Berlin—At the Munich Security Conference earlier this year, the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck asked the following key questions:

  • “Has Germany already adequately recognized the new threats and the changing structure of the international order?

  • “Has Germany shown enough initiative to ensure the future viability of the networks of norms, friends, and alliances, which after all brought us peace in freedom and democracy in prosperity?”

A moment later he took it upon himself to provide the answers: “Germany should make a more substantial contribution, and it should make it earlier and more decisively if it is to be a good partner.”

His remarks prompted an intensive debate—immediately narrowed to the issue of Germany’s engagement in and contributions to current and future military operations. However, his remarks were meant as a wake-up call designed to start a much broader discussion of Germany’s...

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