18 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power in:

Maximilian Terhalle

Strategie als Beruf, page 221 - 234

Überlegungen zu Strategie, Weltordnung und Strategic Studies

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4409-4, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7409-1,

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221 18 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power In December 2015, Time chose German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its person of the year, calling her ‘Chancellor of the Free World’.1 A month earlier, The Economist had named her ‘the indispensable European’.2 The tendency to project outsized expectations onto the individual reflects a wider phenomenon: German economic and political power in Europe has grown, partly because Germany weathered the 2008 economic crisis relatively well, and partly because of the lethargy of other European powers, including France and the United Kingdom. With power came responsibility: firstly, for financial and economic stability, goals pursued with vigour by Germany’s minister of finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, whose medicine of fiscal discipline for all left a bitter aftertaste; secondly, for crisis diplomacy, when Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its continued support for separatists in eastern Ukraine shook the foundations of Europe’s security order; and thirdly, for a wave of international refugees fleeing savage violence and collapsing states, when the humanitarian impulse led Merkel to welcome migrants in numbers that now threaten to overwhelm capacity in Germany and beyond, putting the stability of her 1 Karl Vick with Simon Shuster, ‘Chancellor of the Free World’, Time, Decem ber 2015,–2015-angela-merkel/?iid=cover recirc. 2 ‘The Indispensable European’, The Economist, 7 November 2015, http:// own government in doubt. Nevertheless, Germany watchers see the ‘sleep-walking giant’ finally awakening.3 There is thus a ‘new German question’ to answer: will Germany be able to provide the leadership Europe needs?4 Germany is indeed trying to do its share to close the gap between supply and demand in foreign-policy leadership, both within and beyond the European Union. A new White Paper on security policy and the future of the German armed forces, expected in the summer of 2016, is an opportunity to provide further strategic direction. To put German security policy on a sustainable footing, policymakers should try to answer a question they traditionally have tried to avoid: what is German power for? The Munich consensus Just five years ago, in March 2011, Germany’s foreign-policy leadership had drifted off the transatlantic reservation. Berlin’s decision to abstain from UN Security Resolution 1973, which authorised intervention in Libya to protect civilians, raised questions about its willingness and ability to join key allies and partners in their pursuit of international-security goals. Former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski famously said in Berlin in November 2011 ‘I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity’, signalling that the times when other European governments welcomed 3 See Adrian G.V. Hyde-Price, ‘The “Sleep-Walking Giant” Awakes: Resetting German Foreign and Security Policy’, European Security, vol. 24, no. 4, 2015, pp. 600–16; and Liana Fix, ‘Eine deutsche Metamorphose. Vom unsicheren Kantonisten zur europäischen Führungsmacht’, Internationale Politik, November/December 2015, pp. 56–9. 4 Timothy Garton Ash, ‘The New German Question’, New York Review of Books, 15 August 2013, 222 Maximilian Terhalle | Bastian Giegerich German restraint had passed.5 Retrospective unease and a sense of isolation, paired with appeals by important partners for a more active German role, simmered for a good three years before a new narrative, aptly summarised by a think-tank report under the heading ‘New Power, New Responsibility’, was constructed.6 The 2014 Munich Security Conference provided the venue for the official articulation of this narrative. Speeches by Federal President Joachim Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen expressed a growing realisation that some adjustment to close the gap between expectations and output in security policy had become necessary. The themes of the Munich speeches were mutually reinforcing. Gauck argued, in a powerful address: Germany is globalised more than most countries and thus benefits more than most from an open world order – a world order which allows Germany to reconcile interests with fundamental values. Germany derives its most important foreign policy goal in the 21st century from all of this: preserving this order and system and making them fit for the future … In my opinion, Germany should make a more substantial contribution, and it should make it earlier and more decisively if it is to be a good partner.7 5 See Radoslaw Sikorski, ‘I Fear Germany’s Power Less Than Her Inactivity’, Financial Times, 28 November 2011. 6 Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and German Marshall Fund of the United States, ‘New Power, New Responsibility: Elements of a German Foreign and Security Policy for a Changing World’, 2013, https://www.swp-berlin. org/fileadmin/contents/products/projekt_papiere/GermanForeignSecurityPolicy_SWP_GMF_2013.pdf. 7 Joachim Gauck, speech at the opening of the Munich Security Conference, 31 January 2014, DE/Reden/2014/01/140131-Muenchner-Sicherheitskonferenz-Englisch. pdf;jsessionid=9FFBCE935EA18E7094771188719F5164.2_cid379?