Germany's Geopolitical Maturation

Public Opinion and Security Policy in 1994

by Ronald D. Asmus

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Public opinion polls come and go, yet every now and then one captures a society in transition. A recent poll conducted for RAND and the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation by Infratest Burke Berlin in late 1994, the most recent in a series initiated in 1990 under the rubric of "German Strategy and Public Opinion After the Wall," highlights just how far German public opinion has shifted since the end of the Cold War (as well as where it has not) on a range of foreign and security policy issues central to Germany's future role in Europe and the Atlantic Alliance. Germany's strategic orientation remains unequivocally pro-Western. Public support for NATO is increasing. Germans support a strong European Union (EU), not as an alternative to the Atlantic Alliance but as a stepping stone to a new, more balanced partnership between the United States and Europe. At the same time, Germans are realizing that they face a new and broad spectrum of possible threats and security challenges in and around Europe. Germans have also made the conceptual leap, at least in principle, to a new security role beyond national defense. But whereas Germans support more engagement in principle, they seem to shy away when specific scenarios are involved. Many of the building blocks for a new consensus on security policy may already be in place. This new consensus, however, has not yet come together — perhaps in part because of the lack of leadership and consensus in the political class.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Germany's Geopolitical Maturation

  • Chapter Three

    The U.S. and NATO

  • Chapter Four

    Germany in the European Union

  • Chapter Five

    Germany's World Role

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusion

Research conducted by

Research was supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. RAND also contributed its own funds as well as concept-formulation and research-support monies from the International Policy department and three federally funded research and development centers: Project AIR FORCE, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force; the Arroyo Center, sponsored by the U.S. Army; and the National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies. This research was performed in the International Security and Defense Policy Center within NDRI.

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