Confronting New Wars

The German Bundeswehr’s new “White Paper” is conceived as just a milestone in the ongoing development of German global policy and its instruments, according to an article published by Germany’s leading foreign policy periodical. According to the article’s two authors, who had been in charge of elaborating the “White Paper” for the German Defense Ministry, the White Paper’s explicit claim to shape global policy and policy for outer space must be implemented and “brought to life” in the near future. While the German government is initiating new projects for upgrading military and “civil defense” measures, the EU is boosting its militarization: A growing number of government leaders of EU member states are supporting the creation of an EU army under openly proclaimed German leadership. According to a leading German daily, the balance sheet of recent German military involvements is “not exactly positive,” but this should not discourage future military interventions. One should, however, not expect too much and harbor “illusions about rapid successes.”

“Shaping Global Order”

The German Bundeswehr’s new “White Paper” that was presented to the public on July 13, has already formulated more far-reaching objectives for German global policy than any of the preceding White Papers. “The horizon of Germany’s security policy is global,” the document succinctly notes and openly announces that, “due to its economic, political, and military importance,” Berlin should begin to “actively help shape the global order.” Germany is not only “prepared” to become involved, “resolutely and substantially, as a driving force in the international debate,” but also to “assume leadership” in global policymaking. Berlin’s claim to shape policy refers not only to global trade routes at sea, on land and in the air, but “explicitly also to cyber-, information- and outer space.”[1]

Just a Road Mark

The leading German foreign policy periodical “Internationale Politik” just published an article written by Brig. Gen. Carsten Breuer and Christoph Schwarz, respectively former director and former consultant of the “Project Group White Paper” in the political department of the German Ministry of Defense. Referring to the discussion process during the White Paper’s elaboration that also involved members of the political, economic and academic elite, as well as members of the religious hierarchies and the media (german-foreign-policy.com reported [2]), the two authors note, “there has hardly ever been more consensus on key issues of German security policy.”[3] However, the White Paper is by no means an “endpoint” of this development, but at best, “a road mark,” “a milestone along the road to strategically contemplate Germany’s growing international responsibility” – a commonly used term to obfuscate Germany’s global ambitions – “and to enhance its tools.” The German “policy shaping claim,” articulated in the White Paper, must now be “brought to life,” write Breuer and Schwarz. Its implementation and further development depends “largely upon how emphatically the priorities are pursued” and the relevant measures “applied.”

The EU Army

Berlin is therefore impelling these preparations not only at home – with new plans to boost its military [4] and its new “Civil Defense Conception” [5] – but at the EU level as well. During last week’s tour of the EU, in preparation of the September 16, informal summit in Bratislava, Chancellor Angela Merkel received broad support for the expansion of the EU’s military policy. We want a “new impetus for the future,” declared Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi August 22, during a joint press conference held aboard a helicopter carrier with Chancellor Merkel and France’s President François Hollande. Our main concern in the matter is “EU security, common defense, communication between the intelligence services, and enhancement of the defense industries.”[6] Then August 26, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán declared, “We need to make security our first priority and begin with the creation of a common European Army.”[7] Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had already declared “I am convinced that in the long term we won’t be able to do without a common European army.”[8] As Italy’s former Chief of the Defense General Staff Vincenzo Camporini concluded, now that Great Britain – which had constantly blocked steps toward an EU army – will be leaving the EU, the road is now clear for it to be founded.[9]

A German Europe

While the EU is facing its next boost in militarization, German dominance of the EU, which for German and other EU member states’ political establishments is already a foregone conclusion, (german-foreign-policy.com reported,[10]) is even being openly proclaimed. “Thomas Mann once said that we want a European Germany not a German Europe,” remarked Estonia’s Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, last Wednesday during the German Chancellor’s visit in Tallinn. “Today, I can say that Germany, through its being exemplary, has impelled us to become better Europeans. In a period, when Europe is suffering from crises and must make weighty decisions, I believe we need a Europe that looks more like Germany.”[11]

No Illusions

Meanwhile, a leading German daily has begun to examine Germany’s future wars, wars, in which probably other EU member states and possibly the EU Army, Berlin seeks to establish, will be fighting. In the daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, political scientist, Wilfried von Bredow recently assessed the latest wars Germany had participated in. “The balance sheet of these military missions, when taken together, is not exactly positive.”[12] Nevertheless, Berlin cannot stand on the sidelines “of local and regional military conflicts elsewhere in the world,” claims Bredow. “That only leaves, in cases when confronting military decisions … harbor no illusions of a rapid success, avoid nationalist war rhetoric or unrealistic promises to gain popular consent” and coordinate “one’s own” interests “with those of the allies” as well as with the other “powers taking part in maintaining the international order.” The German establishment is not even considering the option of staying out of future wars.

War Balance Sheet

While Berlin prepares for new wars, wars Germany has waged over the past two decades in countries of Europe, Asia and Africa have resulted in desolate conditions. german-foreign-policy.com will present a balance sheet at irregular intervals over the next few weeks.

This article originally appeared on http://www.german-foreign-policy.com, August 31, 2016. Original link.

 

[1] Weißbuch zur Sicherheitspolitik und zur Zukunft der Bundeswehr. Berlin, Juni 2016.
[2] See Modernes Strategieverständnis (I).
[3] Carsten Breuer, Christoph Schwarz: Meilenstein, kein Endpunkt. In: Internationale Politik September/Oktober 2016, S. 86-87.
[4] See Auf Weltmachtniveau.
[5] See Zivile Kriegsvorbereitung.
[6] Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel, Ministerpräsident Renzi und Präsident Hollande auf dem Flugzeugträger “Garibaldi” vor Ventotene. 22.08.2016. See Das neue Direktorium.
[7] Ungarn und Tschechien fordern europäische Armee. http://www.welt.de 26.08.2016.
[8] Sarah Dean, John Stevens: Europe needs a joint army says Czech Prime Minister after big three leaders pledge more integration between EU countries. http://www.dailymail.co.uk 23.08.2016.
[9] Giampaolo Cadalanu: Vincenzo Camporini: “Tolto il freno inglese ora l’esercito comune può diventare realtà”. http://www.repubblica.it 22.08.2016.
[10] S. dazu Leading from the Center.
[11] Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und dem Ministerpräsidenten der Republik Estland, Taavi Rõivas, in Tallinn. 24.08.2016.
[12] Wilfried von Bredow: Diese vertrackten Kriegsentscheidungen. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 22.08.2016.

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