NEW WORLD ORDER, NEW PARTNERS?
FOR GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY
Strengthening a values and rules-based world order
The fact that values and interests are inextricably linked with each other is more or less in the DNA of German foreign policy. For Konrad Adenauer, Germany’s consistent ties to the West were not only the most promising path to security and prosperity for a nation in ruins, but were, above all, a decision in favour of freedom. The steady integration of Germany into the community of free peoples became the basis of a decades-long success story, culminating, for the time being at least, in the free and peaceful unification of 1990.
Safeguarding our prosperity via free trade and innovation
Free trade and innovation are essential for Germany, given its lack of natural resources. Close strategic partnerships are needed to strengthen this core interest of German foreign policy. Intensifying such partnerships beyond existing trade relations, whether with export markets in Latin America (for example Brazil) or Asia (for example Vietnam), or with countries exporting key raw materials (e.g. Saudi-Arabia or Ivory Coast) and adopting innovation policy initiatives from similarly structured economies (for example Switzerland), should be the guideline for a forward-looking economic and innovation policy. Especially in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it will be necessary to pursue new opportunities and potential because there is currently a real danger that our globalised world will drift apart, transport and supply chains will be put under pressure, and established connections between Europe and the rest of the world will be cut.
The security and stability of Europe, its neighbourhood, and other regions of the world
The security and stability of Europe are highly relevant to the Federal Republic of Germany. They therefore need to be given priority in German foreign and security policy. As a result of the European integration process of the past 30 years, Germany’s security interests have become largely congruent with Europe’s security interests. Due to the close political and economic relationships and interdependencies of the European states, German security policy can only be thought of and shaped at the European level.
Securing essential natural resources and protecting the climate
Direct or indirect access to natural resources is a prerequisite for human life and economic activity. Essentially, this involves vital resources such as air, water and food, along with an environment with moderate temperatures or with the wherewithal for protecting against hazardous weather.
Regulating global migration flows
Few countries have benefited as much from globalisation – which also involves the sharp rise in global migration flows– as Germany. The number of international migrants has increased in the last 30 years by more than 100 million to more than 250 million people, while the population of the Federal Republic of Germany without immigration would be around 10 million below its current 83 million. Economic success, along with the social and pension systems, already depend to a large extent on immigration, and that trend is rising.
Europe and North America
Since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, which violates international law, parts of the country have not been under the control of Kiev. It is in Ukraine that it will be decided what significance internationally recognised borders will have in 21st century Europe, whether territories can be unilaterally altered, and whether the right of the (militarily) stronger will again take precedence over the sovereignty, self-determination, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.
The Middle East and North Africa
Developments in the Middle East and North Africa always have an impact on Europe. The two regions are not only inextricably linked by geography, but also by historic and diverse cultural and social interrelations. The migration crisis in 2015 was a good example of how destabilisation of the Middle East and North Africa can have significant consequences for Germany and the European Union.
Germany and Latin America have been linked for centuries. No other region in the world beyond the vicinity of Europe and the North Atlantic region is as close to Germany historically, culturally and spiritually as Latin America. The predominantly Christian region with close historical ties to Europe has always seen itself as part of the western world and is therefore a natural partner in the pursuit of peace, freedom and security in the world.
Asia and the Pacific
Key future trends can already be identified in the Asia-Pacific region: a bifurcating demographic development, with high population growth rates in South and Southeast Asia (in contrast to a rapidly ageing population in Northeast Asia); expanding domestic markets and increasing global interdependence of economies (which, at the same time, are hoping that digitisation will bring new impulses for economic value creation); massive security risks from internal and cross-border conflicts; increasing “exploitation” of natural resources; irreversible environmental damages in the medium term and climate change that, thus far, has been inexorable. And Asia-Pacific is (and always has been) a starting point for global pandemics.
Even before the appearance of the new coronavirus, the introductory words in the German government’s coalition agreement on cooperation with Africa left no doubt about the relevance of this world region for German foreign policy: In no other region of the world are changes in international politics as drastic as in Africa. Working in partnership with the states of Africa is a central task of our time.
