Germany and the RMA

Article excerpt

Germany presents a different case than France. Germany has had no bold strategic military project defining its existence as a postwar state. The new Federal Republic of Germany has sought to find itself within a new Europe and in close alliance with the United States. The struggle for reunification has been its strategic objective.

With the end of the Cold War and the process of reunification, a new Germany at the heart of a new Europe is emerging. What kind of strategic concept makes sense for the new Germany? What kind of European policy? What kind of policy toward the United States is required for German leadership within the new Europe? And what role does military power play for the new Germany within the new Europe and the new Alliance?

A revolution in military affairs can take root in Germany only in the context of a strategic project for Germany and Europe. It also requires rethinking the military instrument within German and allied policy.

The Context of Change

Upheaval characterizes the new Europe. This upheaval brings with it the need to create a new order (such as existed after the Vienna Congress). Interests must be balanced. Security, in the sense of the absence of violence, remains a central issue. At the same time, transnational trends in economics and technology must be recognized. A unifying imperative has arisen in Europe that drives states to transfer sovereignty and core competencies to Europeanwide organizations. Integration in the West is very advanced, with NATO and the EU providing the cornerstone, yet a core of national sovereignty will remain.

The idea of a "United States of Europe," once vociferously propagated by Chancellor Kohl, no longer finds his support. He maintains that he underestimated the loyalties held by the peoples of Europe for their respective nation-states. A "Europe of the Fatherlands," integrated where possible and appropriate, is the best way to describe the currently predominant perspective.

The decisive measure of integration's continued success will be whether the Euro functions or not. If monetary union works, European integration, including a European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), however construed, will receive a significant boost. If not, European integration will experience a major setback.

Germany was prepared to transfer national sovereignty rights to a supranational institution, to a Political union, to a greater degree than practically any other member of the EU, but Germany's partners, particularly France and Great Britain, were not ready for this. Consequently, Germany was compelled to take a new approach, seeking pragmatic advances in the direction of further cooperation, coordination, and harmonization, with the long-term hope of arriving at the desired level of integration. Maintaining close ties with the United States has a key role in this approach. (1)

It is important to underline that for Germany, strengthening a European armaments and technology basis and a European defense identity does not have the goal of excluding the United States. Rather, it is directed at creating the conditions for an enduring--and perhaps more balanced--partnership with the United States. Germany's thinking is that the United States will remain interested in Europe over the long run only if Europe presents itself as an attractive partner.

Germany insists that the cooperation or merger of companies occurs only among private, nonstate-owned operations. British companies, aside from a few exceptions, are better prospects than French state-owned ones.

Perceptions of Risks and Challenges

Developments in Russia need to be closely watched, as do developments in the Baltic Republics and tile Baltic Sea, the maintenance of an independent Ukraine and the implications of a Russia without the historical Rus or Kiev, and the situation in the Caucasus. Can a revisionist policy be excluded over the long run? …