German foreign and security policy: determinants of German military engagement in Africa since 2011
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Beginning in 2014, high-level German politicians spoke plainly about a more responsible and more substantial German foreign policy—including stronger German (military) contributions and commitments on the African continent. In light of these public statements, three years of mixed policy outcomes have raised questions about the factors that determine Germany’s decision making on military engagements in Africa (and elsewhere) and the extent to which Germany’s engagement in Africa since 2011 corresponds with Berlin’s desire to take greater responsibility in matters of global security. Anchored in the case studies of Libya and Mali, this thesis argues that within a complex interplay of determinants on three interrelated levels, six factors—strategic approaches (if applicable), multilateral imperatives, the mission framework, cultural and conceptual axioms, domestic politics, and policy-makers—chiefly inform Germany’s decision-making process on whether and how German soldiers should be deployed in a certain mission. Based on this matrix of considerations, each such participation must be externally required, politically desired and indispensable, militarily affordable and feasible, and domestically justifiable. The thesis concludes that it is exactly the interrelated tenets of empower others, being restrained, and being responsible that drive German foreign and security policy and contributed to Germany’s active but modest military engagements in Africa after Libya.
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