Armament, trade dispute or migration crisis: The pressure to act for foreign policy is increasing. But where does Germany stand? Guest author Hans W. Maull recently said on ZEIT ONLINE that Germany's foreign policy has a problem of the better-known. At this point, guest author Nora Müller from the Körber Foundation takes German foreign policy as an example for the debate about the Hormuz mission and states: " Whoever only speaks of responsibility loses his credibility in the end.
Donald Trump is coming to Europe soon, but not to Germany. Twice, the US President will make an appearance for Berlin in his forthcoming visit to Europe: a new sign of the disorganization in German-American relations. But the fact that Germany is having a hard time enforcing its interests on the international stage does not just have to do with the headwind from Washington. Significant shortcomings of German foreign policy are homemade, as is currently being studied in the debate about a European mission in the Strait of Hormuz.
It has been almost 30 years since unrestricted sovereign rights were transferred to reunified Germany in foreign and security policy. But today Europe's largest country is looking for its foreign political identity: as a big Switzerland, as a European power of order or anything in between? For example, more than half of Germans still reject Germany's involvement on the world stage. On the other hand, around 40 percent support a more active foreign policy.
The Chancellor is silent on Hormuz
Beyond the mantra of the "international responsibility of Germany", which has been worked to the point of weariness, there are also increasingly clear differences in German politics regarding the foreign policy course. In the debate about a deployment of the German Navy in the Persian Gulf, for example, one is in the SPD as expected buttoned up: "Everything that comes down to send additional funds there, we do not do it," said the foreign policy spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group Nils Schmid. In the ranks of the CDU one shows oneself more open-minded. But even in the Union is "the formerly self-evident 'primacy of foreign policy' as a fateful question of the nation" long ago not carved in stone, as the CDU member of parliament Andreas Nick recently noted.
And the Federal Chancellor? She, who had campaigned so vehemently in her Truderinger beer talk speech that "we Europeans take our fate into our own hands," is silent so far for German participation in a European Hormus mission.
While people in Berlin are arguing about the whether and how an international commitment works, the pressure to act for German foreign policy is constantly growing: Europe is under threat - from inside as well as from outside. The USA is turning away from the Old Continent in general and Germany in particular. The rule-based international order - and with it the freedom of the sea routes, which is so important for the export nation of Germany - is coming under increasing pressure.
The conclusions that the Federal Government has drawn from dendratic security changes are basically correct. First, in a world of fissures, we can no longer afford the role of the commenting observer. We have to get involved. Secondly, the framework for German foreign policy must be a strengthened, internationally capable Europe. So far, so convincing.
But when it gets serious, there is still a lack of political will to implement it - see the case of Hormuz. Germany relies on "diplomacy and de-escalation" - rightly so. For all transatlantic dissonances Berlin has solid wires to Washington and is also heard in Teheran. His "good services" as an intermediary can contribute to the reduction of tensions.