Post-Unification German Security Policy and Interdependence Theory

Posted in Economics, Germanophilia on April 30th, 2001 by Дмитрий

One of the most persistent problems facing today’s Germany involve obtaining acceptance by her neighbors and peers as a major international player; a Big Power, if you will. Whether facing criticism for her foreign policy or complaints about the liberal trade and economic policy she espouses, misunderstanding Germany is a key characteristic in today’s international relations. In a way, Germano-skepticism has existed for over one hundred years. British imperial rhetoric at the turn of the century often described Germany as the most dangerous threat to British hegemony, and French ambitions for European cultural hegemony have often felt threatened by the preeminence of German influence over the continent. Though few would be willing to forgive Germany her role in this century’s two devastating World Wars, her post-War record has still not managed to secure her the liberty to play the role any other state in such a position would likely take. With unification and the fall of Soviet primacy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Germany has been offered an enormous opportunity to spread Western influence and affluence throughout the region. Despite the huge costs of reunification in the midst of a regional economic slump, Germany faces no realistic economic rival in Europe, and the size of her population and their productive power are still the envy of every other major European state.

Still, there remain significant roadblocks in the near future which will continue to prevent Germany from assuming a global, or even regional, role befitting her statistical great power status. These include a reluctance on the part of France to give up her preeminent position as Europe’s center of gravity, a continued paranoia throughout the Anglo-American and Eastern Slavic realms of any signs of German national power, and the reluctance of Germany’s people and leaders to take the initiative necessary to pivot their nation into the position awaiting it as regional leader and global player.

Interdependence theory is an important foundation for understanding Germany¯s place in the current geopolitical context. Because it is rooted in classic liberalism and the understanding of the modern trading state, interdependence is capable of explaining many of the theoretical bases upon which the behavior of successive German governments and the population of Germany itself rests since the Second World War. In this paper, I will examine the relationship between German foreign and security policy and interdependence theory. My goal is to demonstrate that interdependence theory is the most accurate representation of the theoretical basis for contemporary German foreign and security policy, and also show the outcomes of such a theoretical foundation in the visible direction such policy has taken. Because it is the most important foreign policy matter for Germany today, I will place special emphasis upon the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia. By examining Germany¯s role in this matter, I intend to relate how this reflects her role as a supporter of Western institutions, and what it promises for the future. Finally, Germany’s position in Europe and the world will continue their slow and tricky ascent towards regional and global power in the years to come, and this paper is also intended to answer those questions regarding whether Germany’s spotless post-War liberal record is in danger because of this ascent.

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