German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security
Edited By Robin Allers, Carlo Masala and Rolf Tamnes
Chapter 9: Germany’s New Role in NATO: Status Quo as Strategy
← 182 | 183 → Chapter 9
Germany’s New Role in NATO:Status Quo as Strategy
Even by the standards of international institutions, NATO is a peculiarly polymorphic entity.1 In part, this is of course due to the diverse membership of 28 sovereign states that all bring different histories, perspectives, and agendas to the NATO Council’s table. But on a deeper level, it is also the consequence of political design and the institution’s structure. The purpose of the Alliance is to guarantee the security of its member states. Since the nature and urgency of threats are constantly changing, so must the Alliance—at least in terms of strategy, e.g. in the definition of its goals and means. For NATO, just to exist is not enough. It can, by definition, never be a status quo institution and an effective Alliance at the same time.
The necessary adaptations, however, cannot be brought about by NATO as such; that task falls to the individual member states. The most powerful allies – be it in terms of military, economic, and political strength or because of crucial geopolitical position – carry most of that responsibility for the adaptability and the effectiveness of NATO. It is in this context that the foreign and security policy of Germany in recent years deserves special consideration.
This chapter seeks to explore Germany’s NATO strategy in three steps. First, I will reflect on the strategic history of the Alliance and how German policy contributed or at least related to...
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