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German Debates

November 22, 2012 | Germany: A Casual Bystander

Turkey has requested NATO members to deploy Patriot missiles close to its Syrian border. ++ The inquiry has generated a lively debate in Germany. ++ The Foreign Ministry stressed that Turkey´s request should be approved while the political …More

June 13, 2012 | Berating Berlin is Detrimental to Europe

Spain is now viewed as part of a wider struggle to rescue Europe, with Germany portrayed as the villain. ++ Intellectuals are calling for Berlin to take measures that may lead to political radicalization. ++ From Berlin’s view, it is …More

June 4, 2012 | A Pillar of Freedom: As US Retreats, Germany Needs to Play Larger Role in Preserving the Liberal World Order

Germany has had enormous luck over the last few decades; the conditions for its success were essentially guaranteed by others. But Berlin can no longer rely on the …More

April 10, 2012 | A Compass for the CSDP

The European Union’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) is intended to enable Europe to actively pursue peace in its neighborhood. From the beginning, it has been a key concern of the Social Democrats’ policy on Europe. Emerging from EU impotence …More

February 28, 2012 | Germany is Now the America of Europe: Hated

Why not exclude ethnic origins from reporting on the Eurocrisis? ++ Hardly a day goes by in Greece without Chancellor Angela Merkel being depicted in a Nazi uniform. ++ Germany will not see a good deal of the €130 billion it …More

February 27, 2012 | Between Solidarity and Solidity: No Reason for Berlin to Boost the ESM

Hans F. Bellstedt: Increasing the European Stability Mechanism is matter of European solidarity and not financial common sense. Germany is being left to take the risk against its own interests and there is little evidence that this “Bazooka-strategy” will work. …More

July 29, 2011 | Germany's Green Energy Quandary

Birgit Hütten: Most Germans support replacing nuclear energy with renewables. But renewable energy is expensive, and many who live near production facilities oppose it. Now, Germany must reconcile the social desirability of green energy with individual citizens’ opposition to its enormous costs. …More

July 6, 2011 | What is Wrong with Germany?

Germany’s economy is humming, its exports are at an all time high, and its corporations are among the most dynamic in the world. ++ And yet, Germany finds itself isolated from the global community. It sits on the sidelines while its closest …More

May 30, 2011 | Merkel's Nuclear Revolution

Germany announced a brand new energy strategy, a reversal of the government’s previous policy. ++ According to the new energy plan, nuclear power will be phased out by 2022 at the latest. ++ Despite an expected “massive increase in the use of …More

April 18, 2011 | The Pitfalls of Suspending Conscription

Nina-Birke Glonnegger: In its most ambitious military reform of all time, Germany has decided to suspend conscription this July in favor of an all-volunteer force. With this step, Germany is on a path familiar to many other NATO member states. …More

December 7, 2010 | The Cancun Conference Gives Combating Climate Change a Chance

Editorial Team: Even though talks in Cancun had not been expected to result in much, a last-minute, surprise agreement now gives new hope to the fight against climate change. Enthusiastic about the agreement reached among the major global players, German policymakers are intent on picking up the baton and resuming the lead in the battle against global warming. However, it remains the subject of much debate whether the results of the Cancun summit truly herald a turning point in climate matters. While some politicians seem content, critics caution that, unless there is a legally binding agreement, little true progress will have been made. …More

December 7, 2010 | Wikileaks: True Drama and Trying Times for Diplomats

Editorial Team: Worldwide audiences got glimpses behind the curtains of U.S. embassies around the world with the publication of the second round of documents by Wikileaks. Most German diplomats and politicians however refused to be swept along by the media hype and stressed the importance of the transatlantic partnership. The real dilemma faced by diplomacy in the digital age is how to maintain the secrecy of sensitive data and protect the trust essential to the successful conduct of daily business. …More

November 24, 2010 | Afghan Drugs Cause Headache for Americans and Russians Alike

Editorial Team: Today both Americans and Russians appear to be hostage to Afghanistan’s opium problem. However, despite recent joint attempts to curtail drug trafficking, Washington and Moscow still view the Afghan drug problem from different angles. NATO fears that interference with poppy cultivation would drive impoverished farmers into insurgents’ arms. Russia argues that it is the drug trade which is financing terrorism in the first place. Germany meanwhile places its bets on an opt-out program for Taliban fighters. Only one thing seems clear: Dealing with the drug problem will be crucial to promoting development in Afghanistan and facilitating NATO’s withdrawal. …More

