When Germany abstained in the United Nations Security Council’s vote on Libya, quite a few eyebrows were raised in the United States and in Europe (not to speak of the German strategic community). While the U.S., France, and the United Kingdom were united in the determination to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Libya, Germany sided with Russia and China – as well as with Brazil and India, two countries that also have ambitions to become permanent members of the Council – in basically declaring neutrality (let’s set aside how realistic these permanent member ambitions have now become in light of the recent vote). In departing from her traditional Western allies, Germany, reciprocating French unilateralism in the Libya crisis, dealt a blow to transatlantic – and European – coherence and security cooperation.
As violence continues in Libya, NATO has taken the lead in enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1973 by “all necessary measures,” the result of strenuous debates on who should be in charge. The mission – as well as the considerations leading to NATO’s decision – has ignited an intense debate in public discourse and in policymaking circles. The analysts of the NATO Defense College in Rome, including regular contributor Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp, have assembled their views on the situation and present some options for the Alliance as it continues the mission in Libya.
Are the Americans the only ones who can talk seriously about how to help the Libyans and to maintain global balance? AICGS Trustee Ambassador John Kornblum, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, ponders this question knowing that it is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future based on the perception that Europe cannot meet the new security challenges. Kornblum argues that a new strategy for Atlantic relations must be developed that demonstrates how Western values can help master the practical problems of globalization. The German version of this essay originally appeared in the March 8, 2011, edition of Die Welt.
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.