German Foreign and Security Policy: Trends and Transatlantic Implications [Updated July 21, 2008] [open pdf - 273KB]
This CRS report discusses German foreign policy and trends in current leadership among Germany and other key European allies. Seen as part of a positive trend in leadership, "German Chancellor Angela Merkel took office in November 2005 promising a foreign policy anchored in a revitalized transatlantic partnership. Most observers agree that since reaching a low-point in the lead-up to the Iraq war in 2003, relations between the United States and Germany have improved. With recent leadership changes in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, U.S. officials view Germany under Chancellor Merkel as a key U.S. ally in Europe. Despite continuing areas of divergence, President Bush and many Members of Congress have welcomed German leadership in Europe and have voiced expectations for increased U.S.-German cooperation on the international stage. German unification in 1990 and the end of the Cold War represented monumental shifts in the geopolitical realities that had traditionally defined German foreign policy. Germany was once again Europe's largest country, and the Soviet threat, which had served to unite West Germany with its pro-western neighbors and the United States, was no longer. Since the early 1990s, German leaders have been challenged to exercise a foreign policy grounded in a long-standing commitment to multilateralism and an aversion to military force while simultaneously seeking to assume the more proactive global role many argue is necessary to confront emerging security threats. Until 1994, Germany was constitutionally barred from deploying its armed forces abroad. Today, over 7,000 German troops are deployed in peacekeeping, stabilization, and reconstruction missions worldwide. However, as Germany's foreign and security policy continues to evolve, some experts perceive a widening gap between the global ambitions of Germany's political class, and an increasingly skeptical German public." This report also includes two appendices.
CRS Report for Congress, RL34199