refused to even discuss the topic, fearing that this might give the impression that NATO would actually plan an intervention. It did not bother that it contradicted its main claim that the alliance had to be the venue where allies consult and discuss their strategy concerning international crises.

 

3. Prospects for a Reinvigorated German NATO Policy and Options For Germany’s Allies

 

Does this mean that NATO cannot expect much from the Germans? Given all this, there is probably not much reason for optimism when it comes to a more productive German role within NATO. Nevertheless, taking into account a number of domestic and international developments might actually provide a somewhat brighter perspective.

 

First, the domestic debate in Germany has begun to change. It is not true that there is no strategic debate in Germany. It just does not happen at the political level as often and intensively as it is needed. If you look at the broader strategic debate in Berlin, however, there is an increasingly strong criticism of the German role within NATO and other international institutions. Critical op-eds have proliferated recently, basically arguing that Germany’s security policy risks alienating its allies. Some of the most vocal critics of Germany’s international role actually come from inside Germany.[25] A number of recent initiatives aimed at strengthening the German debate on foreign policy, for instance the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, organized by the Körber-Stiftung, or the Deutsches Forum Sicherheitspolitik, organized by the Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik, have brought together the German security community and tried to come up with constructive proposals for a reinvigorated German role. The general mood at these events has been rather critical of the political leadership across party lines. Similarly, the final report of a recent project initiated by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the German Marshall Fund that brought together about 40-50 individuals from academia, think tanks, ministries, and a number of interested members of parliament (all in their private capacity), clearly made the case for Germany assuming more responsibility. This is especially true in those organizations that are of crucial importance for German foreign policy but “are going through fundamental debates about their purpose, remits, and architecture. Germany’s contributions therefore should not be limited to specific policy issues or participation in individual operations. It needs to offer ideas and initiatives to promote the renewal and adaptation of these institutions.”[26] As one of the countries most dependent on a stable, open, liberal world order, Germany must, according to the report, step up and do its share to guarantee the health of this order for the future. Specifically, the authors demand that “Germany must use its increased influence to contribute to shaping the future of the alliance.”[27]  In sum, those thinking about foreign and security policy in Germany have realized that the current level of ambition risks alienating Germany’s allies and eating away at especially those multilateral institutions that have formed the backbone of Germany’s approach to the world.

 

Of course, this does not mean that the increasing consensus among the German strategic community is necessarily reflected in the German Bundestag or by the next government. One might even argue that there is an increasing disconnect between the strategic community and the political leadership in foreign policy. This is made worse by the fact that many long-time members with foreign policy expertise have left the Bundestag.

 

However, if the main actors in the strategic community continue to push for a German recommitment to the central organizations for German foreign policymaking, this should over time influence the official thinking. In addition, the German government is slowly realizing that its unilateral decisions come with a price tag. When the Germans presented their concept of the “Rahmennation” (framework nation) at NATO a few weeks ago, they received some support, but were also confronted with a lot of skepticism. Who would actually be willing to link its own troops to the Germans as a framework nation when it is far from clear whether you can rely on them?[28] Especially the French have made it abundantly clear that they have been severely upset by the German abstention in Libya and their reluctance in Mali. At the very least, the fact that the German government has actually come forward with a constructive proposal might be seen as a silver lining. In any case, many officials have now realized that they have to recommit to the alliance as they agree that their allies may actually have a point.

 

Second, the international preconditions for a stronger German commitment to NATO are better today than they have been for years. Both strategic visions described above and opposed by the Germans have lost some of their traction. In a way, the Strategic Concept has successfully reconciled them and the process leading to its adoption can best be seen as a bridge-building exercise between the two competing visions for NATO.[29]

 

Interestingly, recent developments have brought the other allies closer to the German view. On the one hand, the experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq have made all governments within the alliance much more reluctant when it comes to the use of force. Current debates in the United States or the United Kingdom illustrate that Germany might have been just quicker than the rest of NATO to embrace this trend. On the other hand, the alliance has addressed the fears most vocally raised by Poland and the Baltic states that NATO had forgotten its core missions at home while focusing too much on its “away missions.” This has also contributed to a certain détente in the relations between Russia and the Central and Eastern European states. As a consequence, both camps have become closer to the Germans (without the Germans moving themselves).

 

The question for its allies, however, is how these changing conditions can be used to change the German approach to NATO, too. The solution for NATO’s problems, in any case, cannot be that alliance should just become like the Germans.[30]

 

To begin with, the allies will not succeed in prodding more German involvement if they narrow their focus on the military budget as part of the GDP or the German contribution to specific missions. Just as telling the Germans that they are exporting too much will not change their economic policy (if only because they think it has been successful), repeated calls for more German spending on the military will not yield much results. It has been tried for a while—and there is no evidence why it should become convincing all of a sudden.

