German Foreign and Security Policy: Trends and Transatlantic Implications [March 16, 2010] [open pdf - 371KB]
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel began her first term in office in November 2005 and was elected to a second term in September 2009. Most observers agree that under her leadership, relations between the United States and Germany have improved markedly since reaching a low point in the lead-up to the Iraq war in 2003. U.S. officials and many Members of Congress view Germany as a key U.S. ally, have welcomed German leadership in Europe, and 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 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 prowestern 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, approximately 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 a consistently skeptical German public."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34199