Rethinking German Foreign Policy

Unser Senior Associate Adam Steinhouse hat die deutsche Debatte über die Zukunft deutscher Außenpolitik und Diplomatie für ein internationales Publikum aufbereitet und bewertet.

„Außenpolitik weiter denken“ hat sich zu einem Benchmark-Prozess entwickelt, an dem auch Die Strategiemanufaktur mitgewirkt hat. Adam Steinhouse schreibt:

„In the autumn of 2014, Germany was the most innovative EU member state in rethinking its foreign policy. The German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier led a wide-ranging year-long review project from 2014 to 2015 which asked two deliberately provocative questions: „What, if anything, is wrong with German foreign policy? What needs to be changed?“ Events were held throughout Germany and beyond, including a workshop in London which I attended.

The result both of the workshop and of the entire review was a call for a new German foreign policy strategy to set the „limits of German capabilities for the next ten or twenty years.“ Steinmeier wrote: „foreign policy is much more than good crisis management — and has to be much more, for the sake of our own interests, too.“ He underlined that European integration remained the foundation of all German foreign policy and that Germany was only capable of acting within a European framework.

Events in the past two years have not altered the recognition of Germany’s role in the EU, nor its approach to foreign policy. The lack of a solution to the current EU refugee crisis might modify the application of German foreign policy principles, but for many politicians and officials in Germany the principles themselves remain valid. The problem for Germany now is that a weak EU undermines the position of Germany to act, what Josef Janning, of the European Council on Foreign Relations thinktank, refers to as the „EU’s lack of leverage capacity for German foreign policy.“ The foreign policy review of 2014-2015 concluded that „a positive and productive role for Germany in international politics exists only in and through Europe.“ The reality in 2016 is that Germany only wins if the rest of Europe is united in the same project.“

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