November 24, 2010 | Getting History Straight: The German Foreign Office and its Past

Editorial Team: One popular myth of Germany’s post-war period unraveled in the last days of October: a new detailed scientific inquiry into the Foreign Office’s history under the Nazi regime did away with the notion that the “Auswärtiges Amt” had not been engaged in German crimes against humanity during the Third Reich, or even operated in a mode of bureaucratic resistance. Most remarkably, however, today’s Foreign Office very openly embraced the results of the historians’ report. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s unambiguous acceptance of the study’s findings created interest throughout the world, and sparked some debate at home. …More

November 24, 2010 | NATO's Lisbon Summit: Getting the Russians on Board

Editorial Team: NATO’s Holy Grail remains the elusive vision of – and a workable strategy for – a future alliance that will succeed in uniting the strategic interests of the Americans, the Europeans, and increasingly the Russians. This quest is rendered more difficult by the recent U.S. mid-term elections, which returned a Republican majority to the House. Conservative preference for NATO enlargement does not bode well for deeper cooperation with the Kremlin. Nevertheless, policymakers in NATO countries hope that the outcome of the Lisbon Summit will strengthen the Alliance’s new relationship with Moscow in the long run. …More

October 25, 2010 | Energizing the Energy Debate - From Gorleben to Desertec

Editorial Team: The specifics of Germany’s energy policy have led to intense discussion in the wake of the adoption of the Federal Government’s new energy concept. The continued reliance on nuclear energy embraced in the policy brought many environmentalists back out in full force. Opponents of the exploration of a nuclear waste disposal site at Gorleben are holding protests and calling for acts of sabotage. Meanwhile, efforts to promote the cause of renewables are ongoing, as the Foreign Office hopes to secure greater interest in the Desertec project. …More

October 25, 2010 | Twenty Years After Reunification: Whither the New Germany?

Editorial Team: In Bremen in early October, Germans from all over the country gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their country’s reunification. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel reminded her countrymen of the heavy burden borne especially by East Germans after the fall of the Berlin Wall. With his speech on the occasion, the new Federal President, Christian Wulff, inadvertently touched off a stormy debate on the state of social integration in present day Germany. In many ways, this preoccupation with social cohesion underscores that the formative process of a new German national identity continues twenty years after unification. …More

October 25, 2010 | Germany Elected into UN Security Council

Editorial Team: Germany’s foreign policy received a significant boost in October. During the next two years, the Federal Republic will occupy a seat at the UN Security Council table. Berlin is very much aware of the responsibility that comes with this honor. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is particularly dedicated to promoting nuclear disarmament in this context. The Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, also stressed that Germany’s new status in the United Nations would allow her country to become even more effective in promoting international peace and security. On behalf of all UN member states, Germany would more actively pursue much-needed reforms of the UN Security Council. …More

October 25, 2010 | Terror Alerts and German Involvement in Afghanistan

Editorial Team: Increasing violence in the northern part of Afghanistan where German troops are stationed, has kept the war on the minds of most Germans. One German soldier and the governor of the Kunduz province were among this month’s fatalities. Reports on the activities of German terror suspects and travel alerts to U.S. citizens in Europe further underlined how interlinked events along the Hindu Kush and Germany remain. In the meantime, many Germans are beginning to wonder if part of all this is media hype or whether it represents a real threat to their national and personal security. …More

September 22, 2010 | The Sarrazin Case: Demography and Immigration in Germany

Editorial Team: In view of a declining and aging population, German businesses will increasingly need to attract young talent and professionals from abroad, lest they risk Germany’s competitive position in world markets. Against this backdrop, the controversy that erupted over Thilo Sarrazin’s book carries far greater significance than might be apparent at first. How Germany deals with its immigrant population will determine not only its internal stability and economic prosperity, but also how well the country will be poised to deal with foreign policy challenges arising from parts of the Muslim world, be it Afghanistan or the question of Turkey’s EU accession. …More

September 22, 2010 | The Government's New Energy Concept: Nuclear vs. Renewable Energy

Editorial Team: The most important political event in September was the German Government’s publication of its “revolutionary” energy program draft. The plan intends to set the tone for German energy policy up to the year 2050. The controversial extension of running times for nuclear power plants aims at preserving nuclear energy as a bridging technology, paving the way for the full-scale deployment of renewables. The goal is to eventually have green technologies provide for up to 80 percent of Germany’s energy needs. The “energy concept” is key to Germany’s international competitiveness and profoundly affects the country’s global leadership in the sphere of renewable energy. …More

