Home/Daniel Larison/Guilting Germany Into a More Aggressive Foreign Policy (III)

Guilting Germany Into a More Aggressive Foreign Policy (III)

Patrick Keller and Gary Schmitt also want Germany to have a more activist and meddlesome foreign policy:

What Germany needs is a broader public debate about the country’s role in the world. But that debate has to be led by actual decision-makers—starting with Chancellor Merkel and her ministers. More importantly, such a debate needs to produce tangible results. Germany should contribute earlier and more decisively to stabilizing the European periphery—in North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe [bold mine-DL].

Judging from the horrible consequences of recent Western interventions in at least two of these three areas, Germans should be extremely skeptical of any argument that tries to link a more active military role for Germany with “stabilizing” anything. Germany has not joined some of its Western allies in invading one country (Iraq) and in bombing another (Libya) in the last decade, and it has been reluctant to lend much support to other allied military missions in recent years, but it’s absurd to say that earlier and more decisive German involvement in any of these places would have contributed to stability. It’s not as if the Iraq war was a debacle because Germany failed to participate, nor would German interests or regional stability have been served if the Bundeswehr had been part of the occupation. Wars for regime change are inherently destabilizing, so how would taking part in such things contribute to stability?

Indeed, virtually all Western interventions of the last twenty years have resulted in greater instability in the regions that they have supposedly “stabilized,” which is what one would expect to happen when major powers choose to wage wars in other countries. Almost all of the governments that were foolish enough to be roped into participating in these wars regretted doing so, and yet somehow Germany is supposed to be shamed into following their example. Fortunately for Germany, there is enough a broad consensus against this sort of thing that I doubt very much that German foreign policy will become as aggressive as so many Westerners unwisely wish it to be.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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