The unstable security situation throughout the Sahel region reveals the weakness of state authorities in the region. Niger’s security forces are also struggling to exercise effective control of the country. Several terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State or Boko Haram, regularly attack military bases and also civilians. Niger is also one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest rates of population growth (on an average, women have 7 children) and is wrestling with numerous governance problems, including regular accusations of corruption against government representatives or officials. There were several demonstrations against the rampant corruption and bad governance in the past. However, in the 2020/21 elections, Niger for the first time successfully managed the transfer of power from one elected President to another, Mohamed Bazoum. In the past, the country had suffered numerous military coups.
With a population of around 216 million, Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa, but it has also been the continent’s largest economy for some years now. The country is rich in oil and gas and is one of the largest oil exporters in the world. Nonetheless, Nigeria faces immense security and economic problems, which have worsened as a result of the Covid pandemic and could further destabilise the entire region in the medium to long term, posing major challenges for Europe. This applies both to the European interest in supporting the Sahel states in their fight against terrorism and to stopping irregular migration from Africa.
Despite its relatively small population of approximately 28 million inhabitants, Ghana is growing in relevance for Germany. This is evident not least of all from the fact that Ghana has been included in the Compact with Africa project since 2017 and became one of Germany’s reform partner countries in the same year. Ghana’s willingness to accept reforms in the economic and fiscal policy sector, along with its framework, which is relatively stable and reliable compared to many other Sub-Saharan African countries, made Ghana an interesting partner for the G20, and especially for Germany (as a reform partnership).
Kenya is the most stable country in East Africa and is an economy that is oriented toward the west. With consistently strong economic growth in the twelve years before the coronavirus crisis and a GDP of just under 88 billion US dollars (2018), Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa and a growth engine for the entire region. Thanks to the port of Mombasa and the airport in Nairobi, the country is an important hub for trade and finance. Many international companies have chosen Kenya as the seat of their (East) Africa branches.
According to Federal Minister Müller, Africa is to become the “green continent of renewable energies”. South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, is pursuing ambitious goals in this field, similar to what is being debated in Germany. Examples include the reduction of CO2 emissions and minimizing the dependence on coal. In order to do so, South Africa has introduced a carbon tax in 2019.
CÔTE D IVOIRE
Mit ihrem sicherheitspolitischen Engagement in Westafrika fokussiert sich die deutsche Außenpolitik seit Jahren auf Mali und seine Nachbarstaaten – auch bekannt als Sahel-Region, deren Stabilität durch die räumliche Nähe zu Europa für Frieden und Sicherheit hierzulande unmittelbar relevant ist. Dennoch sollte der geografische Blick geweitet werden, denn Dschihadismus, ethnische Konflikte und organisierte Kriminalität breiten sich verstärkt in ganz Westafrika aus. Dadurch sind vor allem die südlichen Nachbarländer der Sahel-Staaten, wie Côte d’Ivoire, in ihrer politischen und wirtschaftlichen Stabilität bedroht. Côte d’Ivoire ist für Deutschland ein wichtiger westafrikanischer Partner im Bereich des Handels und der entwicklungspolitischen Zusammenarbeit. Dies äußert sich nicht zuletzt in der Reformpartnerschaft, welche Deutschland seit 2017 mit dem Staat unterhält.
Malawi hat bewiesen, dass es als Beispiel für eine funktionierende Demokratie in Afrika gelten und ein Partner für Deutschland sein kann, wenn es um die Verteidigung einer demokratischen, wertebasierten Weltordnung geht. 2020 schrieb Malawi Geschichte, als die von Unregelmäßigkeiten überschatteten Wahlen vom Mai 2019 erfolgreich durch die Opposition angefochten wurden.
Pursuing a multi-vector policy, the country’s leadership has built close economic and political ties to its big neighbours Russia and China, but also to the US and the European Union as well as to the Arab world, Turkey, South Corea, Iran and others. By now, Kazakhstan has also established diplomatic relations to many countries in Africa and South America. For Kazakhstan, there is no alternative to its multi-vector policy, especially in light of the current war in Ukraine.
When the Partner Atlas was first developed (2019), Afghanistan was chosen as the fifth country of the region Asia and Pacific. The seizure of power by the Taliban in the summer of 2021, however, makes it currently impossible to think about deepening cooperation with the new government in the area of migration.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation will keep working on Afghanistan within the framework of its regional programme on Southwest Asia. Please visit the website of the Department Asia and Pacific (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung – Europäische und Internationale Zusammenarbeit (kas.de)) as well as our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for the latest information and analyses.