September 22, 2010 | German Exports to Keep Economy Going Strong

Editorial Team: A meeting at the German Foreign Office brought together the heads of its 228 foreign bureaus and leading members of the German business community. The reunion highlighted the central importance of exports for Germany’s economic health and foreign policy posture. As a resource poor country, Germany must rely heavily on the strength of its export sector to remain competitive internationally. Indeed, in spite of the financial crisis, German firms have performed astonishingly well: With the annual GDP growth rate expected to reach 3.5 percent, Germany’s economic strength remains the motor behind Europe’s political salience on the world stage. It is also crucial to Germany’s continued attractiveness as a reliable partner for U.S. policies. …More

September 22, 2010 | German Armed Forces: From Conscription to Volunteer Force?

Editorial Team: Germany is ready to take on its share of responsibility in matters of international security. Not least to this end, the country’s military is to be reformed and turned into an all-volunteer force. That is easier said than done, however, since conscription constitutes an integral part of Germany’s post-war identity. Not surprisingly, the Bundeswehr reform proposed by the Minister of Defense zu Guttenberg is turning into a passionate debate on the country’s role in an increasingly globalized world and its vision of the future. …More

August 29, 2010 | International Floods and Fires Raise Climate Change Concerns

Editorial Team: If something can go wrong, it will. Distressing news of natural disasters seem to confirm this adage, from the wildfires raging out of control near Russian nuclear sites and floods bringing devastation to Pakistan. The pessimistic soothsayers, long dismissed as eccentric extremists, are rejoicing: While climate change may very well destroy us, we were right to worry about it in the first place. As the Russian fires and the Pakistan floods amply demonstrate, climate change can endanger us in more ways than one …More

August 29, 2010 | Setting Sail for Cancun - The Bonn Climate Talks

Editorial Team: The United Nations Climate Change Conference (2-6 August 2010) in Bonn highlighted growing international concerns over reaching an agreement on climate policy soon. For Germany, the many recent natural disasters led to a growing realization that Berlin will have to take the lead in climate talks. A study by the German Foundation for Science and Politics pointed to the necessity of a paradigm change in order to restructure the debate. Meanwhile, economic and environmental interests clashed once again over the Minster for the Environment’s ambitious emissions-reduction plans. …More

August 29, 2010 | Wikileaks Enlivens Debate Surrounding Afghanistan Deployment

Editorial Team: A new UN report detailing a shocking increase in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and the mysterious murder of a German doctor helped keep the German contribution to ISAF in the headlines this August. So did the decision of TIME magazine to feature the disfigured face of an Afghan girl on its cover. The documents released by Wikileaks further fed into the debate, as ironically both opponents and supporters of the mission claimed them as evidence to buttress their respective positions. …More

July 26, 2010 | Progressing Toward a Responsible Transition in Afghanistan

Editorial Team: Reactions to the International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul highlight the deep divisions in German society regarding the mission. Germany is the third-largest contributor to ISAF and fields over 4,000 soldiers. With material and human costs rising, the German public is growing increasingly wary of the war. Not surprisingly, the announcement of the 2014 withdrawal has spawned renewed debate on the future of the mission. German politicians face tough choices: on the one hand, they must pay heed to the public’s concerns, while on the other hand they cannot risk losing sight of Germany’s security interests. …More

July 26, 2010 | Germany Shares Obama's Vision of Global Zero

Editorial Team: Germans might well have heaved a sigh when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted in May that much like 65 years ago, the world today still lives in the shadow of the nuclear arms race. With nuclear weapons still stationed on their soil, Germans find themselves fighting the legacy of yet another war: the Cold War. Beyond the concerns raised by individual citizens, the question remains whether nuclear weapons add fundamentally to the defensive capacities of states or alliances like NATO in the twenty-first century. …More

July 26, 2010 | Nuclear Tax Heats Up Climate Debate

Editorial Team: It was perhaps the unprecedented heat wave in July that lent the ongoing debate on global warming a new note of urgency in Germany. A new study advocated that the ordinary German eat less meat and consume less dairy products. That alone could lead to a whopping 80 percent reduction of CO2 emissions related to agriculture by 2055. Even low-emissions energy producers like nuclear power came under fire in July. The German government announced that it intends to impose a new tax on nuclear fuel elements in 2011. The government wishes to use the additional income to reduce the deficit, while its critics would rather see the money benefit the development of clean energy. …More


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