 

While the strategic community in Germany is mostly on the same page with the international critics, Germany’s international partners will have to target the political leadership—preferably along the lines suggested by the SWP/GMF report and appeal to those traditions of the German strategic culture that they want to see strengthened. What they can thus do is to opt for a strategy of naming and shaming, basically letting the German government know that the only way to keep NATO relevant is to actually invest in and commit to its multilateral structures. This means more pooling and sharing, more common funding, and the ensuing commitment that these common resources can actually be used by NATO (or some of its allies) even if one ally has objections against a certain mission. This is less unrealistic than it seems. While the German reluctance to use force has been part and parcel of the German strategic culture, its genuine commitment to a multilateral security policy has been, too. In contrast to many other countries, the history of the German Bundeswehr is deeply intertwined with NATO and the integration into a common command structure has been a reality for decades. Given declining defense budgets and the deep-seated German commitment to a joint approach in security policy, there is probably more room for maneuvering than many critics believe. Contrary to many policymakers who argue that security policy has no lobby, the case for a stronger multilateral investment into NATO could be made. This is true for both common capabilities following the AWACS model or new initiatives pleading for a joint NATO training capability that can be used for advising third-countries to build or improve their own security forces. In a “post-interventionist era,” it might become easier to garner German support for common NATO missions that, rather than sending its own troops in harm’s way, put a premium on training. Yet, all this will require a willingness on behalf of the next German government to actually recommit to the alliance. At least the preconditions are much better than is often argued.

 

This is perhaps the most surprising development within the alliance and could be labeled NATO’s German paradox: At a time when the alliance is becoming more “German” in a number of ways, German political leaders have so far failed to make the necessary contributions to a reinvigoration of the alliance. The next German government has to finally put its multilateralism where its mouth is.

 

 

Tobias Bunde is a PhD candidate at the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies and has been a member of the policy team of the Munich Security Conference since 2009. This essay was first published by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) in Washington, DC, where Tobias Bunde was a visiting DAAD/AICGS research fellow in October and November 2013. This essay only reflects his personal opinion.

 

 


[1] Hans Kundnani, “Germany as a Geo-economic Power,” The Washington Quarterly 34, no. 3 (2011): 31–45.

[2] R. Nicholas Burns, Damon M. Wilson, and Jeff Lightfoot, Anchoring the Alliance (Washington, DC: Atlantic Council of the United States, 2012), quotes on 5 and 6.

[3] Peter Blechschmidt, Stefan Braun, and Daniel Brössler, “Libyen: Deutsche Enthaltung. ‘Wir wünschen viel Erfolg,’” Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18 March 2013, http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/libyen-deutsche-enthaltung-wir-wuenschen-viel-erfolg-1.1074261 (17 November 2013).

[4] “Germany Withdraws Its Forces from Mediterranean NATO Command,” 23 March 2011, http://192.254.129.212/natosource/germany-withdraws-its-forces-mediterranean-nato-command (19 November 2013). To be sure, the government decided to man AWACS aircraft for Afghanistan as a substitute (something it had ruled out before).

[5] See Karl-Heinz Kamp, “Deutschlands Einfluss in der Nato schrumpft,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14 June 2008, p. 10.

[6] Federal Foreign Office, “Afghanistan: Post 2014 Commitments,” 18 April 2013, http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN/Aussenpolitik/RegionaleSchwerpunkte/AfghanistanZentralasien/AktuelleArtikel/130418-AFG-post-2014.html (19 November 2013). 

[7] See Tobias Bunde and Timo Noetzel, “Unavoidable Tensions: The Liberal Path to Global NATO,” Contemporary Security Policy 31, no. 2 (2010): 295–318; Patrick Keller, “Germany in NATO: The Status Quo Ally,” Survival 54, no. 3 (2012): 95–110.

[8] Ivo H. Daalder, “Speech of the Permanent Representative of the United States to NATO at the Transatlantic Forum in Berlin,” 1 July 2009.

[9] See, for example, Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Goldgeier, “Global NATO,” Foreign Affairs 85, no. 5 (2006): 105–13; G. John Ikenberry and Anne-Marie Slaughter, Forging a World of Liberty Under Law: U.S. National Security in the 21st Century. Final Paper of the Princeton Project on National Security (Princeton, NJ: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, 2006). For an overview of this debate see Bunde and Noetzel, “Unavoidable Tensions: The Liberal Path to Global NATO.”