__blob=publicationFile. 223 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power The president’s call for a more substantial contribution was echoed by Steinmeier, who added that ‘a culture of restraint must not turn into a culture of refraining from engagement. Germany is too big to comment on global policy from the side-lines.’8 Von der Leyen declared that ‘indifference is not an option for Germany. As a major economy and a country of significant size we have a strong interest in international peace and stability.’9 Two years later, the Munich consensus has not radically transformed German foreign and security policy, but it has certainly propelled the debate forward. It represents a deliberate attempt to reconcile adaptation pressures and policy, an attempt that will remain flawed as long as German policymakers shy away from substantiating it with an underlying strategic purpose: to contribute to reforming and actively defending the liberal international order, the basis for Germany’s prosperity. The spectrum of leadership The link between material power and international responsibility rests on the notion of political leadership: the calculated act of launching calibrated political initiatives, based on forward-looking grand strategy.10 Leadership is the practical expression of the purpose behind a country’s vital interests, and how it wants to promote and defend them. Leadership is not, of course, crisis-independent. Sometimes the need 8 Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speech to the Munich Security Conference, 1 February 2014, 2014/140201-BM_M%C3%BCSiKo.html. Authors’ translation. 9 Ursula von der Leyen, speech to the Munich Security Conference, 31 January 2014, Reden/2014–01-31-Speech-MinDef_von_der_Leyen-MuSeCo.pdf. 10 Mlada Bukovansky et al., Special Responsibilities. Global Problems and American Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). 224 Maximilian Terhalle | Bastian Giegerich to fight fires, real and political, will dominate agendas for extended periods of time, and it would be futile to suggest that these are occasions where no leadership is on display. Even crisis leadership, however, should have a broader purpose, lest it disintegrate into a purely tactical approach, with no sense of direction and little connection to vital interests. Put briefly, it is purpose that defines political leadership. To what extent, then, has Merkel’s government demonstrated security-policy leadership?11 Five examples can help us understand Germany’s choices and actions. Firstly, Russia’s seizure of Crimea fundamentally challenged the post-Cold War settlement in Europe, and put Berlin’s rhetoric to the test. While Ukraine was not a NATO member, some of President Vladimir Putin’s messages vis-à-vis the Baltic states turned the occupation into a test of Western military credibility. With the United Kingdom, at that time, essentially dropping out of the management of the crisis, Berlin, in close coordination with France and strategically reassured by the US, positioned itself at centre stage. Merkel led all of the discussions with Putin. While Russia could not be expelled from Crimea, she succeeded in signalling that the supposedly morally corrupt West was ready to contest Putin’s strategic calculations. Consequently, Merkel became the driving force behind an increasingly piercing set of economic sanctions against Russia, only stopping short of Moscow’s exclusion from the lifeline of international financial transactions, SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). The Merkel government went even further. Notwithstanding Germany’s persistent problems in military capacity, the Bundeswehr formed the backbone of NATO manoeuvres held in eastern Europe, and accepted responsibility for setting up the Very High Readiness 11 Axiomatically, German leadership perceives itself as the reflection of Franco- German consultations. See Ulrich Krotz and Joachim Schild, Shaping Europe. France, Germany, and Embedded Bilateralism from the Elysee Treaty to Twenty- First Century Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). 225 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power Joint Task Force (VJTF), a core measure agreed at NATO’s 2014 Wales Summit, and a commitment recently reinforced when Berlin accepted the rotating framework-nation responsibility for the VJTF in 2019.12 A renewed focus on collective defence triggered by Russian assertiveness might feel to some in the German armed forces to be leading the Bundeswehr back to its cultural comfort zone. This was never found in the expeditionary operations of the past two decades, focusing rather on high-intensity combined-arms warfare waged for existential purposes.13 Recent plans to increase defence investment from 2016–30 to € 130 billion, which would amount to an extra € 3–4bn of investment per year, are focused on rebuilding the historically underfunded German army.14 Whether a political initiative with a 15-year horizon will be implemented as advertised in early 2016 remains to be seen, of course, but it is clear that a shifting perception of the security environment is the core political driver. As von der Leyen explained when announcing her plans, ‘if we want external security … then we have to invest.’15 12 Claudia Major, ‘NATO’s Strategic Adaptation: Germany is the Backbone for the Alliance’s Military Reorganisation’, SWP Comments, no. 16, March 2015, 2015C16_mjr.pdf. The demand for a visible German role in these manoeuvres was nicely captured by the Estonian defence chief, Lieutenant General Riho Terras: ‘We need to see the German flag here … Leopard tanks would do very nicely.’ See Charlemagne, ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’, The Economist, 3 May 2014, p. 26. 13 For the argument that Germany’s military culture does not provide a well-developed frame of reference beyond the core task of high-intensity warfare, see Eric Sangar, ‘The Weight of the Past(s): The Impact of the Bundeswehr’s Use of Historical Experience on Strategy-Making in Afghanistan’, Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 38, no. 4, 2015, pp. 411–44. 14 See ‘Ombudsman: German Army Is “Short of Almost Everything”’, Deutsche Welle, 26 January 2016, man-army-is-short-of-almost-everything/a–19005841. 15 Interview with Ursula von der Leyen, ARD-Morgenmagazin, 27 January 2016, 226 Maximilian Terhalle | Bastian Giegerich Shifting to another area of intense diplomatic activity, thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions has been a key concern for Western states ever since Tehran’s development of uranium-enrichment capability was made public by an opposition group in 2003. Germany participated in the subsequent international negotiations, in both the ‘EU3’ (with France and the United Kingdom) and ‘P5+1’ (with, additionally, the United States, China and Russia) settings. By 2012, it had become clear that the talks had not halted Iran’s nuclear plans. The US imposed tailored sanctions against the financial and economic sectors of Iran’s heavily resource- and export-dependent economy, and the EU followed the American lead. An embargo on Iranian crudeoil imports, Iran’s exclusion from SWIFT and sanctions on European-based insurers and re-insurers of oil tankers, struck Iran’s domestic economy hard, coercing Iran’s Supreme Leader, the key decision-maker in national-security-related issues, into serious negotiations.16 In all, Germany was party to the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme for more than a decade. Its financial and economic dominance in Europe gave it a role in imposing sanctions and promising relief from them in exchange for demands articulated by the P5+1, and, following the application of this coercive pressure, Berlin further helped to push Iran to adopt the comprehensive agreement reached in July 2015. The desire of Gulf states, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to hedge against Iranian power has triggered intense debate in Berlin, given that Germany is seen by those governments as a potential provider of capable military hardware. Requests for German-made main battle tanks and other equipment tend to trigger public debates about the morality of German defence policy. The dominant narrative in German political discourse holds that arms exports are, by definition, destabilising, and likely to fuel either external con- 16 Maximilian Terhalle, ‘Why Revolutionary States Yield: International Sanctions, Regime Survival and the Security Dilemma: The Case of the Islamic Republic of Iran’, International Politics, vol. 52, no. 5, 2015, pp. 594–608. 227 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power flict or internal repression in the receiving countries, when these are autocratic regimes. Saudi Arabia’s growing security-policy assertiveness, for example, poses a difficult challenge. Pursuing regional stability requires cooperating with a number of actors, not all of whom are likely to be liberal democracies. To deny this implies a binary choice between security and freedom; Western governments are asked to provide both.17 The controversy caused in late 2015 by a leaked German intelligence report, which suggested Saudi Arabia would develop an increasingly assertive foreign policy to counter Iranian influence and might turn into an ‘impulsive interventionist’, underscores the point. The German government was quick to point out the importance of Saudi Arabia as a partner in the development of solutions to conflicts in the region, but did little to engage with the substance of the report, most of which was not particularly surprising in substantive terms.18 Germany had no part in striking the 2013 US–Russian agreement that led Syria to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and accept that its arsenal would be taken out of the country for destruction. After the deal was made, however, Berlin played a useful role in supporting the negotiated outcome by assisting in the destruction of some of the stockpile, which was shipped to Germany for this purpose between September 2014 and April 2015. Syria was at that point already well on its way to turning into what The Economist recently called ‘a nasty complex of wars within a war’19 with clear regional and international dimensions. Berlin then took a decision that had until then been a ta- 17 Géza Andreas von Geyr, ‘Mit Autokratien umgehen’, in Josef Braml, Wolfgang Merkel and Eberhard Sandschneider (eds), ‘Außenpolitik mit Autokratien’, DGAP-Jahrbuch Internationale Politik, vol. 30, pp. 379–84. 