The uneven distribution of climate impacts and emissions has long hindered a coherent international response to climate change. Moreover, given the return of great power politics, revisionist powers appear ready to weaponize the dependencies that result from attempting to address such challenges multilaterally – even at the expense of their own long-term security. Although the need to respond to Russia’s war in Ukraine has made the political case for fighting climate change harder to make, Germany must prioritize climate as a collective, global dimension of its security as it drafts its National Security Strategy (NSS).
On February 27, 2022, the German government announced a sea change in its security and foreign policy in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Chancellor Olaf Scholz referred to as a Zeitenwende. Although the government’s official translation for that term is “watershed,” the original German is a bit more nuanced, signifying a turn of the times and a historical geopolitical shift.
But what does the new era proclaimed by the German government mean in practice, especially when the war that spurred it is ongoing and could lead to multiple outcomes? While the measures announced so far entail considerable changes to Germany’s defense, finance, and energy policies, it is not yet clear which strategic goals they should achieve or how they can be put into operation.
This situation provides DGAP with a unique opportunity to actively shape Germany’s foreign policy. The aim is to stimulate a necessary discussion of the basic features of a new Euro-Atlantic security order beyond day-to-day political developments: Germany and Europe must jointly develop a vision of a new global order.
This dossier provides an overview of DGAP’s expertise and activities that are helping German policy-makers set a course to successfully shape its strategic rethink. Our goal is also to provide impetus for a more unified European security order as the success of Germany’s Zeitenwende will have to be measured by how self-determinedly Europe can shape its security in the coming years.