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German Security Policy
in the 1990s

By Robert H. Dorff


he foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) has been “exceptional” from the time the country was founded in 1949. This exceptionalism has been well documented and defined. It has emerged in descriptions of Germany as a “civilian power” and a “trading state.” Even the current German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, has referred to Germany’s “culture of restraint.”2 The essence of the argument is that, unlike “normal” countries in the international system, the FRG has eschewed the notion of national interests and national means of pursuing them, including especially the use of military force for anything other than narrowly defined territorial defense (and that only in the context of NATO). Instead, it has couched its interests in broadly multilateral terms and has pursued them through (nearly) exclusively multilateral, supranational institutions.

The end of the Cold War and the unification of Germany raised interesting questions concerning the future of German foreign policy, and helped spawn a debate about the emergence of Germany as a normal international actor. That debate continues today.

The purpose of this article is to build on that debate through an examination of some events and developments that occurred in 1994 and 1995, subsequent to the Constitutional Court ruling that paved the way for the political debate in Germany about the use of its military outside the territory of the FRG.

The primary focus will be on the evolution of German policy toward peace support operations. Two 1995 parliamentary votes on Bosnia are at the center of the analysis:
  • The June 29 vote on the government recommendation that Germany contribute to the UN Rapid Reaction Force (RRF), and
  • the December 6 vote on a government recommendation to provide up to 4,000 Bundeswehr troops as part of the NATO-led Peace Implementation Force (IFOR).
The thesis is that Germany has indeed become more “normal,” but that a certain “exceptionalism” is likely to characterize German foreign and security policy for years to come. Recognizing this coexistence of the exceptional and the normal is critical for an understanding of post-Cold War German policy and behavior.


he old Germany that entered the 1990s was already feeling pressures that would accelerate as the decade unfolded. Starting in 1989 the upheavals in Eastern Europe led to an explosion of refugees descending on Germany, challenging the continued wisdom of one of the most liberal political asylum policies in the West.

Criticism from allies about its initial hesitancy to contribute to the Gulf War began in August 1990. Its role in the early recognition of Croatia and Slovenia, and the extent to which that contributed to the subsequent Yugoslavian tragedy, raised questions about new German assertiveness and even unilateralism. And the fact that in the early 1990s many of the economic and social consequences of German unification were not yet fully evident led many observers to conclude that Germany was reaping all the benefits of the “new world order” while paying few of the costs for maintaining it.
By 1994 much of the landscape had begun to change. The German asylum policy was amended by parliamentary action in May 1993. Official documents, such as the White Paper 1994, referred to broader Bundeswehr contributions to crisis and conflict management even beyond traditional NATO territory.3 Some German leaders began publicly to lament the restrictions placed on the use of the military and to call for a change in the “Basic Law.”4 Initially it seemed as though no change would occur because the two-thirds vote in the Bundestag necessary for a constitutional amendment did not appear to exist. But in in the spring of 1994 the Federal Constitutional Court decided to take up the issue of clarifying the constitutional intent, a route that would conceivably avoid altogether the necessity of such a Bundestag vote. Indeed, as several observers (including this author) argued at the time, international pressure was by then so great that any decision other than one allowing a debate on German military participation “out-of-area” was virtually out of the question.
It was therefore not surprising that the Court ruling eliminated “‘any constitutional objections’ to German participation in UN authorised peacekeeping and peacemaking operations.”5 What is more surprising was the extent to which some observers were surprised by, and made too much out of, this ruling. The Court ruling did not state that Bundeswehr troops would participate in such missions, only that there were no “constitutional objections” to such participation. Any other objections, all of them political and most of them related to German “exceptionalism,” would have to be addressed through political processes. This would be the real debate, involving the political leadership and the public, and events subsequent to the Court ruling show this to be the case. The significant evolution of Germany as a normal international actor therefore begins somewhat later in 1994, well after the July ruling.

The History Argument

fter the constitutional prohibition was dispelled, new reasons appeared as justifications for the inability of Germany to participate in peace support operations. Generally speaking, they comprise the “history argument.” In essence, these arguments are variations on the theme that, since the Wehrmacht was responsible for various atrocities in Europe during World War II and was a symbol for power politics at its worst, the reappearance of the German military in peace support operations would be counterproductive and potentially disastrous.

