Keynote by Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, on challenges for NATO and German-American military cooperation. The Fellows presented the Defense Memo and received feedback in a conversation under the Chatham House Rule.
Followed by a Keynote by Niels Annen, Member of the German Parliament, Foreign Policy Spokesperson of the SPD Parliamentary Group, on transatlantic relations and German Foreign Policy. The Fellows presented their Memos on development policy and climate policy and received feedback from Mr. Annen followed by a reception in the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College in Hamburg.
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Rear Admiral Stawitzki identified disruptive trends relevant for international and transatlantic security, provided answers or operating principles for the relationship and NATO cooperation moving forward, and gave feedback on memo ideas. He expressed appreciation for Pence and McCain’s message at the Munich Security Conference, but also apprehension and the difference between their message and the President’s statements. He also stressed the importance of the lens through which defense and security issues are perceived.
The Trends: The following trends make borders less relevant as threats are more complex, transnational, and interconnected with non-traditional security issues. The classical conflict situation no longer applies, as the clear divide between peace and war has eroded.
- “Fake news”.
- Economic shifts and ripple effects on other sectors.
- 3D Printing.
- Globalization and Interdependence
- Climate Change and demographic trends: Potential impacts on migration.
The Answers: We have the mechanism (NATO) but need to revitalize.
- Defense Capabilities
- Comprehensive Security
- Common Values, Trust, and Reliability
- In delivering the message to policymakers, be direct, understandable, and relevant and retain attention.
- Intelligence sharing and cooperation is critical.
- Trust and reliability between partners is essential.
- Security should be comprehensive, and we need to define what that means.
- NATO used to be better at interoperability, and needs to remember this and improve going forward.
Written by: Ellen Scholl, who works on the intersection of energy and foreign policy at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), and is a former Robert Bosch Fellow.
Another highlight on the first expedition day was the keynote speech of Niels Annen, Member of Parliament and Foreign Policy Spokesperson of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). A short intro on the city of Hamburg and its pillars of internationalism and military education was followed by a general speech on the foundations and baselines of transatlantic relations:
Historically, a big part of the success of transatlantic relations lies in the lessons Germany learnt during the world wars. Ever since, transatlantic relations have been a success story, particularly in the field of security and from the 1960s “Westorientierung” (orientation towards the west) on. Although certain conflicts opposed key politicians, the raison d’être of the alliance and a general support was never put into questions (e.g. during the Iraq debate).
The prevalence of democracy is an indicator for the existence of an alliance of values. EU and US are also challenged from the outside by that standard. Annen elaborated on two key challenges for the transatlantic alliance: Firstly, the relationship to Russia, a country challenging the current rule-based global order. Instead of a revolution, Annen pleas for step-by-step reforms.
Secondly, the non-existence of a stable global structure: Since the end of the Cold War, we are in a process of transition. While the EU is in perpetual search of reliable partners, the current US administration is unpredictable, and unconditional support is no more guaranteed.
In which view does the new US-administration challenge the transatlantic partnership at core points: The main concerns are the insecurity when it comes to knowing the stance on the relation as well as to who exactly takes the decisions. We should hope for the best, but fear the worst: That not only Russia but also the US try to disintegrate the European community.
Annen’s opinion on stepping up defense spending: Germany has witnessed an increase in foreign policy leadership thanks to converging positions of the ruling parties CDU and SPD. However, Germany’s leadership role is confined to the refugees, diplomacy, and Ukraine: leading from behind. Germany could never take a US-like leadership role. The most important resource of Germany is trust, which is why not every expectation can or should be fulfilled.
Climate Change Memo / Ellen Scholl
Main Feedback: The reduced budget in the US will pose a problem to the suggestions and to climate change efforts. While the Paris agreement is a major step, we cannot be sure whether the US administration sticks to it. Agrees with the sister city projects: cities are becoming global actors, Hamburg has partnerships in electric efficiency, transportation.
Development, Migration and Integration Memo / Mpaza Kapembwa and Tim Fingerhut
Main Feedback: UNHCR and WFP must receive a better funding, which worked well in 2017 thanks to German and US increased spending. Main problems: Germany is losing partners when it comes to redistribution efforts. The problem about the Marshall plan for Africa is lacking cooperation and communication with African states, corruption, and a wrong approach for growing (and not destroyed) economies.