Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

Synopsis

Revolutionary changes in global and European politics have reawakened old fears that Europe will be dominated by an unpredictable German giant. The same changes have fueled new hopes for Germany and Europe as models of political pluralism in a peaceful and prosperous world. In fact, Peter J. Katzenstein explains, the current reality is too complex to fit either expectation. Katzenstein contends that a multilateral institutionalization of power is the most distinctive aspect of the relationship between Europe and Germany. Only the observer who is aware of this important fact can understand why Germany is willing to give up its new sovereign power. Although Germany is larger than any other member of the European Union and plays a crucial role in the economic and political life of Eastern Europe, its power is now funneled through the institutions of the European Union rather than erupting in a narrow, power-defined sense of national self-interest. The empirical chapters of this book explore the institutionalization of power relations between the European Union and Germany, as well as the relations of Germany and the European Union with most of the smaller European states.

Excerpt

The end of the Cold War and bipolarity has elevated the importance of the role that international regions play in world politics. This is one of two volumes. Network Power: Japan and Asia is a companion to Tamed Power: Germany in Europe which also explores the role of regions in world politics.

Although this book is about European politics, it is informed by a comparative perspective. What in Germany and Europe looks quite natural is from a non-European vantage point noteworthy. Although neither peace nor prosperity requires it, Germany and Europe are seeking an ambitious level of formal, institutional unity. General models focusing on the balance of power in the international system or the effects of global markets are unlikely to help us understand what seems distinctive about the politics of specific world regions. Contextualized, regional analyses that link regional factors to global, national, and local ones are more likely to prove useful.

There exist two views of the relationship between Germany and Europe. Robert Harris in his thriller Fatherland (New York, 1992) depicts Germany ruling Europe indirectly. Although in Harris's novel Germany won World War II, military domination is less important than political and economic hegemony:

In the West, twelve nations -- Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland -- had been corralled by Germany, under the Treaty of Rome, into a European trading bloc. . . . People drove German cars, listened to German radios, watched German televisions, worked in German-owned factories, moaned about the behavior of German tourists in German-dominated holiday resorts. (p. 176) . . .

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