This argument initially surfaced in specific reference to Bosnia, but it expanded over time. As one member of the Bundestag put it in June 1995, in words used nearly verbatim by a retired senior Army officer and former member of the Defense Ministry staff one day later, such an argument would mean that “there would be virtually no place in all of Europe that the Bundeswehr could be deployed.”6 Although not without some good underlying intentions, such arguments simply attempted to substitute a blanket “historical” prohibition for the prior constitutional prohibition, thereby obviating the need for an intense and not altogether welcome public political debate.

The Tornado Controversy

he strong desire to avoid this debate was also in evidence later that same year in the “Tornado Controversy.”7 On November 30, 1994, the SACEUR, General George Joulwan, approached the German government about providing six ECR-Tornados to be used by NATO for operations in Bosnia. The Serbs had a growing surface-to-air missile capability around Bihac, and the Tornados offered a favorable counter-threat capability. But Bonn was not yet prepared to deal with such a request.

Following the Karlsruhe decision, there was no attempt to initiate a broad-ranging discussion of the appropriate roles and missions for the Bundeswehr in peace support operations, evidence that political leaders generally wanted to avoid such a discussion. The political climate at the time made some of that reluctance understandable; national elections coming up in October cast long shadows, making members of all the major parties unwilling to risk an emotional and divisive debate. And for a country new to such debates, the example of the U.S. anguish over the Haiti decision could not have offered much encouragement. Why launch such a debate if no concrete situation made it necessary?
What ensued was a very interesting, even entertaining, exercise in creative diplomacy. In effect, the German government chose not to respond to General Joulwan’s request. Classifying Joulwan’s action as an “informal inquiry” rather than a formal request from NATO, Bonn simply gave no answer. This removed any immediate necessity to initiate a debate, either within the government or in parliament. And to bolster the non-decision further, members of parliament and the government pointed out that NATO was unlikely to order any military mission involving the German Tornados; therefore, as the parliamentary group leader for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), Wolfgang Schaeuble, stated, a “decision in reserve” was unnecessary.8
The emergence of the “history argument” and the unusual handling of the Joulwan request indicate that Germany and its leadership were not yet ready for the real debate to take place in the immediate aftermath of the Court’s decision. Still comfortable with the exceptionalism of post-war German foreign and security policy, and operating in a high-risk political environment, the elected leaders opted not surprisingly for avoidance. But the press of events and external factors would not allow an indefinite postponement of the issue, and a formal request from the North Atlantic Council (NAC) soon followed. This time, the German government was asked what contributions it could make to NATO if the UN asked it to protect UNPROFOR troops in the event of a withdrawal from Bosnia. And while the government answered in the affirmative, indicating they would provide logistical and air support, it really began what was to be nearly six months of debate, discussion, and evolution in German policy.

The Different German Perspectives

e turn now to a brief discussion of each of several key players in the debate in order to assess how overall German policy was evolving.9Ministry of Defense

