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By Christoph Bluth (auth.)

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Extra resources for Germany and the Future of European Security

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But this requires political and strategic behaviour and therefore a strategy. 50 36 Germany and the Future of European Security In particular, the role and the use of power in the international system is one that the Germans find very difficult to come to terms with, since the exercise of such power was politically and morally restrained as a consequence of the Second World War. This applies in particular to the use of force. The profound rejection of militarism was part of the process of international rehabilitation.

While the nuclear stalemate created a stability of sorts, it prevented any movement to overcome the division of Europe. For this reason an explicit institutionalist agenda for European security was adopted. However, in terms of contemporary international relations theory, constructivism provides more appropriate categories for describing this approach. Wandel durch Annäherung was essentially a very ambitious programme of international socialization to change the norms and values governing international behaviour and thereby reduce the threat to international security.

In the course of the 1960s, the Soviet Union had developed a strategic nuclear arsenal to a rough level of parity with the United States and, in the opinion of some American analysts, was poised to overtake the US. The Warsaw Pact’s capabilities for a conventional war in the European theatre were considered to be superior to those of the NATO Alliance. The Soviet Union was extending its influence in the Third World. At the same time, the global containment policy which had been, in varying degrees, been pursued by American administrations since Truman, was foundering in the morass of the Vietnam War.

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