Zwischen Gestaltungsmacht und Hegemoniefalle: Zur neuesten Debatte über eine “neue deutsche Außenpolitik”

In his recent essay, AICGS Non-Resident Fellow Gunther Hellmann examines the latest debate over a “new German foreign policy.”

Whereas ten years ago Germany described its foreign policy role as “playing an important part in shaping the future of Europe and beyond,” German officials lately have characterized the Federal Republic as a central actor in Europe ready to take on responsibility and help shape the global order—as demonstrated by the summer 2016 White Paper. Professor Hellmann looks at how Germany’s shift in foreign policy “job description” came about and what exactly that new description means. Against the backdrop of numerous earlier “new German foreign policies,” he boils down the specifics of the current debate. He concludes it is less the case that Germany needs to choose between a role as a benevolent world-shaper or a malevolent hegemon. Rather, Germany needs to prove itself on the inevitably narrowing ledge of power and responsibility before it is threatened with falling into a trap of hegemony.

The article originally appeared in German in Deutsche Außenpolitik om July 11, 2016. Read the artile here.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Gunther Hellmann

Goethe-University, Frankfurt

Gunther Hellmann is Professor of Political Science at Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main and Adjunct Professor at the Bologna Center of the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is a Principal Investigator and Member of the Board of Directors of the Frankfurt Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders.” In 2012 he will serve as the “Harris Distinguished Visiting Professor” at Dartmouth College. His research interests are in the fields of foreign policy analysis, esp. German and European foreign policy; international security, esp. transatlantic and European security; and international relations theory.

His recent publications include “International Relations as a Field of Studies”, in: Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Leonardo Morlino (Eds.): International Encyclopedia of Political Science, London: Sage Publication 2011; Ed. “The Forum: Pragmatism and International Relations”, International Studies Review 11:3 (2009), 638-662; Ed. “Special Section” on “IR Theory and (German) Foreign Policy”, Journal of International Relations and Development 12:3 (2009); Die Semantik der neuen deutschen Außenpolitik. Eine Analyse des außenpolitischen Vokabulars seit Mitte der 1980er Jahre, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2008 (Ed. with Christian Weber/Frank Sauer); “Inevitable Decline versus Predestined Stability: Disciplinary Explanations of the Evolving Transatlantic Order”, in: Anderson, Jeffrey/Ikenberry G. John/Risse, Thomas (Eds.), The End of the West? Crisis and Chance in the Atlantic Order, Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2008, 28-52; Handbuch zur deutschen Außenpolitik, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2007 (Ed., with Siegmar Schmidt/Reinhard Wolf); Ed., De-Europeanization by Default. Germany’s EU-Policy in Defence and Asylum, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan 2006.