18 Stefan Braun and Paul-Anton Krüger, ‘Bundesregierung empört sich über BND’, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3 December 2015,–1.2765939. 19 ‘War in Syria: The Peril of Inaction’, The Economist, 20 February 2016, 228 Maximilian Terhalle | Bastian Giegerich boo for German policymakers: namely, to supply lethal aid to an active conflict zone. In the summer of 2014, Germany might not have acted first, but over the space of several weeks it moved from supplying humanitarian aid, to non-lethal aid, to tactical support: it equipped and trained what amounts to a light-infantry brigade of Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq to fight the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). Deliveries included machine guns and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and a small number of armoured vehicles. Up to 150 German personnel were deployed to northern Iraq in support. The rationale was threefold: ISIS was causing a humanitarian catastrophe; it poses an existential threat to the people in the areas it controls; and it attracts foreign fighters, a significant number of whom have EU passports, and might turn into a direct terror threat once they return from the battlefield.20 In broader diplomacy, Germany insisted that there had to be a negotiated solution but did not actively shape the agenda. Berlin was by no means the only Western government that woke up late to the fact that the options for its preferred outcome, a negotiated settlement, were being shaped by Russian military intervention. In the end, it was the terrorist attacks on Paris in November 2015 that triggered more direct German involvement after a week of reluctant deliberations. Berlin decided to provide a solidarity package based around reconnaissance missions with six Tornados for the air forces already fighting over Syria, a frigate to join the French carrier group in the eastern Mediterranean and an increased deployment to Mali in order to provide relief for French forces on operations there. The possibility of a concrete threat to Western societies and, in particular, the perception of an immediate threat to its own population, apparently changed the German position within those seven days.21 It used to be that Germany 20 Bertold Kohler, ‘Berlin will Kurden aufrüsten. Waffen für die Infanterie des Westens’, Frankfurter Allegemeine, 20 August 2014, aktuell/politik/ausland/naher-osten/berlin-will-kurden-aufruesten-waffen-fuer-die-infanterie-des-westens–13108327.html. 21 58 % of Germans support the decision to provide military reconnaissance 229 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power would insist on a UN resolution to sanction military action, but the pressure of French, British and American expectations, and domestic threat perceptions, persuaded Berlin to do something to demonstrate its commitment in the fight against ISIS.22 A final case of German evolution concerns China’s efforts to carve out a sphere of influence in the East and South China seas. Germany’s export-driven economy has benefited hugely from the openness of international shipping lanes, in no small measure based on the protection and presence of the US Navy. Yet Berlin has never bothered to think systematically about the preconditions of its economic wealth with regard to the Asia-Pacific. As recently as 2010, a sitting federal president, Horst Köhler, resigned after being heavily criticised for suggesting that military means might sometimes be needed to protect trade and sea lines of communication. Since then, there have been signs that Germany is rethinking its approach to the region, and hence to China. The strongest signal is the German government’s support to Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems, among others, in their bid for contracts relating to Australia’s planned new $ 50bn submarine force.23 India, Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea have been German customers in the past. To suggest that Gerin the fight against ISIS. See Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, ‘Wer soll’s richten?’, Frankfurter Allegemeine, 5 December 2015,–13948722.html. 22 It should also be noted, however, that an increased Mali engagement had been in the works before the Paris attacks, thus more directly supporting the argument that Germany had looked at this particular case from a strategic, and not just a crisis-driven, perspective. See Michael Hanisch, ‘Eine neue Qualität des Engagements. Deutschlands erweiterter militärischer Einsatz in Nord-Mali’, Arbeitspapier Sicherheitspolitik, August 2015, Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS), Berlin. 