In this Transatlantic Perspectives essay, DAAD/AICGS Fellow Pia Niedermeier writes that Germany has arguably changed policy amid domestic and international constraints and has become an active partner in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan despite prior reservations. Ms. Niedermeier contends that two main challenges remain for German-American relations and Germany’s role in the transatlantic alliance in and beyond this mission – a narrative gap and a strategic gap – which need to be addressed to ensure that all sides are on the same page for future missions.
Nearly ten years after the first decision on a military commitment in Afghanistan, this week the Bundestag will again debate the renewal of the mandate for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Markus Kaim examines the internal debate over whether or not a concrete withdrawal date should be included in the mandate and suggests some potential scenarios for the overall Afghanistan mission as the decision approaches. This essay originally appeared in the January 24, 2011, edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and is available in German only.
Soundboard of Society or Critical Observer: German and American Media Coverage of the Afghanistan Conference
One of the most debated issues in the transatlantic partnership is the NATO mission in Afghanistan. In January 2010, the London Conference on Afghanistan brought together delegations from around the world to discuss the military engagement in Afghanistan as well as the future of the country. AICGS Research Associate Kirsten Verclas explores how this conference surrounding one of the most contested issues in the German-American partnership was covered by the German and American media and outlines the reasons behind the coverage.
Dr. Gale Mattox, professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Director of the Institute’s Foreign & Domestic Policy Program, writes that even though the grand coalition has tried to prevent the issue of Afghanistan from playing a role in the September elections, Germany’s role in Afghanistan could prove to be a critical issue during the campaign. Dr. Mattox argues that whether or not this turns out to be the case, it is clear that after the election there is a need for German policymakers to engage the public in a discussion about this contentious issue.
As the U.S. presidental election in 2008 and the German parliamentary election in 2009 loom large on the horizon, the topic of Afghanistan and the joint ISAF mission in the country is in the public discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. The U.S. finds itself overstreched in resources—both military and economic—and engaged in two complex wars. While the unpopular Iraq War is the focus of much debate, the conflict in Afghanistan continues, with successes and setbacks, for the United States and its NATO partners…
Security issues have weighed heavily on the transatlantic partnership since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Yet different threat perceptions have sometimes led to different German and American policies, which was especially apparent after the rift between Germany and the United States over the war in Iraq in 2003…
In the run-up to the NATO summit meeting in Bucharest in early April, the Bush administration has launched an intensive diplomatic campaign to convince the European allies to send additional combat troops to southern Afghanistan. This is largely to overcome the troop shortfalls facing the alliance in fighting the Taliban insurgency and to increase the allies’ operational flexibility…