The Transformation of German Multilateralism: Changes in Foreign Policy Discourse since Unification

in German Politics and Society
Author: Rainer Baumann
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When German foreign policy is being described, a reference to multilateralism

is rarely ever omitted. Together with Westbindung, restraint

in using military force, and a trading-state orientation, Germany’s

preference for multilateral settings is recognized as one of the central

elements of its foreign policy. In recent years, a number of studies

have shown that, in contrast to realist expectations from the early

1990s, the more powerful unified Germany has continued to embrace

this multilateralism. This applies to Germany’s willingness to bind

itself to NATO and other European and Euro-Atlantic security institutions,

1 to Germany’s policy within and vis-à-vis the EU,2 and to its

foreign policy on a global scale.