This article presents the conceptualization of fundamental foreign policy beliefs of 62 German decision-makers and experts from the executive branch, parliament, think tanks, media, and academia concerning the March 2011 un Security Council resolution on Libya. The actors’ perceptions were abductively inferred from qualitative interviews using the reconstructivist theoretical framework. Four types of respondents were identified: Realists, Normalizers, Traditionalists, and Pacifists. While they shared the general imperatives of military restraint, alliance solidarity, multilateralism, and upholding values, their specific partisan-ideological interpretation of the application of those rules for action in the case of Libya differed. Both Normalizers and Traditionalists perceived Germany's un vote abstention and non-participation in the nato-led intervention as a break with German foreign policy and a costly mistake, whereas the Realists and Pacifists were in support of the German center-right coalition government's policy of military restraint, although for very different reasons.