Siegfried Schieder
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‘Civilian power’ seen from abroad
The external image of Germany’s foreign policy
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This chapter builds on a constructivist reading of German foreign policy and reconstructs the political, historical and intellectual context in which Germany’s role concept as a ‘civilian power’ has evolved after the Second World War. Furthermore, it explores how Germany has modified its ‘civilian’ foreign policy in view of an increasingly complex international environment since the 1990s, and how Germany’s revised foreign policy is perceived from abroad. In more detail, it asks whether Germany is still seen as a ‘civilian power’ and reveals a marked dissonance between Germany’s self-perception and the perception of others. In particular, Germany’s transatlantic allies are increasingly generating unease and criticism, and this criticism may also undermine Germany’s credibility both at home and abroad.

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