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Master's Thesis from the year 2012 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic:... mehr
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Master's Thesis from the year 2012 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic: German Foreign Policy, grade: Distinction (75), University of Cambridge (POLIS), language: English, abstract: When Germany joined the United Nations Security Council in January 2011, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle presented a motto that would guide his country through its two-year tenure: "Responsibility, Reliability and Commitment." Less than three months after Germany took its seat, the Security Council confronted a crisis in Libya, where the government of Muammar Gaddafi was violently suppressing protesters, Westerwelle's motto was put to the test. On March 17th, 2011, the German Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Peter Wittig lifted his hand to signal Germany's abstention on Security Council Resolution 1973. By voting to abstain, Wittig formalized the most controversial German foreign policy decision of recent years. The abstention resulted in irritation among Germany's allies and an unusually heated reaction within Germany itself, causing a rift in almost all major political parties. Depending on the explanations given for the abstention, politicians and commentators have differed in their conclusions concerning what the decision means for the direction of German foreign policy. Interpretations vary from seeing the decision as a result of the particular haste and the specific circumstances of the Libya crisis to concluding that it represents a strategic shift in German foreign policy towards the BRIC countries. In order to draw conclusions about the meaning of the Libya decision for German foreign policy, it is necessary to thoroughly understand the reasons for the German abstention and the domestic reactions to the Government's policy. This paper will examine the factors that led Germany to refrain from participating in the NATO mission in Libya and to abstain on Resolution 1973. The paper will also analyze the reactions in the German political arena and the press to the decision. It will be argued that the German policy towards the Libya intervention was not a strategic repositioning of German foreign policy. The abstention was a result of the very specific circumstances around the Libya intervention and was influenced by various factors, including uncertainty over the military risks involved, the speed in which the resolution was put forward in New York, the late switch in positions of the United States and the personal convictions of the Foreign Minister. While the abstention itself represents a break with German foreign policy traditions, the reluctance to participate in the military intervention itself is in line with these traditions.
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