“Leadership from the Center”: German Security Policy in 2016 and Beyond

  • Colonel Peter H. Fechtel

Germany’s rise in the last five years as a regional and global leader has caused domestic and international elites to question its traditional reticence for foreign engagements. Correspondingly, the German government has begun work on a new security policy, also known as a “White Paper.” This study posits that Germany must align its new security policy to enhance its relevance as an ally and partner for regional and global stability. It examines Germany’s evolving security policy by: 1) analyzing relevant statements from German and other international leaders on the topic; 2) reviewing German security engagement over the last five years; 3) exploring the foundational components of German security thinking; 4) analyzing the current process of developing the new White Paper; and 5) considering what policy changes may be contained within the document, and the associated implications for United States policy makers. This paper concludes that Germany’s proclivity for engagement within international organizations will increasingly make it impossible for Germany to remain a reluctant power. It also concludes that stability operations may be a domestically palatable way for German security engagement.