Germany cements growing military role abroad

"Int'l conflict prevention and crisis management, including fight against terrorism, are more probable tasks in foreseeable future."

October 25, 2006 10:44
1 minute read.
Germany cements growing military role abroad

german soldier 88. (photo credit: )

Germany cements its growing military role abroad and sets the scene for more German peacekeepers to serve across the world in new security guidelines that the Cabinet was to approve Wednesday. The 133-page document drawn up by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is the first such review to be issued in 12 years, a period in which Germany's diplomatic and military engagement around the world has increased greatly. "An important role in the future shaping of Europe and beyond falls on the united Germany," the document says. It adds that "trans-Atlantic relations remain the basis of German and European common security," says German-American ties require "constant care and deepening through mutual consultation and agreed action" and stresses that the European Union and NATO are "not in competition." While defending Germany and its allies against attack remains the main military task, "international conflict prevention and crisis management, including the fight against international terrorism, are the more probable tasks in the foreseeable future," the document says. Those tasks, it adds, "shape the capabilities, leadership systems, availability and equipment" of the military. Germany has been emerging slowly from its post-World War II diplomatic shell since reunification in 1990. Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl broke a taboo against troops abroad by sending military medics to support the UN mission in Cambodia in 1992. Germany now has some 9,000 troops abroad - deployed in Afghanistan, Congo, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere as well as on their newest mission, patrolling the sea off Lebanon after the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The new guidelines suggest that could increase in future. "The national target is the deployment of up to 14,000 soldiers simultaneously, spread over up to five different areas," the document says. It stresses that deployments abroad need to be part of a "comprehensively integrated effort that links civilian and military instruments effectively." The United States has called for its European allies to increase defense spending. Germany spends 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, compared with 3.7 percent in the US Still, Merkel has said budget restraints would continue to limit defense spending. Wednesday's document said only that "there is no room for further reductions in spending." It also stands by compulsory military service, which it says has "proven itself unreservedly." Germany's previous center-left government was divided over whether it should be maintained.

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