The Platform


Since the war in Ukraine, there has been a superficial and dishonest debate on foreign policy in Germany. Although we always talk about values, there is still no foreign policy consensus. When matters deteriorate, America has to be the judge. It is no coincidence that “Ami, go home!” has become a popular slogan. After all, every second person has advantages over America, according to a 2018 study by the Allensbach Institute.

It was particularly absurd that, according to the same survey, Vladimir Putin was trusted more than American presidents. That shows the basic attitude of the Germans very well: they don’t have to be a fan of America, but they should be more distrustful of Putin, an ex-KGB officer.

Germany’s present peace is due to America and NATO. They gave us a protective shield – a truth that many Germans don’t want to hear. Since the election is more important than informing citizens about foreign policy, shouldn’t one be surprised that one can no longer contribute to foreign policy or even security policy and is only referred to in terms of the balance sheet? One prefers not to hear that foreign policy also incorporates geopolitics and security interests with the military since many Germans have problems with the army. Their equipment and leaders are considered by many a farce.

Yes, one can admit that others protect our security and debates about feminist foreign policy or blind pacifism and even abolish conscription, as Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg did in 2011. Our army is called the Bundeswehr because everything related to the military is rejected.

That’s what happens when you fail to talk about foreign policy goals in greater society. Supporting Ukraine alone was such a farce, but equipping soldiers in Afghanistan didn’t really work either. That’s also because we have a strong peace movement like Linke. We have 3 parties on the left in the Bundestag and it is difficult to talk to them about armaments or operations.

Mantras like “change through trade” are said prayer wheel-like. That means you network with countries to demand democracy and prevent wars, a strategy that works somewhat effectively until large-scale events such as the war in Ukraine. But there are other nations, namely China, Belarus, and Iran, where the mantra just didn’t work. Now that there has been a rethink at times, many think it will last for a long time. I’m rather skeptical about that.

After all, there is already a criticism of the upgrade and equipment. And of course, you can see it critically, but the same doesn’t see other issues critically. It seems to be a pacific reflex.

The €100 billion payment would not have been necessary if one had not given up on defense, for example, the NATO 2% target. But something else was always more important. It will be interesting to see how things continue. You just don’t believe it when you hear so many debates in the Bundestag. But it is also about energy security, a critical issue in the near future. The so-called energy transition was made to display Germany’s strength to the world, but the Russian pipelines should have been terminated when Crimea was occupied. After all, many warned Germany about the potential consequences.

We can thank the politicians for making us the fools of Europe. The migration and refugee policy also seem more significant than it really is.

Islamic terror is becoming more common in Europe. Here, too, Germany has failed. In addition, Germany is completely dependent on Russia for gas but also on China for technology. What will happen if China attacks Taiwan?

Oftentimes, Germany has tried to reconcile two ultimately mutually exclusive goals: belonging to the Western world while doing business with any regime, NATO protection without appropriate payment, energy security without nuclear power for fear of debate, moral superiority over other countries when preaching unity.

Germany’s previous policies of appeasement have led many people to see the negotiations as a sign of weakness and continue to shroud national foreign policy in mystery.

Germany needs an open debate on what foreign policy means and what should guide it — economy, values, or something else entirely. But this is a long way away. Even if it is implemented, the average citizen faces a challenge that seems particularly difficult in Germany: they must endure opinions that they don’t like.

Eva Kneifel is studying Politics and History at FernUniversität Campus Hagen.