Destinations Magazine

A Lurch onto the World Stage

By Stizzard
A lurch onto the world stage

A YEAR ago Germany’s elite launched a giant debate about the country’s foreign policy. There was a perception abroad, President Joachim Gauck said in a solemn speech, that Germany was “the shirker in the international community” and had used its Nazi past as an excuse to duck out of rough-and-tumble diplomacy.

Soon after, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the foreign minister, began an earnest public consultation called Review 2014. It involved 60 town-hall meetings with German voters and online debates with foreign experts. All were asked: what is wrong with German foreign policy and how should it change? The reactions, some vague and some utopian, were released in a big data dump this week.

Germany should be an “intercultural arbitrator”, went one idea. It should “Europeanise Russia” and “multilateralise America”, was another. The aim of this elaborate exchange was to bridge a yawning gap between other countries’ expectations and domestic scepticism. When the Körber Foundation, a think-tank, asked if Germany should “be more engaged internationally”, 37% of Germans said yes and 60% said no. With patient debate, the elite hoped, the public…

The Economist: Europe

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