Japan is one of Germany’s most important partners in values in the Asia-Pacific region. The two countries are closely linked, politically, economically and societally. In addition to their desire to work together to maintain and refine the multilateral, rule-based order, they hope to work even more closely together at a security policy level.
Germany has a vital interest in maintaining and consolidating a world order based on the values of liberal democracy and on the centrality of the United Nations (UN). Given the USA’s global withdrawal, which the coronavirus pandemic has made even more evident, Germany needs to pursue this goal together with other international partners. With the Indo-Pacific Guidelines that were released in September 2020, the Federal Government expressly commits itself to this task in the region that is taking centre stage in the 21st century. India’s importance can hardly be overestimated in this respect: India is already the largest democracy in the world, and within the 2020s, it will replace China as the most populous country. Like Germany, the subcontinent at the Indo-Pacific interface is dependent on a solid security structure, an open trading system, and free navigation in international waters. India is especially severely affected by the consequences of global warming due to its vulnerable ecosystems and is reliant on multilateral approaches to solve this global problem.
Vietnam is one of the few communist countries. A “socialist-oriented market economy” determines the country’s economic status, the communist party vigorously enforces its claim to total power, and the country is subject to fierce criticism in reports on human rights. At the same time, more than three decades of economic growth and political stability have led to Vietnam establishing itself as an influential player in Southeast Asia.
Pakistan ist sowohl Herkunfts- als auch Ziel- und Transitland von Flucht und Migration. In der Region ist Pakistan eines der größten Entsendeländer von Arbeitsmigrantinnen und Arbeitsmigranten. Ihre große Mehrheit (96 Prozent) konzentriert sich auf die Länder des Golfkooperationsrats, darunter vor allem Saudi-Arabien und die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate.
Taiwan hat sich zu einer führenden markwirtschaftlichen Kraft für Wohlstand und Innovationen im Indo-Pazifik entwickelt. Taiwans Halbleiterhersteller, angeführt vom Weltmarktführer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), verfügen über einen globalen Marktanteil im Bereich der Halbleiterfertigung (foundry market) von 67 Prozent (Jahr 2020) und bleiben auch mittelfristig unersetzlich für die Chip-Versorgung der deutschen Industrie.
Today, climate protection is an integral part of German foreign policy. In this context, Germany considers China’s role in international climate policy to be particularly important. China is both the world’s largest emitter of CO2 and largest consumer of coal. On the other hand, China’s expansion of renewable energies is unrivalled anywhere else in the world.
When the Partner Atlas was first developed (2019), Russia was chosen as one of the partners in the area of Resources and Climate Protection. The war perpetrated by Russia against Ukraine, however, makes it impossible to think about deepening cooperation with the Putin regime.
If you are interested in the work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, please visit the website of the Department Europe and North America as well as our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to find up-to-date information and analyses.
When the Partner Atlas was first developed (2019), Belarus was chosen as the fifth country in the region Europe and North America. Persistent repression following the rigged Presidential elections of 2020, however, make it impossible to think about a deepened security partnership with the regime of Aliaksandr Lukaschenka. The Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation keeps working actively on Belarus. Please go to the website of the KAS country office as well as our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram (@KasBelarus) for the latest information and analyses on the current situation.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the unlawful annexation of Crimea, parts of the country have not been under the control of Kyiv. It is in Ukraine that it will be decided what significance internationally recognised borders will have in 21st century Europe, whether territories can be unilaterally altered, and whether the right of the (militarily) stronger will again take precedence over the sovereignty, self-determination, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.
In many ways, Switzerland is a key partner for Germany in terms of values and interests, particularly in the area of trade and innovation. The economies of both countries are closely intertwined: Germany has been Switzerland’s most important trading partner with more than 22 percent of foreign trade. Conversely, Switzerland is also a key economic partner for Germany: in 2020, it ranked eighth among Germany’s foreign trade partners (making it the fourth-largest non-EU country in this ranking behind the U.S., China and the United Kingdom).
Serbia is of central importance for Germany in terms of regulating global migration flows. Since the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2014, a large proportion of refugees from the Middle East, Central, and South Asia have moved along the so-called “Balkan route”. The main route leads from Turkey and Greece via Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Serbia to Hungary and Croatia, which form the border of the EU. Continuing from there is difficult because especially the Hungarian government has implemented very tough border controls to prevent entry without valid travel documents.
