F.The Union parties devote almost a quarter of their election manifesto – 33 pages long – to foreign, security and development policy. And they put their statements at the beginning instead of hanging them at the end, as was often the case in election programs up to now. Behind this is probably the idea of highlighting the differences to political competition in the field of foreign policy – and less of the hope of impressing one’s own supporters with a clear definition of foreign policy.
This applies above all to the statements made about the Bundeswehr and NATO. The Union is “explicitly committed to the two percent target of NATO”, is determined to continue nuclear participation in the alliance and has announced that it will also spend the necessary funds (new combat aircraft) for this. Such statements will not be shared by either the Greens or the SPD during the election campaign.
“Worldwide change of epoch”
This possibly also applies to the proposal that the Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet presented a few weeks ago in his first key foreign policy speech: the establishment of a National Security Council in the Federal Chancellery, “the coordination of foreign and security policy, strategic foresight and intelligence from the federal government and that brings countries together. “
The general basic statements about Germany’s role in the world reflect the change that has made itself felt through the populist upheaval in America and the determined rise of China. The Union speaks of a “global change of epochs” and announces that in the future it will not be enough to “just react to crises”, rather “a forward-looking strategic approach” will be required. Germany must be ready “more than before” to “use all instruments of our foreign, defense and development policy – including military ones, if necessary”.
The Union regards China as the “greatest foreign and security policy challenge” in the world today. In describing the actor China, she repeats the triad of “competitor, cooperation partner, systemic rival” and accordingly pleads for a differentiated political answer: On the one hand, it applies “where necessary, China’s will to power in close coordination with our transatlantic partners and others Oppose like-minded democracies with strength and unity. This is especially the case with the protection of intellectual property, “our high technology and our data, so that we do not get into dangerous dependencies”. On the other hand, however, “where it is possible”, cooperation with China should be sought, whereby fair competition and the principle of reciprocity must be observed.
The political controversy with Russia is similarly twofold: Russia is challenging “our values”, making use of cyber attacks as well as disinformation and propaganda. NATO must counter this threat with “credible deterrence”; but dialogue and cooperation with Russia are at least desirable where there are common interests, such as climate protection.
The call for greater foreign policy efforts by Germany repeats the election manifesto of the Union parties with regard to Europe. It stated that Europe must “speak with one voice in order to become capable of global politics”; In a geopolitically more and more uncertain and complex world, Europe must “take on more foreign and security policy responsibility in its own interest”.