Germany’s Future Foreign Policy
There’s a clash on the horizon after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s swearing in of her new coalition government in Germany. At an extremely crucial time for the nation—amid its rise to global dominance as the Lisbon Treaty is about to be ratified—two personalities are set to be at odds over the future direction of the nation’s foreign policy.
One of the cleverer aspects of German foreign policy involves its intent on influencing—if not controlling—political action within countless other nations. This is largely conducted behind the cloak of a handful of seemingly innocuous institutions in Germany termed “foundations.”
The two highest-profile foundations most heavily engaged in Germany’s foreign-policy push are the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Naumann Foundation.
Courtesy of research conducted by German-Foreign-Policy.com, we have in the past pointed to how the Bertelsmann Foundation has been instrumental in taking over local government administration within Britain as a forerunner to similar takeovers in other EU member nations.
In respect of the Naumann Foundation, there exist direct links between it and Chancellor Merkel’s new governing coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (fdp). German-Foreign-Policy.com reported in July that the foundation “is directing the creation of a worldwide lobbying network” and is “coordinating the fdp’s local lobbying. The Naumann networks are already spanning all continents and include several thousand executives, including government officials. … The target groups include … ‘eminent leaders and multipliers from politics, the economy, science, the media and the security sector.’ The [foundation’s] academy is particularly courting ‘young leaders from liberal parties’ all around the world” (July 13).
“The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, which receives millions in state subventions—e.g. €36 million in 2007—embodies, like no other institution, the foreign policy of its party” (ibid., September 29).
Proof exists that operatives from the Naumann Foundation were actively involved in recent political turmoil in Honduras and in western China, as they are in various other South American and African political developments. As German-Foreign-Policy.com research has revealed, “The foundation provided the main platform for the Tibet campaign that applied strong pressure to the People’s Republic of China, in the spring of 2008. This year it began setting up Iranian ethnic minorities in opposition to their government in Tehran. In Latin America, the foundation maintains networks that involve opponents to the Venezuelan and Bolivian governments and, more recently, massively intervened in Honduras—on the side of the putschists, against the democratically elected government” (ibid.).
From the perspective of the Naumann Foundation’s global influence, it is interesting to note that Chancellor Merkel’s choice for a coalition partner is the Naumann Foundation’s affiliate, the fdp. This affiliation will have significant bearing on Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s efforts in his role as Germany’s new foreign policy minister. As German-Foreign-Policy.com recently reported, “Westerwelle is a former fellow of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation that embodies, like no other institution, the global activities of the fdp’s foreign policy. He has remained closely linked to this organization” (ibid.).
But there are two elements to German foreign policy. One is that dominated by the secular, largely irreligious, amoral leftists, such as the fdp, the other powerfully influenced by the upper echelon right-wing Catholic moralists, of which the Bavarian Christian Socialists are a prime example. In the middle are the centrists who cross the boundaries of the two dominant elements. They form the “swing vote” in Germany. Yet even with the middle ground, German nationalism is an increasingly strong influence, as it is with the other two more polarized right- and left-wing elements in German politics.
The Naumann Foundation/fdp has been very effective in influencing left-of-center political movements internationally to fall in line with German imperialist intentions globally. But there is another side to Germany’s international relations that is now being set to play both sides against the middle. The prophesied short-term global dominance of Germany in international relations is the inevitable outcome.
One of the most powerfully underestimated forces in German, as well as European, politics is the Roman Catholic Church. This force is set to rise and ultimately dominate German foreign policy. At this moment that force has at its disposal the politician becoming the most powerfully influential political personality in Germany: the young Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg—by traditional title, baron of the Holy Roman Empire.
There could not be two personalities more starkly different than Westerwelle and zu Guttenberg.
Whereas Westerwelle is an amoral, irreligious, left-wing homosexual, zu Guttenberg hails from a staunchly traditional, moralist, right-wing, strongly Roman Catholic heritage, deeply entrenched in the upper reaches of aristocratic German society. The opposing mindsets of these two German leaders affect their individual political orientations.
The fact that zu Guttenberg blatantly pressured Chancellor Merkel into handing him his portfolio of choice in her new government, that of the senior ministerial role of defense minister, instantly set the scene for clashes over Germany’s future foreign-policy direction with the pacifist, liberal, anti-nuke Westerwelle. Merkel may well find herself playing referee between the two in the not-too-distant future.
Mathaba News Network recently observed that Westerwelle “has no ministerial and foreign-policy experience. The 47-year-old Westerwelle who led the liberal Free Democrats (fdp) to their best-ever result in the September 27 election, with the party taking just under 15 percent of the vote, will face an uphill battle against Merkel trying to set his marks on German foreign policy.” The same source noted that “Westerwelle’s diplomatic skills however were seriously questioned by political pundits after his apparent reluctance to talk English at a press briefing in Berlin. Westerwelle refused to answer a question in English that had been put to him by a bbc reporter during his first press conference in Berlin following last month’s elections” (October 31).
You have to wonder whether Westerwelle has been made the fall guy for another personality competing for dominance of the foreign-policy stage in German politics and international relations. Again the comparison with Germany’s new minister of defense is stark.
Baron zu Guttenberg does not hesitate to speak impeccable English off the cuff when faced by journalists. He strings his remarks together seamlessly—in both German and English—in his now-frequent interviews by the press.
Compared with Westerwelle, zu Guttenberg has acted in the German parliament and in international political circles as his party’s foreign-policy expert. He is well known to the world’s political elites and moves comfortably among those from the corridors of power in Washington. “In the U.S., Germany’s most important security partner, he made a name for himself in his past role as a top foreign-policy expert of the Christian Social Union (csu), having established close links to influential think tanks in Washington and the U.S. Congress in recent years” (ibid.).
The same source highlighted a soon-coming reality in German politics: “Westerwelle’s foreign-policy role may even be further diminished by the new German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who is also viewed as the shooting star of German politics at the age of 37. Guttenberg has stressed that he regards security and defense policy also as part of Germany’s foreign policy and therefore should have the right to comment on it” (emphasis mine).
Watch for zu Guttenberg to move aggressively forward with proposals for the rapid development of German defense infrastructure. This will likely dominate the expansion of Europe’s new military force, which will be triggered by ratification of the Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution slated for December 1. Also watch for the inevitable sinking of Guido Westerwelle’s political ambitions as the young shooting star of German politics, Baron zu Guttenberg, steamrolls ahead to become the most influential politician in Germany’s international relations.
As one German pundit mused, “Political forecasts are rarely reliable. In the case of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg I dare to make one: No matter how long the present government of Angela Merkel will stay in power, if as conservative-liberal coalition for four years or as second grand coalition that breaks apart after two years: The next German chancellor will be called Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg” (Fleishman Hillard, August 21).