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Common or Divided Security?

German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security

Edited By Robin Allers, Carlo Masala and Rolf Tamnes

Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, Euro-Atlantic security is under pressure. Faced with major geopolitical shifts, instability at its frontiers and financial crisis at home, the European nations and their American Allies will have to rethink how to design common security. Failure to animate the European Union (EU) and to reinvigorate the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as efficient tools for peace and security might lead the West back to the spectre of divided security, to fragmentation and renationalisation. This book addresses the main challenges to Western security from the perspective of two European Allies: Germany and Norway.
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Chapter 9: Germany’s New Role in NATO: Status Quo as Strategy

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Germany’s New Role in NATO:Status Quo as Strategy

Patrick Keller

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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