One of the first institutional players to display elements of change in German foreign and security policy was the Ministry of Defense (MoD). In fact, as early as 1992 the MoD published the Defense Policy Guidelines , one of the first official documents to discuss an “out-of-area” role and responsibility for the German military. In 1994 the White Paper mentioned earlier was published, followed in July of that year by the MoD publication entitled Conceptual Guideline for the Further Development of the Bundeswehr.10 The Guideline attempted to provide a bridge between the analysis of the White Paper and actual force planning, hence the distinction between two missions for the Bundeswehr: traditional territorial defense and crisis reaction. Moreover, the document makes clear that crisis reaction will require more, not less, resources than territorial defense and that crisis reaction is what the Bundeswehr of the future needs to be prepared to do. Throughout this discussion the document implies that such crisis reaction operations will occur outside traditional NATO territory.
Interviews conducted in June 1995 further reinforced evidence of the changes occurring in the MoD. References were made to “interests and objectives of German foreign and security policy,” as well as to German “responsibilities as an alliance partner.” And while there was still much caution as to when and how German troops would undertake such operations, it was clear that the military and civilian planners in MoD expected those operations to occur and for a public debate to precede them. The first such debate was already on the horizon, and it is to that debate that we now turn our attention.The Political Community
As 1995 unfolded, clear divisions existed within the German political community. They existed not only between the government and the opposition, but within the coalition, within the government and the ministries, and even within the individual parties. And, of course, the opposition was badly divided. The fact that German exceptionalism has also required a heavy emphasis on consensus, particularly when it comes to issues involving the potential use of military force, is one reason why Germany has been unable to develop a single set of policy guidelines for peace support operations, and is unlikely to do so in the near future. Instead, each decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The Government
Once it was forced to confront the inevitability of the debate, Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s government eventually took the lead in forging some consensus on peace support operations generally and the Bosnian policy specifically. The road to this consensus, however, was anything but smooth. Rifts appeared within the coalition and even within the Chancellor’s own party. Policy at times appeared to vacillate and change dramatically almost over night. Kohl was variously characterized as, on the one hand, craftily leading Germany down a path toward militarizing German foreign policy and, on the other, as allowing German policy to drift aimlessly as he played games with the allies, desperately seeking ways in which to avoid making any commitments or giving any clear answers. The reality was that Kohl’s political margin for error was so narrow following the 1994 parliamentary elections that he could not afford a major policy disaster. Particularly in an area fraught with so many emotional time bombs as this, being caught too far out front or too far behind elite and mass opinion could seal the coalition’s, as well as Kohl’s own, political fate. At the same time, external pressures from allies, bound together with questions about the future of NATO and the EU, also placed stresses and strains on the government. Extreme caution was the guiding principle behind the Kohl approach.11
Perhaps the most significant political problem within the coalition in 1995 concerned the future of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). It was not only divided on the issue of peace support operations, but badly split on a variety of key issues. In fact, the FDP was in the throes of a struggle for its very political survival. Having watched its support in the national elections dwindle dangerously close to the minimum threshold of five-percent for remaining in parliament, it faced a series of embarrassing losses in state elections in 1995. Its performance in elections in North-Rhine Westphalia and in Bremen were so poor that they prompted Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel to resign as party leader. Kinkel continued to serve as Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor, but his ability to be a forceful spokesperson for deployment of the Bundeswehr in peace support operations was limited by this broader political context.12 Critical elections in several Länder early in 1996 provided some better news for the FDP, but the battles are not yet over.
Within the cabinet differing views on peace support operations also emerged, especially between Foreign Minister Kinkel and Defense Minister Volker Rühe. Kinkel has been openly supportive of a broader role for the Bundeswehr in peace support operations, whereas Rühe has been much more cautious and circumspect. In the run-up to the first Bundestag vote on June 29, 1995, the differences were still evident in the carefully coordinated statements made by both Kinkel and Rühe to the German parliament as they sought support for the government’s recommendation to contribute forces to the RRF.