[10] Angela Merkel, Regierungserklärung von Bundeskanzlerin Dr. Angela Merkel zum NATO-Gipfel vor dem Deutschen Bundestag am 26. März 2009 in Berlin, Bulletin der Bundesregierung, No. 39-1, my translation.

[11] Patrick Keller, “Germany in NATO: The Status Quo Ally,” Survival 54, no. 3 (2012): 98.

[12] See the articles by Volker Kauder, Gernot Erler, Rainer Brüderle, and Jürgen Trittin in Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 6, no. 2 (2013).

[13] Ulrich Weisser, “Keine Ausreden mehr. Ein Bericht über die 46. Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz,” Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 3, no. 2 (2010), 250.

[14] Valdas Adamkus et al., “An Open Letter to the Obama Administration from Central and Eastern Europe,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 15 July 2009, http://wyborcza.pl/1,76842,6825987,An_Open_Letter_to_the_Obama_Administration_from_Central.html#ixzz2l80Le0YC (19 November 2013).

[15] Egon Bahr and Reinhard Mutz, “Do We Need a New European Security Culture? Why the Best of Détente Is Yet to Come,” OSCE Yearbook 2009, ed. Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2010), 67.

[16] See Christopher Chivvis and Thomas Rid, “The Roots of Germany’s Russia Policy,” Survival 51, no. 2 (2009): 105–122, 109.

[17] France sent 1,200 troops, Poland 1,040, the U.S. 160. See Judy Dempsey, “What NATO’s Steadfast Jazz Exercises Mean for Europe,” Strategic Europe, 31 October 2013, http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=53467 (17 November 2013).

[18] Karen Parrish, “Clinton Affirms NATO Open-door Membership Policy,” American Forces Press Service, 21 May 2012, http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=116433 (19 November 2013).

[19] Volker Rühe et al., “It's Time to Invite Russia to Join NATO,” Der Spiegel, 8 March 2010, online, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,682287,00.html (20 May 2010).

[20] Frank-Walter Steinmeier, “Germany, Europe and the Future of Transatlantic Relations,” 13 February 2013, http://transatlantic.sais-jhu.edu/publications/articles/SteinmeierRedeWashington.pdf (17 November 2013).

[21] NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, gladly accepted the invitation to speak and, before beginning his official speech, did not miss the opportunity to address his being pleased and his surprise that it was the Green Party that invited him. Author’s personal notes.

[22] Julian Lindley-French, Report on Wilton Park Conference 1011: The Transatlantic Strategic Partnership in a Globalised World, 5-7 March 2010, 6, http://www.wiltonpark.com/documents/conferences/WPS1011/pdfs/WPS1011.pdf?634188500428945000 (31 August 2010).

[23] Gerhard Schröder, Speech on the 41th Munich Conference on Security Policy (12 February 2005), http://www.securityconference.de/archive/konferenzen/rede.php?menu_2005=&menu_konferenzen=&sprache=en&id=143& (17 February 2010).

[24] “Bundeskanzlerin fordert stärkere Rolle der Nato,” 4 February 2006, http://archiv.bundesregierung.de/Content/DE/Archiv16/Artikel/2006/02/2006-02-04-bundeskanzlerin-fordert-staerkere-rolle-der-nato.html

[25] One of the most forceful recent examples is Jochen Bittner’s devastating op-ed in the New York Times. See Jochen Bittner, “Rethinking German Pacifism,” The New York Times, 5 November 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/opinion/bittner-rethinking-german-pacifism.html?ref=jochenbittner&_r=0 (17 November 2013).

[26] Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and The German Marshall Fund of the United States, New Power, New Responsibility: Elements of a German Foreign and Security Policy for a Changing World (Berlin, 2013), 42.

[27] Ibid., 42.

[28] For some background on the German initiative and the reactions of its partners see Matthias Gebauer, Gregor Peter Schmitz, and Christoph Schult, “NATO Reform: German Plan Faces Broad Opposition,” Spiegel Online International, 22 October 2013, http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-defense-minister-faces-opposition-over-nato-reform-a-929276.html (17 November 2013).

[29] The report of the Group of Experts, led by Madeleine Albright, entitled their report—quite tellingly—NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement. See NATO Group of Experts, NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement: Analysis and Recommendations of the Group of Experts on a New Strategic Concept for NATO, 17 May 2010, http://www.nato.int/strategic-concept/expertsreport.pdf (17 May 2010).

[30] A status-quo strategy will not make NATO fit for the future. As Keller, “Germany in NATO: The Status Quo Ally,” 99, rightly notes, “[Germany] has been standing in the way of necessary strategic developments and creative thinking in the Alliance.”

11 December 2013, by Tobias Bunde

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