How the Merkel Doctrine Is Changing Berlin Policy

Angela MerkelGermany used to be extremely careful about where it exported weapons. In the recent years, however, Chancellor Angela Merkel has shown a preference for sending high-tech armaments abroad rather than German soldiers, even if that means doing business with questionable regimes (…..) Merkel knows that arms exports are not popular. Voters don’t like it when authoritarian regimes like the one in Saudi Arabia use the German weapons to stay in power. The official explanation that arms deals save jobs doesn’t quite hold up with the public. Still, she has moved ahead, hoping to at least convince her global counterparts of the strategy. She first laid out her approach, Merkel Doctrine, at an event last September hosted by Bergedorf Round Table, a venue that has brought together leading international and European politicians for talks on foreign and security policy since 1961. Last month, she presented her strategy to another select group of listeners. The EU and NATO are dependent on other countries, especially emerging nations, taking more responsibility in the future, she said at a conference of senior defense officials in Strausberg near Berlin. “I am convinced it is in our interest to enable partners to effectively participate in upholding or re-establishing security and peace in their regions”. The Bundeswehr officers and security experts at the meeting knew exactly what she meant: The government is to supply weapons to regions of potential conflict, like Middle East and Southeast Asia, countries in those regions will then use those weapons to ensure peace and stability. From the standpoint of the chancellery, two problems can be solved with this doctrine. On the one hand, it justifies arms exports to regions like Arabian Peninsula, which have long been controversial. On the other hand, it provides the government with a better justification for Germany’s reluctance to get involved in conflicts overseas. And Merkel no longer wants to be responsible for major overseas military missions. She sees Afghanistan as proof interventions in foreign countries usually fail. In chancellor’s opinion, it is better and less dangerous to provide military support to one side in a given conflict. Algeria is one of these strategic partners. The North African nation borders two countries that have descended into chaos, Mali and Libya, and it is now expected to serve as a bridgehead in the fight against Islamist terrorists. Algerian intelligence has infiltrated al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on a large scale. The United States also wants to use the former French colony as a base for its counterterrorism efforts. It’s no accident Algeria has become an increasingly important beneficiary of German export permits, with autocratic country ranking eighth in 2011. Algeria finances its extensive arms deals with oil and gas revenues. Two companies have played a major role in the arms buildup in Algeria. The country has ordered frigates from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall is building a factory to produce Fuchs armored personnel carriers under a licensing agreement. According to German Economics Ministry, up to 1,200 units will be built at the plant. By comparison, Bundeswehr owns significantly fewer than 1,000 such vehicles (…..)

Link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-weapons-exports-on-the-rise-as-merkel-doctrine-takes-hold-a-870596.html

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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