Wulf-W. Lapins


From the beginning oft he „old“ Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, until its end with the Day of German Unity in 1990, a ghost haunted the political circles responsible for and interested in foreign policy: the spirit of defence capability, which was considered precarious, because it was fixated on the permanent threat of a possible military attack by the USSR. Officially, these perceptions of threat could be found in the eight White Papers published by the Ministry of Defence from 1969 until 1985, in studies written by politically high-ranking German defence experts, sometimes alarmingly in both in print media and in publications by former high-ranking NATO servicemembers and German staff officers. Compared with this, today security policy is understood as the entirety of all measures taken in the process of prevention, avoidance and management of crises, conflicts and peace-endangering developments. Society is assigned to critically discourse the realignment of the German foreign and security policy with politics. The following topics ought to be focussed on:

1. Germany’s power in Europe can be compared with the power oft he USA in the NATO, but a comparable exercise of power is not the interest of Germany and thus must not be adopted even on demand. For the European nations on the continent, the USA have always been a reensuring actor for balance of power, although never without any own interests. America’s willingness for taking over responsibility for Europe forever and unbroken is decreasing. It is Germany’s duty to accept its growing role reliably and conscientiously. This also means: In the cycle of trusting cooperation by dialogue, coordination of partners, compromise by conflating of different attitudes, transparency of decisions, and inclusion of especially also the smaller EU member states, Berlin would strengthen the political coherence of the Community in a way that Brussels would be able to co-design international politics prudently and credibly as an independent actor.

2. Germany’s assistance in establishing the Court of Justice of the European Community has been an example for its investments in the further development of international legal order. With the same level of engagement German politics ought to promote the further development of „Responsibility to Protect“ as a future norm for enforcing freedom and human rights. Here, one ought to focus on development and consolidation of preventive protection responsibility.

3. In order to be able to really take over both a function of co-design and actor „with only one voice“ within international order, the EU will have to give up the principle of intergovernmentality in ist foreign and security policy in favour of supranationality. In this respect, Germany would show an important signal with its active striving for a rearrangement of the EU.