23 Christoph Hein, ‘Deutsche Waffen für Australien’, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 13 November 2015, men/ruestungs exporte-deutsche-waffen-fuer-australien–13909187. html. 230 Maximilian Terhalle | Bastian Giegerich many does not have a direct stake in the regional security dynamics that affect these states would be short-sighted. Regardless of the future success of the Australia bid,24 the sheer size of the potential contract, Australia’s geostrategic position and the way Germany’s move has been perceived by others in the region make it almost inconceivable that key officials have not thought about the political rationale behind their support for German businesses. — The overall picture is mixed, but is not one of policy failure. In some cases, Germany is beginning to show significant signs of leadership. When Russia invaded Crimea, red lines were drawn immediately. Support for the Australian submarine fleet is a sign of strategic decisions being made with regard to a distant, but crucially important, region. A combination of negotiations and sanctions proved ultimately useful in reaching a nuclear deal with Iran, and Germany did its fair share. Yet the conflict in Syria seems to suggest that Germany is still partly undecided about the core purpose of its power. For better or worse, relationships between major powers determine international politics. The first half of the twenty-first century will, essentially, settle the question of whether China and Russia can be accommodated into the existing Western liberal order without war.25 Neither Beijing, since the 1970s, nor Russia, since defeat in the Cold War, has had a major say in the political settlement that underlies today’s order, which, in turn, has tremendously benefited Germany. The current major-power peace, which has allowed much of the world to prosper, might disintegrate quickly unless influential states focus their 24 Ibid. The likeliness of success appears high, because Thyssen Krupp has offered to build and maintain the submarines in Australia. 25 Maximilian Terhalle, The Transition of Global Order: Legitimacy and Contestation (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 231 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power diplomatic efforts on preserving it. Deeply anchored in the West, Germany is one of those states. The key will lie in standing up to challengers to liberal order in a way that combines firmness on principle with flexibility over details. This is an easy approach to prescribe, and a very difficult task to achieve in practice. Should Germany and other Western powers tacitly concede some of China’s territorial claims? Would such accommodation satisfy China’s ambitions or would it merely encourage China to go more aggressively after other and more comprehensive claims? A conversation with Russia about rebuilding Europe’s security order should start with a clear-eyed assessment of which principles can be saved, and which need to be adjusted to reflect new realities. Yet giving Putin a major part of what he apparently wants, a veto on NATO and EU expansion, requires giving up on the idea that European countries are free to choose their own alliances. The goal of negotiations about order would not be to socialise Russia into something that it is not – a liberal democracy interested in strategic partnership – but to identify ways to work out a compromise between Western and Russian interests. Western powers must also be ready, on occasion, to throw an elbow. One potential way in which Germany could apply pressure to Russia and China, if it chose to do so, would be to take advantage of both countries’ heavy dependence on oil and gas – for Russia, the most important source of external revenue, and for China the fuel for economic growth. Both Russia and China succeed in exploiting divisions over energy policy among Europeans, who seek economic and commercial rather than strategic gains. Germany could send a strong political signal by obstructing Russia’s pipeline plans,26 and could be- 26 Hendrik Kafsack, ‘Streit um Nord-Stream-Ausbau. Gegen den Gasstrom’, Frank furter Allegemeine, 3 December 2015,–2–13944914.html. 232 Maximilian Terhalle | Bastian Giegerich gin conversations aimed at shifting China’s interest away from Russia’s oil and gas supplies. All such choices, however, come with serious costs. In order to judge which costs are worth paying, Germany’s sense of purpose will be crucial. And aligning power, responsibility, leadership and purpose will be a tall order for Berlin. The way in which the Munich consensus emerged – a slow-burning, reflective response to external expectations, rooted in long-term domestic debates about Germany’s role in the world – is something of a hindrance. Germany was asked to do more, and so it has, but that is only a first step. One key issue will be whether Berlin’s new approach receives recognition and encouragement from other important European states, drawing Berlin into the closest circle of their trusted relationships. An early indicator might be a remarkable interview the British defence secretary, Michael Fallon, gave at the end of January 2016, suggesting Germany had finally been elevated to the status of a ‘top tier ally’, which from now on would place it alongside France and the United States, and would require significantly deepened exchanges of intelligence.1 Rather than an invitation to a newcomer, this elevation is closer to an acknowledgement of Berlin’s growing influence in international-security affairs, where previously it had been passive. The task now is to continue to define what ‘doing more’ with that influence means, and which German interests it is meant to serve. Dr. Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, IISS, London. 1 Jochen Buchsteiner, ‘London will Deutschland als “Hauptsicherheitspartner”’, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 24 January 2016, p. 6, aktuell/politik/ausland/europa/f-a-z-exklusiv-london-will-deutschlandals-hauptsicherheitspartner–14031723.html. 233 The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power