  • Kinkel stressed the need for Germany to show solidarity with the UN Security Council, NATO, and the EU; the German interests that were involved; the need to expand the concept of security in German thinking; and the expectation that Germany would “actively share in protecting the international order….”13
  • Rühe emphasized the limiting features of the policy: the mission was to help people and nothing more; the collapse of the UN mission must be prevented; the ECR Tornados would be used only in the event of an attack against the Blue Helmets, and then only to protect the aircraft of other countries.
While Kinkel continued to suggest much broader reasons for German participation in such operations, Rühe seemed to be concerned with delineating the limitations on this mission so that no broader implications could be drawn. This is a fundamental difference of views that is unlikely to disappear soon, not only between these two cabinet ministers but within Germany generally.14
Social Democratic Party (SPD)
In early 1995 the SPD enjoyed much stronger electoral prospects than the FDP, and it appeared to be gaining ground on the CDU/CSU. But it was also a badly divided party, a fact that became more evident as the year unfolded and the debate on German participation in peace support operations grew more concrete and specific. A bitter public challenge to SPD party leader Rudolf Scharping was being waged by Gerhard Schröder, and the battle intensified as the party suffered some electoral setbacks in the first half of the year. Public support for the SPD fell steadily from the 36 percent level it received in the 1994 parliamentary elections to around 30 percent by mid-1995.
SPD party members grew increasingly disenchanted with Scharping, and by the end of June 1995 only 38 percent preferred him as party leader while 36 percent preferred Schröder.15 And as the time drew near for the parliamentary vote on the government’s recommendation to contribute Bundeswehr forces, including Tornados, to the RRF, a significant minority of the SPD parliamentary delegation was already siding with the government against its own party position.
The official SPD position on Bundeswehr participation in peace support operations was that each potential deployment should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but that in general all missions should be strictly limited to non-combat support roles. Scharping continued to argue the party view that in the case of Bosnia, in particular, the “history” argument was especially relevant. Germany should contribute only medical and logistical support for the RRF, a view that was not sustained in the vote on 30 June 1995. And by the fall it was evident that the SPD had lost on the broader issue of German participation as the decision was made to contribute 4,000 Bundeswehr troops to the NATO-led Peace Implementation Force (IFOR). In November Scharping was defeated in his bid to continue as party leader.16 As of early 1996, it appeared that the SPD leadership, parliamentary delegation, and rank-and-file membership remained sharply divided on the issue of peace support operations.
The Alliance 90/Greens
Although there is general opposition among the Alliance 90/Greens group to the use of the Bundeswehr for anything other than strictly humanitarian operations, the situation in Bosnia has proven difficult for them, too. The reason is that the ongoing war and atrocities became a human rights issue for many of their members. And the picture of the West, including Germany, standing on the sidelines and not using force to stop the aggression against innocent civilians runs counter to even a pacifistic sense of what is right.17 In the run-up to the Bundestag debate, the group decided to reject the deployment of combat units and instead to call for “‘massive German support’ by nongovernmental organizations for humanitarian aid shipments.”18 The leader of the Alliance 90/Greens group, Joschka Fischer, was apparently relieved that this decision avoided a major dispute by satisfying those who wanted to support humanitarian aid by the Bundeswehr. But three members of the group voted against this “common policy” position, and in the final Bundestag vote three members openly stated that they voted with the government.19
The growing tension and division finally surfaced officially in early August 1995 when Fischer circulated a policy paper in which he called for “a redefinition of the Greens’ foreign policy principles.” He spoke “openly in favor of an expansion of UN involvement in Bosnia,” including “surface and aerial protection for the remaining UN safe zones.”20 He personally believes that the party must move away from its rigid opposition to the use of force. At a minimum the Fischer paper helped generate a bruising debate within the party on this fundamental question, and the divisions were apparent at the end of 1995. It remains to be seen whether they will grow before they begin to disappear.
At the same time, it is clear that the party’s desire to be a genuine force at the national level, including as a possible coalition partner for the SPD, requires a more generally applicable and acceptable approach to foreign policy than a simple renunciation-of-force policy will allow.21

