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By Chaya Arora (auth.)

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Extra resources for Germany’s Civilian Power Diplomacy: NATO Expansion and the Art of Communicative Action

Example text

Hence, the contemporary debate on German foreign policy normalcy can be seen as a delayed replay of some of the realist concerns and demands expressed during the early 1990s. Yet what exactly—might one ask—are we to understand by the term normality in the evaluation of German foreign policy processes and responses? Clearly, the concept of foreign policy normality is an elusive one. For this reason, it is not hard to see why most IR experts hesitate to use such a standard to characterize in particular the politics of contemporary Germany.

As Hellmann argues, these three major works may be quite diverse in their respective approach to the question of continuity or change in German foreign policy and yet they all have one thing in common: they all focus on realist expectations of a renaissance of traditional power-political patterns of German foreign policy behavior, thereby allowing their research to be predominantly determined by the need to falsify such notions. Therefore, when just about enough evidence is gathered to falsify realist expectations, the argument is made among most German academics that German foreign policy continues to stand in the light of continuity as opposed to change in terms of realist expectations of greater normality.

Hence, the realm of actual maneuverability for civilian power depends to a large degree on its ability to support economic growth and provide real prospects for material prosperity and stability in the world’s poorer regions (7th thesis). The exercise of civilian power is, of course, dependent on the role of civilian powers as actors.

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