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Germany seeks stronger global military role

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The “Patriot” air defense missile system is presented on December 18, 2012 in Warbelow, northern Germany.

Germany is flexing its muscles to play a stronger military role across the world to terminate the “pacifism” it has pursued in the decades following World War II, an analyst says.

Nicholas Kulish wrote in a The New York Times article on Saturday that the German government is seeking to increase its military engagement in the world, quoting Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying at a reception for military families last month that Germany “will soon encompass the entire globe.”

Only hours after Merkel’s speech, the country’s lawmakers debated about increasing the number of the German soldiers abroad, currently at 6,000, by sending 400 troopers to Turkey along the Syrian border, the report said.

The soldiers were expected to operate Germany’s two Patriot missile batteries, which Turkey requested its NATO partners to deploy ‘to protect its border with Syria.’

“For decades, we Germans have benefited from the fact that our partners gave us the feeling of reliable security. Now we are in a position and have the duty, even, to make our impact felt,” German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the MPs.

The German lawmakers voted in favor of the move two days later, while only a few number of people protested in front of the Brandenburg Gate against the deployment of troops and missiles to Turkey.

This is while Germany’s military plans have always attracted mass protests across the country, with people highlighting the country’s former positions in wars.

Germany has also developed its arms products over the past years, becoming the third largest arms exporter in the world, after the US and Russia. It not only sends arms to NATO partners and its allies like Israel, but to the Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia.

The German magazine, Der Spiegel, described Germany’s arms export policy as “German Weapons for the World,” saying the country exported 10 billion euros, or over $13 billion worth of arms in 2011.

“Germany is back in the game as one of the most important countries in the Western Hemisphere, but the kind of responsibility that goes with that is not really reflected in German government behavior,” said Olaf Bِhnke, the head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“If Germany wants to be in a leadership position, you need stronger military engagement,” Bِhnke added.

German soldiers have been in Afghanistan since 2001, when US-led forces invaded the country. German army also sent its first Tiger attack helicopters to the war-ravaged country in December.


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