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Thinking and making strategy serve states’ vital interests. Innately bound up with power, strategy devises a future that reflects vital interests, using its willpower to protect them. Unprecedented, “Strategy as Vocation” introduces Strategic Studies while also offering Germany practical strategies.

The book contains articles in German and in English.


Strategisches Denken und Handeln dient vitalen Interessen. Es verlangt den Blick auf die Macht – und in eine Zukunft, die diese vitalen Interessen entsprechend widerspiegeln soll. Dies gilt immer, besonders aber, wenn Weltordnungen im Umbruch sind. Strategie als Beruf widmet sich den zentralen Konzeptionen der hierzulande vernachlässigten, wiewohl von Deutschen mitgeprägten Strategic Studies und bietet strategischem Denken und Handeln damit erstmalig Grundlagen auf dem Stand der internationalen Forschung an. Konkrete Strategievorschläge sind integraler Bestandteil des Buches.

Das Buch enthält deutsche und englische Beiträge.

Prof. Maximilian Terhalle (@M_Terhalle) lehrt Strategic Studies an der Universität Winchester, ist mit dem King’s College London affiliiert und berät das britische Verteidigungsministerium. Zuvor hat er einige Jahre an den Universitäten Columbia, Yale, Oxford und Renmin (Peking) geforscht und gelehrt.

Terhalle's insightful, balanced, and perceptive essays bring the tools of strategic studies to bear on a range of current international issues. Theoretically sophisticated and empirically grounded, the analysis will be of great value to both the scholarly and policy communities.”

Prof. Robert Jervis, Columbia University, New York

Maximilian Terhalle gehört zu den frühen Streitern für eine strategische Ausrichtung unseres internationalen Ordnungsdenkens und der deutschen Außenpolitik. Sein scharfsinniges Buch bietet eine klare Analyse der instabil gewordenen Welt. Und zieht daraus konkrete Folgerungen für die Verantwortung Deutschlands und seiner Partner für westliche Werte und Interessen.“

Prof. Matthias Herdegen, Universität Bonn

Maximilian Terhalle is a refreshing independent voice on European and German security policy. There is a pressing need for systematic, clear-eyed, and realistic thinking about Germany’s role in a rapidly changing world, and this wide-ranging collection of essays is an important contribution to a much-needed set of debates.”

Prof. Stephen Walt, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government

The Germans have, for very understandable historical reasons, long been reluctant to engage in the kind of strategic thinking that comes naturally to the Anglo-Saxon world. Maximilian Terhalle, who is one of the Federal Republic’s most innovative experts in the field, is rightly dissatisfied with this opting out of the real world. His new book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand modern German strategy, or rather the lack of it, and the need for a National Security Council in the FRG.”

Prof. Brendan Simms, Cambridge University

Drawing on wide reading and with a nod to Max Weber, this thoughtful collection of essays by Maximilian Terhalle demonstrates the importance of strategic thinking and how it can be applied to the big issues of war and peace in the modern world.”

