German government policy statement on security policy


Chancellor Merkel gave a government policy statement on security policy on 26th, ahead of the NATO summit (60th NATO anniversary) hosted by Germany and France.

I'd like to present some noteworthy contents:

* The Atlantic security partnership (NATO) and European security policy are inextricably linked.

* NATO needs a new strategy (the old one is dated 1999).

* The centre of the alliance (NATO) is solidarity (article 5). She asserted that this requires out-of-area operations nowadays (Afghanistan).

* NATO needs to redefine its relationship with other security-related organizations. NATO isn't on top of them but part of a system of networked security. She used the UN, OSCE, EU and African Union as well as civilian forces of development policy and NGOs as examples.

* The strategic concept of NATO needs to define its limits as well. NATO will not become global (in terms of memberships), albeit its members can act globally. Again, NATO needs to stay focused on collective security.

* Our future security and life in peace will depend on two things: The closeness of cooperation between Europeans and North Americans and whether we can succeed together in the great future topics of global economy, security and environment.

* The war goal for the mission in Afghanistan is that no security threat to member countries of the NATO shall originate from Afghanistan any more. Afghan security forces shall be enabled to care for that on their own.

* Croatia and Albania shall be accepted as NATO members on the summit. She hopes that Macedonia will be able to join soon and that the name issue (with Greece, Greece has a province called "Macedonia") won't be an obstacle forever.

* We shall not allow that "others" (Russia) with their obsolete thinking in terms of influence zones veto that (it remained unclear whether the context includes Ukraine and Georgia).

* She sticks to the long-term goal of the destruction of all WMDs. The path should include steps with inspection mechanisms for all.

The war goal for Afghanistan might be a bit too much on the perfectionism side. It's good to have an official war goal and a desired end-state for the end of the own participation in that war, though. She did not set Afghan democracy or destruction of the drug economy as goals, but stuck to the collective security thought.

Merkel didn't lay out a grand strategy, but called for a NATO grand strategy. Her statement laid out the German security policy for maybe the next 5-10 years.
Her competitor for the job as Chancellor in the summer parliament elections is Mr. Steinmeier, our minister for foreign affairs - it's a quite safe bet that he shares her views on these topics.

The declaration also included some things that I disliked and had a lot of symbolic German-French friendship rhetoric early on. This government (which will likely split in a few months due to elections, but Merkel will probably continue to be Chancellor) would never stop the inefficient symbolic multinational military units (French-German brigade and others).

Sven Ortmann

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