In connection with organised crime, drug trafficking, and the infiltration of the state by criminal groups, Mexico – a regional leader and member of the G20 – is facing major challenges that affect both internal and regional security. In view of the cross-border effects of organised crime in Mexico, which extends far beyond the American continent, migration from Central America and other regions of the world through Mexico towards the USA, the significant economic potential as a manufacturing base offering a well-qualified workforce and privileged access to the US market via the North American Free-Trade Area, Mexico is of great importance for the stability of the region.
According to official data from the Colombian migration authorities, approximately 1.8 million of the more than 4 million Venezuelan migrants are currently in Colombia.Commuters and so-called “transit migrants“ are not included in these statistics, which means that their actual number is probably even higher.
Peru is an exception in Latin America in terms of its enormous wealth of resources and biodiversity. The country has three large landscape zones: the coast, most of which is covered by desert, the Andes and the jungle region. According to the World Resource Institute, Peru is one of only eight megadiverse countries in the world, possessing 84 of the 104 existing life zones. 76 percent of the country is occupied by rainforest, which means that the country has the largest share of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil.
In comparison to other Latin American countries and despite its modest size, Uruguay serves as a model in view of its impressive political and socio-economic achievements . In a region that is not always stable, the country can look back on a long democratic-republican tradition with functioning institutions and a diverse media landscape. According to the latest edition of The Economist‘s Democracy Index, Uruguay is currently the most democratic country in Latin America and is ranked 15th worldwide.
Costa Rica generates nearly 100 percent of its electricity consumption from renewable energy sources. The country is also considered a leader in nature conservation. More than 25 percent of Costa Rica’s land is devoted today to nature conservation areas. With its Decarbonisation Plan, adopted in 2018 with an implementation deadline of 2050, the country is setting important standards and leading the way both regionally and internationally. Currently, the Environmental Commission of the Costa Rican Parliament is working on a bill that would officially ban oil and gas exploration and extraction in the country. Against this backdrop, Costa Rica can undoubtedly be considered a major player when it comes to safeguarding significant resources and protecting the climate.
Secularisation and modernisation have shaped Tunisia’s policies since independence in 1956, especially under the leadership of then President Habib Bourguiba, and continue to have an impact today. Recent representative surveys show that Tunisians feel that they belong first and foremost to their country, then to Islam, and only to a much lesser extent to the Arab world. A clear majority, especially in comparison to the neighbouring countries of Libya, Morocco, and Algeria, favour the separation of state and religion.
Iraq has the world’s fifth largest oil and twelfth largest natural gas reserves. The country is a founding member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and, in recent years, has become its second largest producer. The Iraqi government is considering to expand the oil and gas sector in the coming years, thereby increasing production capacities even more, although experts as well as members of the government call for diversifying the Iraqi economic and energy sector.
Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean and the northern edge of the Sahara, the Kingdom of Morocco is highly vulnerable to climate change and its negative consequences. The country put the issue on its own agenda early on and drafted ambitious plans. In 2016, Marrakech hosted the 22nd United Nations Climate Conference (COP22). Today, Morocco has even become a regional leader in the areas of climate protection and sustainability.
Although Libya is the fourth-largest country on the African continent, is located in the direct vicinity of Europe and is rich in natural resources, it has so far played quite a minor role as a German trading partner, apart from Germany’s substantial imports of oil. This is understandable in view of how power struggles among various factions plunged the country into chaos after the fall of Muammar Al-Gaddafi in 2011, resulting in several civil wars and laying waste to nearly all sectors of the economy.
Germany and Israel maintain a close partnership based on common interests and shared values. The starting point for this special relationship and Germany’s acknowledgement of historical responsibility was the caesura of the Shoa. The way that the two statesmen Konrad Adenauer and David Ben-Gurion laid the foundation for these relations was described by former Bundestag President Norbert Lammert in a speech before the Knesset in 2015 as a “double stroke of historical luck”.
Which foreign policy interests can be realised with which international partners?
At a time when the European Union and the transatlantic relationship are being significantly challenged and strained, when multilateral institutions and regulations are being questioned, when the liberal world order is under pressure from within and without and when many people are already talking about a new world order – at a time like this, German foreign policy must also focus on strengthening value partnerships beyond the EU and NATO. Some of these partnerships are already firmly established, while others need to be explored, re-established, and expanded.