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S. And many EU countries are seeking to isolate Iran's leaders as pariahs" (Weinthall, 2011, p. 9). Once again, Germany chose to protect its own economic interest and global diplomatic effectiveness rather than kowtow to the interests of its allies. However, perhaps even more galling (at least to the United States and Israel) is the fact that Germany "supported a Lebanese sponsored UN Security Council resolution which condemned Israeli settlement construction as 'illegal'" soon after its election to a temporary seat on the Security Council (it failed in its bid for a permanent seat in 2005, which The Economist presciently predicted would allow Angela Merkel to overtake then-Chancellor Schroder). It is worth pointing out the symbolic importance of Germany's support for the UN resolution, because it is in the end almost entirely symbolic. Israel's settlements are already illegal under international law, so Germany's vote served more to establish itself as an independent voice on the Security Council than to precipitate any change in Israel's illegal colonization of the captured Palestinian territories.
Germany's opposition to U.S. And Israeli desires would not be enough to demonstrate it independence, but Germany's decision to refrain from the NATO campaign in Libya does, because the country decided to refrain even when "its closest NATO and European Union allies united to avert a bloodbath on Europe's doorstep, backed by the UN and Libya's Arab neighbours" ("The unadventurous eagle; German foreign policy," The Economist, 2011). The importance of this decision cannot be overstated, because it finally revealed to the entire world the lesson that should have been taken from Germany's decision regarding the Iraq war; namely, the fact that the Germany of the 21st century is what The Economist characterizes as "a changed Germany, one of sharp elbows, shallow loyalties and short-sighted reckoning, which will be harder to live with than the more reliable ally of old."
Germany's abstention from the Libya invasion led the European Council on Foreign Relations to declare that "the country is pursuing a new "non-aligned foreign policy,'" something that should have been clear when Chancellor Schroder made his remarks regarding Germany's self-confidence in 2005 ("The unadventurous eagle; German foreign policy," The Economist, 2011). Thus, Germany's decision regarding Libya has finally revealed to all that its foreign policy over the last decade has focused almost exclusively on its own interests.
It seems reasonable to presume that Germany's policies will continue for at least the next five years, even if it contributes to international instability, because the country has been served well by its "non-aligned foreign policy." Its allies cannot afford to sever ties completely, and Germany's economy is strong enough that it can support itself without having to look to others for much aid. Furthermore, its behavior over the last ten years, and its subsequent success, shows that the country has little incentive to change the course of its foreign policy.
As has already been demonstrated in the analysis of Germany's foreign policy over the last en years, the attitude of its allies, neighbors, and the major member countries of international organizations of which Germany is a part has been one of disappointed confusion. Its allies have consistently been surprised and dismayed by Germany's foreign policies, but none have had the gumption to confront Germany in a meaningful way. Thus, as the global instability increases as a result of economic and democratic pressures, it seems likely that Germany's international relationships will become increasingly frosty.
According to this analysis, Germany's foreign policies in the past, present and the attitudes of other countries contribute negatively to international stability because cooperation is decreasing as countries increasingly look out for their own interests. Although Germany allied itself closely with its European neighbors, the United States, and NATO following its reunification after the collapse of the Soviet Union, over the last ten years the country has become increasingly self-confident and independent in its foreign policy decisions and objectives, creating a rift between not only itself and the United States but its other allies as well.
Although its decision to refrain from invading Iraq made it appear that Germany was favoring Europe over the United States, in fact this was one of the early instances of Germany choosing its own interests over others'. This reality was finally revealed with Germany's decisions to support Lebanon's resolution condemning Israeli settlements and its abstention from NATO's bombing campaign in Libya. Germany is likely to continue these foreign policies at least five years into the future, and the unhappiness of its allies and neighbors will likely do little dissuade the country from following its own foreign policy interests, thus leading to further international instability.
Anonymous. (2011, May 14). Europe: the unadventurous eagle;
German foreign policy. The Economist, 399(8733), 48.
Hellmann, Gunther. (2009). Fatal attraction: german foreign policy and ir/foreign policy theory. Journal of International Relations and Development, 12(3), 257-292.
Overhaus, Marco. (2005). German foreign policy and the shadow of the past. SAIS Review, 25(2), 27-41.
Schroder, Gerhardt. (2005, July 16). Europe: rebalancing, not realigning; german foreign policy. The Economist, 376(8435), 35.
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