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German-American cooperation in Post-Cold War conflicts

Seminararbeit 2006 10 Seiten

Politik - Sonstige Themen

Leseprobe

Contents

Preface

German-American cooperation in post-Cold War conflicts

Literature

Preface

What happened to German-American relations after the Cold War ended? Or more specifically, where and why did the Germans and Americans cooperate and follow common goals, where and why didn’t they?

These are the main questions we are going to be trying to answer in the course of this essay. The Germans used to have a very positive attitude towards America. It represented strength, liberty, equality, prosperity and security which people in Germany and certainly many other countries admired.

But suddenly the named values weren’t received as good and useful qualities anymore. In contrary, America’s demonstrations of power suddenly conveyed the apparent wish to rule the world, the desire to appear superior and to monopolize control. (Likewise did the American picture of their loyal German ally change to the negative, obvious in American reproaches for what they considered passiveness, e.g. towards Saddam Hussein’s brutal reign in Iraq.)

It’s interesting how this positive picture could turn around so drastically, esp. after George Walker Bush Jr.’s election to presidency in 2000/2001 with American solos on the international stage becoming more uncompromising and stubborn.

Germany shows a rather peaceful and mediating approach to international conflicts. This is partly due to historical experience, esp. during the last 50 years when old enmities to other countries, like France for instance, could successfully be buried by negotiating and signing various contracts which eventually tied them together in trade, defense, security and other matters.

This attitude though is clearly opposed to America’s mostly military strategy (and nowadays Bush’s sort of “attack is the best defence” principle) which again could be explained with positive historical experience since from the American point of view the Cold War was won mainly by military strengh and persistence.

These basic conditions must be considered when trying to give reasons for cooperation or dissociation between Germany and America after the Cold War.

German-American cooperation in post-Cold War conflicts

The time after the Cold War was characterized by conflicts which were from the American point of view only solvable by military means. To America Germany was a very reliable and supportive ally after its unification when it was needed in international conflicts.

The two conflicts I’m going to concentrate on here are the wars in Kosovo and in Afghanistan in the course of the fight against international terrorism and how Germany and the United States worked together.

It’s true that Germany assisted the United States concerning these conflicts but it must be clear in advance that even though Germany backed up American decisions and actions this didn’t happen because harmony and consensus simply dominated their relationship during this time. The whole period can rather be seen as a built-up for the big clash which came to the surface with the Iraq war.

Since Germany’s emergence as a modern democratic state after the Second World War German-American relations were decidedly peaceful and friendly and reached their height in 1989/1990 with the German Unification which ringed in a new contemporary historical age. The Eastern Germans have peacefully fought for freedom and democracy - typical American values - which had a promoting effect on the American partnership with this new united country.

Although the US welcomed the united Germany on the executive floor (the “Führungsetage” in the figurative sense) of international politics they weren’t on an equal level.

The German government still identified itself in a kind of subordinate position where open objections still would have been considered rude with the American pro-German efforts during the past 50 years in memory. This mentioned “memory” though was obviously stronger on the side of the German government than among the people. Will say, the German attitude on the official level diverged from what was being thought among the people who this “Führungsetage” was supposed to represent.

One example is the participation in the Kosovo war with differences between people and government. Partly the Germans supported the war because they did not want to tolerate scenarios of massacres and genocide which dominated the media.

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Details

Seiten
10
Jahr
2006
ISBN (eBook)
9783640686766
ISBN (Buch)
9783640686995
Dateigröße
403 KB
Sprache
Englisch
Katalognummer
v155239
Institution / Hochschule
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg – Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Note
1,7
Schlagworte
German-American Post-Cold

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Titel: German-American cooperation in Post-Cold War conflicts