The Debates and Decisions

n June 1995 the political landscape in Germany was fractured. All of the major parties were split to varying degrees on issues pertaining to peace support operations generally and Bundeswehr participation in Bosnia specifically.

Further, the entire electoral environment was highly uncertain for all of the parties. Polls indicated a skeptical public, perhaps willing to consider the new activist international role for Germany and even the German military, but not altogether convinced they were necessary.22 In December 1994 one survey indicated that 52 percent of the public opposed sending German Tornados to Bosnia while 42 percent favored it.23 In principle the German public appeared to favor peace support operations, including the use of military force if necessary; in practice, however, it seemed less inclined to support specific operations and especially Bundeswehr involvement in them. Clearly the “culture of restraint” was still prevalent in the minds of the German public even as the Bundestag prepared to debate the involvement of the German military in the RRF.
That debate took place in late June 1995, and government and opposition alike mobilized all of their forces for what was expected to be a heated showdown. Rühe and Kinkel made lengthy, impassioned speeches, as did the leaders of the parliamentary parties. The SPD attempted to hold the party against the government’s proposal, primarily by arguing that there were other, more desirable ways in which Germany could support the effort. In the end the SPD efforts failed as apparently 40 or so of its members voted along with the government in support of the recommendation. The final vote was 386 for, 258 opposed, and 11 abstentions.24 From a base of 341 coalition members in parliament, the coalition was able to expand the winning margin by 45 votes.
By early September the German Tornados were flying support missions and news coverage was generally quite positive. But the next round in the process was already underway, as NATO representatives sat in Brussels and discussed the possibilities of a NATO-led peace support mission in Bosnia. The summer recess in Bonn had allowed things to develop quietly during the ensuing months, but now they began to percolate again. The coalition continued its efforts to build broader support for this new German role even as it cautioned against broad interpretations of the events and that role. By late October a meeting of the Federal Cabinet resulted in a government decision to provide up to 4,000 Bundeswehr troops to NATO should they be required for a Bosnia operation. The Alliance 90/Greens continued to discuss and debate the issues raised by Fischer. The SPD leadership crisis grew worse, culminating in the ouster of Scharping at the party conference on 16 November and his surprising replacement not by Schröder but by former chancellor candidate Oscar Lafontaine. Press treatment of the events indicated that it was Lafontaine’s “tongue lashing” of Scharping for the party’s failure to block the Tornado deployment and to oppose any use of German combat forces in peace support operations that led Scharping to invite Lafontaine to join the contest for party leader. Lafontaine decided to enter the fray at the last minute, and defeated Scharping by a vote of 321-190.25 Yet on 21 November, after having lost his position as party leader the previous week, Scharping called for a vote of confidence among the SPD parliamentary delegation concerning his continuing as head of the delegation. He won 90.4 percent of that vote.26
Of course, all of this was taking place after the government had already recommended a much larger German contribution to the next phase of the Bosnia operation. And by the end of November it was apparent that the Dayton Accords would be signed and the NATO-led mission would become a reality. Yet well before the Dayton breakthrough, the German press was reporting a “broad Bundestag consensus for the participation of German soldiers.”27 On 28 November the coalition reaffirmed its earlier recommendation and sent it forward to the Bundestag for “advice and consent.”28 By that time even Scharping himself was recommending approval. On 2-3 December the Alliance 90/Greens held a special party conference in Bremen to debate “the participation of German Blue Helmet units in UN peace operations under narrowly proscribed parameters….” And as the press reported, for the first time in the history of the party it carefully distanced itself from the strict pacifism platform. Although the official party position continued to oppose any use of combat forces in peace support operations, the party decided in essence to allow the members of parliament to “vote their conscience” on the Bosnia decision.29
On 6 December 1995, just over five months after the first decision, the Bundestag voted on the second major “out-of-area” operation for the Bundeswehr. This time the vote was 543 for, 107 against, and 6 abstentions. In the course of five short months, and with a nearly two-month summer recess, the coalition had pulled in 157 more votes in favor of German participation. In essence, they had garnered 202 votes in addition to their own coalition members. Although circumstances had changed, both internally and externally, it appears undeniable that the nature of the domestic debate had also changed from the vote on 30 June to the vote on 6 December. As one keen observer of German politics wrote:

For the first vote the question asked by the media was: would enough FDP MPs defect to deprive the government of a majority? (The government was already asking the more astute question: how many Social Democrats and even Greens would defect to swell the government majority?) By the second vote the only question was how many more Social Democrats and Greens would defect.30


hat does all this tell us about the changing security role of Germany in the post-Cold War world?

