May 7, 2012

Under German Leadership (I)


BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy experts are discussing what form "German leadership" in Europe and the world should take. Germany has "a duty to take the lead," according to the latest edition of the most influential German foreign policy journal "Internationale Politik." Several well-known experts are presenting their proposals on the role German hegemony should play. In addition to advocating Germany's global engagement for free trade and "human rights," experts are proposing that, with its "global political mission," Germany has to reconstitute "the West," i.e. an alliance with the USA. On a par with Washington, Germany should help this alliance experience a "renaissance." To achieve the necessary political weight, the EU's instruments of power should be used to have "leverage for German foreign policy interests." For the first time, with its current edition, "Internationale Politik" is launching a larger public debate on Berlin's hegemonic policy. Even though this policy is already being applied, until recently, it was officially denied, to avoid humiliating other EU countries.

Show the Direction
"Taking the Lead" is the title and focus of the current edition of "Internationale Politik." As the "European Union's most important shareholder," as its "biggest beneficiary" and particularly as an "economic powerhouse," Germany has "a duty, to take the lead," alleges the journal's editor in chief in her editorial. "Whoever leads, has to show the direction and convince the others of the chosen path,"[1] writes the editor in view of the Federal Republic of Germany's European hegemonic ambition. The journal is presenting a series of proposals for a "German leadership" role. For the first time, the Berlin establishment is launching a larger public debate on the German hegemonic policy that, so far, has been covered in official silence. "Internationale Politik" has a considerable circulation in professional circles inside and outside Germany and is seeking to attract a larger public. For several years, it is not only available by personal subscription, but can also be bought at news stands. (Minimum circulation: 6000).

Germany's Global Political Mission
Among the articles advocating Germany's global engagement for free trade and "human rights", one of the feature articles [2] stands out. It sees "Germany's global political mission" in renewing the transatlantic alliance. The author, Ulrich Speck, alleges that the Federal Republic of Germany had experienced its "best decades" within the framework "of a global liberal order guaranteed by the USA." However, he now sees this order under threat: "China, the global economy's new epicenter" could soon "challenge the rules of the liberal world order and the manner they are enforced." One can also observe a "gradual withdrawal or retreat of American power," Speck reasons, in light of the announced US focus on East Asia. ("American Pacific Century," german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) If the Federal Republic of Germany does not intervene resolutely, two scenarios could be imagined, both quite gloomy.

Chaos and Terror
At worst, according to Speck, "the withdrawal of US hegemonic power" could cause a "political power vacuum." "Wherever the overwhelming US presence is choking off any idea of power competition," "local and regional players" could become active and feud with one another. If no one is "strong enough to prevail and establish durable territorial dominance," that respective region of the world would be faced with "chaos and anarchy," similar to Somalia, today. In that case, the future would be determined by a "return to a culture of violence, long since considered outlived historically and with the development of civilization," - by "terror," "civil war" and the "certain demise of a global economy."[4]

World War Conceivable
In a second doomsday scenario, Speck outlines a future of several hegemonic powers - a "multipolar order." One should not imagine "a balance power, in which several poles of power maintain order and compete for dominance" as being "in any way peaceful and stable - and certainly not fair." One should rather expect a fierce struggle for "spheres of interests" - as in "Europe preceding World War I." "The outbreak of a major war again becomes conceivable," according to the author; "at least, proxy wars can be expected." Should a "multipolar global order" evolve, a "Darwinist competition of the strongest" would be imminent, in which "the weak would be tossed around by the strong."[5] In fact, we have long since reached a situation, in which the weaker countries have become pawns in the hands of major powers, in this archaic, western dominated world order.

The EU as Lever
To maintain Western hegemony, Speck proposes the "expansion of the Transatlantic Alliance."[6] However, the "renaissance of the West" should generate "an alliance of equals." Following a clear US domination, it is time for Germany, based on the EU, to be given more consideration. Berlin should use the EU to add new punch to its "foreign policy strategies." Brussels is the "lever" to enforce Germany's quest for power. "A new concept for the EU-US summit" is conceivable on this basis, the author continues. If the US President and Secretary of State would meet twice a year "with the heads of the EU and its six top leaders (Germany, Great Britain , France, Italy, Spain, Poland) as well as their foreign ministers (...), then all the major players would be sitting at the table." The other 21 EU members would only have a rotating representation of only two states per meeting, according to Speck. He also advocates setting up a "General Secretariat for the coordination of transatlantic foreign policy," which should become the "center of gravity for transatlantic cooperation" and insure western global domination.

Not Uncontested
The appeal for a "renaissance of the West" is not uncontested in Berlin's establishment. High ranking government advisors, including, for example, the co-editor of "Internationale Politik," are advocating a "multipolar global order," which is rejected by Speck (german-foreign-policy.com reported [7]). They also conceive of the EU playing a central role, which, according to the latest edition of "Internationale Politik," should be under "German leadership." Only one of this special issue's articles is clearly critical of the current German hegemonic policy toward solving the Euro crisis. german-foreign-policy.com will report tomorrow
.
[1] Sylke Tempel: In Führung gehen; Internationale Politik Mai/Juni 2012
[2] Ulrich Speck: Pfeiler der Freiheit. Wie Deutschlands weltpolitische Mission aussehen könnte; Internationale Politik Mai/Juni 2012
[3] see also Das pazifische Jahrhundert and The Transatlantic Future
[4], [5], [6] Ulrich Speck: Pfeiler der Freiheit. Wie Deutschlands weltpolitische Mission aussehen könnte; Internationale Politik Mai/Juni 2012
[7] s. dazu Europas Abstieg (III) and Gestalten statt verhindern

http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/58298

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