Prof. Lawrence Freedman, King’s College London

Die NATO ist strategisch nicht hirntot. Vielleicht aber bald eines seiner Mitglieder. Wer auch immer Deutschland führen wird, täte gut daran, sich den von Terhalle vorgelegten strategischen Kompass sehr genau anzusehen. Die eventuelle Wiederwahl Trumps und der unwahrscheinliche Machtverzicht Putins und Xis bedürfen nicht nur einer erkennbar europäischen Hand im Kanzleramt, sondern auch eines völlig neuen, eben strategischen Mindsets. Terhalles Konzepte für Entscheider sowie seine konkreten Ideen für die Zukunft westlicher Sicherheitspolitik bieten genau das.“

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Bundesminister a.D., New York/München

Strategisches Denken fehlt im Land des Carl von Clausewitz in allen Bereichen. In der Politik, der Wirtschaft und der Entwicklung von Leitlinien, wie Europa in einer Welt im Umbruch gestaltet werden sollte. Prof. Terhalles Buch zeigt Grundlagen auf und gibt Anregungen in wesentlichen Feldern der Politik. Es sollte von Entscheidern gelesen und genutzt werden.“

General a.D. Klaus Naumann, ehem. Vorsitzender des NATO-Militärausschusses und Generalinspekteur, München

Can Germany think strategically?’ Indeed, and more broadly, can the European Union become a strategic actor? These questions lie at the heart of Maximilian Terhalle’s no-holds-barred assessment of Europe’s options as the continent faces mounting challenges from both partners and adversaries East, South and West.”

François Heisbourg, Special Advisor, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris

Terhalle has produced a rich and wide-ranging series of essays on some of the enduring and more recent dilemmas of international security. These subtle but piercing reflections are in the best tradition of strategic studies, from Clausewitz to Freedman.”

Prof. John Bew, War Studies Department, King’s College London

A thought-provoking and illuminating series of essays that grapple with some of the toughest and most important questions facing contemporary Germany, Europe, and the United States, written by one of Germany's most forward-looking strategists.”

Elbridge Colby, Principal, The Marathon Initiative, former US Ass’t Deputy Secretary of Defence, Washington D.C.

Das neue Buch von Maximilian Terhalle, Strategie als Beruf, ist ein wichtiger Baustein bei der Grundsteinlegung für die hierzulande vernachlässigten ‘Strategic Studies’. Der Autor bürstet kräftig gegen den Strich und stellt liebgewordene Denkmuster in Frage. Man muss Terhalle keineswegs in jeder Hinsicht zustimmen. Aber wenn Deutschland und Europa tatsächlich die ‘Sprache der Macht’ erlernen wollen, wie vom EU-Außenbeauftragten Anfang 2020 gefordert, wird man nicht umhinkommen, sich mit seinen Thesen auseinanderzusetzen.“

Boris Ruge, Berlin

For too long, Germany’s deafening silence on strategic matters has struck international academic and policy observers alike. This is about to change. Maximilian Terhalle’s realpolitik-based as well as erudite deliberations on the art of strategy, closing with novel practical ideas for Europe’s future strategic security, betray exactly that.”

Prof. Christopher Coker, London School of Economics/LSE IDEAS

In Strategie als Beruf schreibt Maximilian Terhalle mit außerordentlich klarem Blick über Fragen sicherheitspolitischer Strategie und füllt damit ein Vakuum in Deutschland. Seine Ergebnisse sind unbequem für die von der Friedensforschung dominierten Debatten. Jeder, dem die Strategiefähigkeit des Landes und Europas wichtig ist, sollte seine Ideen kennen.“

Dr. Bastian Giegerich, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London

“For over a decade, Western scholars of strategy have almost exclusively focused on the likeliness of the Thucydides trap to emerge between the US and China. Remarkably, while Prof. Terhalle acknowledges their global strategic importance, he spells out what the potential trajectory of their relationship implies for NATO’s European members vis-à-vis Russia. – Realpolitik reigns.”

Prof. Wu Zhengyu, Renmin University, Peking