  • Is it true that “the normalization of German foreign policy has already begun” (as Gordon argued)?
  • Or is Germany “still far from being a ‘normal’ international actor” (as Meiers argued)?
From the evidence presented here it seems clear that the process of normalization is underway and perhaps even accelerating. But it is just that, a process. Normalization of German foreign and security policy is not a single event or decision, not even two or three. It is a process that will play itself out over time with an ebb and flow; at times it will appear to gain momentum while at other times it will lose it. Factors both internal and external to Germany will affect the ebb and flow of this process, as we have seen already.
Given that interaction, it is virtually impossible to say exactly how the normalization process will unfold and in precisely what time frame. But it appears that movement is well underway, judging by the growing parliamentary majorities and the increasing acceptance of the fact that the new Germany will have to play a greater international role, including active participation in operations involving the use of military force.
I believe that Gordon, writing in late-1993 and early 1994, was essentially correct. What he observed were some early indicators of a slow-moving process of evolution toward normalization. Yet it is not entirely accurate to say that Meiers was therefore incorrect. The strange play of events and decision-making processes he observed in late-1994 and early 1995 are certainly indicators of continued “exceptionalism.” Viewed in the light of those events, Gordon’s thesis may appear somewhat overstated. But the light of events discussed here, particularly those that took place after Meiers wrote his analysis, brings us back to the essential accuracy of Gordon’s observation: the process has begun, and in 1995 it appeared to be gaining momentum.
But before we leave this point, it is worth considering that the two theses are not really mutually exclusive. On the one hand are those who believe with Gordon that the process of normalization has begun, while on the other hand are those who believe with Meiers that Germany is “still far from being a ‘normal’ international actor.” On the basis of the arguments presented here, both statements are essentially correct. Germany is not abandoning all of the core policies and characteristics that have comprised its exceptionalism, such as its emphasis on collective interests and multilateralism. It remains characterized by a “culture of restraint” and a desire to avoid a “re-nationalization” of its foreign and security policy. It is not seeking out opportunities to flex its new military muscles, and the factors (domestic and international) that help shape its policy options and choices will continue to be rather unique when compared to some of its more “normal” counterparts.31 But as Chancellor Kohl observed following the Bundestag vote of 6 December 1995, “The expectations of the international community for the reunited Germany are different from those that were directed at the old Federal Republic.”32 And, therefore, the expectations that this “new” Germany has for itself are also different. And they will continue to evolve and develop as the process of normalization unfolds and is revealed in the events and challenges of the future. Germany’s allies, including the United States, must recognize this fact, and work together with its leaders to ensure that consistent progress in the direction of further normalization occurs. That will only be possible if a carefully executed, incremental path is followed. Expecting too much or too little from Germany will almost certainly lead to future problems within the Atlantic Alliance.
A final word on the “normalcy” issue is required. As we continue to debate the questions surrounding Germany, some general trends and developments in the United States are interesting. If one looks carefully, for example, at Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25) or the decision to lead the NATO operation in Bosnia, it is hard to avoid the impression that the United States is trying to make itself “less normal” (at least in the context we are discussing here). Efforts to constrain and limit foreign military operations, especially peace support operations, by requiring in advance full congressional debate and approval, known end-states and exit strategies (including exit dates!), seem to lead toward a convergence between an executive-led internationalist nation and a coalition-led restrained Germany.
The public mood in the United States today seems more similar than dissimilar to the mood in Germany. I am certainly not suggesting that the former is approaching previous German “exceptionalism.” But I am suggesting that what we understand normalcy to include, and hence what we expect Germany to become, may be changing. A “normal” international actor in the still emerging international system of the 21st Century, shaped and influenced by that new environment, may share much in common with a country that pursues restraint, multilateralism, and a general avoidance of the use of military force. And no matter what definition of normalcy we care to adopt, there is little likelihood that the normalization of German foreign and security policy will result in a Germany that looks and acts like Great Britain, France, or the United States.
Finally, how should the world view the prospect of this increasingly “normal” Germany? Should we view it with suspicion and fear, or welcome it as a significant contributor to post-Cold War international security and stability? In the view of this author the weight of the evidence is on the side of the latter. On balance, it seems clear that we should welcome Germany’s emergence as a more normal international actor and the contributions that it will increasingly be able to make to international security.33 It will bring important balance to the political arguments within the alliance, and in time it will make increasingly more significant contributions to the military capabilities that the alliance will need to possess. That the new Germany will occasionally be cause for some concern and will at times require more complex diplomacy than the old Federal Republic should not be the basis for opposing the normalization of German foreign and security policy.
Yet if there is a danger that should concern us, it stems less from Germany pursuing its own interests too aggressively than from the West paying too little attention to German security policy choices. The debate about NATO enlargement and recent French decisions to restructure its armed forces have the potential to leave Germany feeling somewhat alone on the frontier to the East.34 While this may be more a matter of German perception than reality, we would do well to recognize that German defense decisions will affect us all. In that regard, a normal Germany will require more, not less, attention from its transatlantic allies.
For all of its increasing normalcy, Germany will continue to exhibit strong elements of exceptionalism. It is essential that its allies recognize the coexistence of these two dimensions in German foreign and security policy and work to accommodate the tensions that will inevitably grow out of them.

©Contents copyright 1997 by Robert H. Dorff.


1. This is a slightly revised version of an article that will appear in European Security (forthcoming 1997). Support for this research was provided by the USAF Institute for National Security Studies, LTC Jeffrey A. Larsen, Director. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author.

2. For an excellent discussion of the background of this issue, see Philip H. Gordon, “The Normalization of German Foreign Policy,” Orbis, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Spring 1994), pp. 225-243 (esp. pp. 225-228). Gordon argues that “the normalization of German foreign policy has already begun.” (p. 241). For an opposing view, see Franz-Josef Meiers, “Germany: The Reluctant Power,” Survival, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Autumn 1995), pp. 82-103.

3. White Paper 1994: On the Security of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Situation and Future of the Bundeswehr , Bonn: Federal Ministry of Defence, 1994. For a more thorough review of the language in the White Paper, see Robert H. Dorff, “German Policy Toward Peace Support Operations,” in Thomas Durell Young, ed., Force, Statecraft and German Unity: The Struggle to Adapt Institutions and Practices , Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, projected publ. 1996.

4. Of course, many observers felt that no such “restrictions” existed in the first place, and that the language simply provided a convenient veil behind which to hide German unwillingness to contribute more fully to Western security.

5. Meiers, “Germany: The Reluctant Power,” p. 83.

6. Interview with the author 19 June 1995.

7. For a fuller discussion of this issue, see Dorff, “German Policy Toward Peace Support Operations,” in Force, Statecraft and German Unity, and Meiers, “Germany: The Reluctant Power,” esp. pp. 85-87.

8. Schaeuble is quoted in Meiers, p. 86, n16, citing Udo Bergdoll, “Aus Bonn ein vernebeltes Nein,” Süddeutsche Zeitung (München), 8 December 1994, and “Bonner Versteckspiel im Tornado Dilemma,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung , 9 December 1994.

9. Much of this section is based on interviews conducted by the author between 15 – 24 June 1995, in Germany.

10. Konzeptionelle Leitlinie zur Weiterentwicklung der Bundeswehr , Bonn: Informationsstab, Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, 12 July 1994.

11. This view was evident in almost all of the comments of people interviewed in the foreign and security policy community, including the CDU staff.

12. This point was made in more than one interview, including one member of the German Foreign Ministry.

13. ZDF Television Network (Mainz), reported in FBIS WEU 95 126, 30 June 1995, pp. 13 16.

14. Of course, one should note that these differences are logically related to the two offices and the different perspectives they have. Kinkel, as Foreign Minister, is expected to articulate the broader foreign policy views and to be subjected to more of the external pressures from his foreign affairs counterparts. Rühe rightly views himself as the “protector” of his soldiers, fighting to limit the scope and range of operations they might be called upon to perform. This is probably the more fundamental source of the differences as opposed to pure personality or political philosophy.

15. Der Spiegel (Hamburg), 3 July 1995, p. 28.

16. Although Scharping’s defeat represented the first time in this century that a sitting SPD party leader was ousted, it was obviously not that much of a surprise. What was more surprising, however, was the fact that Schröder was not able to gain a majority, and the position went instead to former Chancellor candidate Oscar Lafontaine. This rather surprising outcome of the leadership struggle signals the very deep fragmentation of the party.

17. This became obvious in the group discussions leading up to the parliamentary debate, as discussed below, and was mentioned by a member of the CDU foreign policy staff in an interview.

18. Süddeutsche Zeitung (München), 29 June 1995, in FBIS WEU 95 126, 30 June 1995, p. 16.

19. See The Week in Germany, 7 July 1995, p. 1.

20. Süddeutsche Zeitung (München), 1 August 1995, in FBIS WEU 95 147, 1 August 1995, p. 13.

21. See FBIS Media Note in FBIS- WEU-95 167, 29 August 1995, pp. 10-11.

22. See discussions in Dr Renate Köcher, “Unerwartete Wende,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , 14 June 1995, p. 5; and Meiers, “Germany: The Reluctant Leader,” pp. 84 85.

23. ZDF Stimmungs Barometer , 16 December 1994, quoted in Meiers, “Germany: The Reluctant Power,” n12. Meiers estimated that “[u]p to two thirds would oppose” such a mission (p. 85).

24. The Week in Germany, 7 July 1995, p. 1.

25. The Week in Germany , 17 November 1995, p. 1.

26. See Deutschland Nachrichten, 24 November 1995, p. 2.

27. Deutschland Nachrichten, 27 November 1995, p. 2.

28. Deutschland Nachrichten, 1 December 1995, p. 1.

29. Deutschland Nachrichten, 8 December 1995, p. 1.

30. Elizabeth Pond, letter to the author 11 April 1996.

31. And in this sense the strict “realist” or “neo realist” analyses of the future of German foreign and security have it wrong. German policy will be shaped by a combination of domestic and international factors, and the former will remain quite strong for some time to come.

32. Deutschland Nachrichten, 8 December 1995, p. 1.

33. This is essentially the argument made by Gordon, which can hardly be improved upon here. Gordon, pp. 241-43.

34. See editorial by Jim Hoagland, “The German Questions,” Washington Post, 2 May 1996, p. 29.


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