In March a C3000 post: ”A growing European reluctance to continue war-fighting ” noted that opinion polls in Germany reported the opposition of a ‘solid majority’ of Germans to their country’s military role in Afghanistan.
At the end of May Quentin Peel writing in Berlin for the Financial Times gave a good overview of the situation:
“Ever since the federal republic of Germany was founded in 1949, from the ruins of a state that had been shattered and divided after its defeat in the second world war, its population has had an ambivalent attitude towards the use of military force. Its soldiers are defined as “citizens in uniform”. The mission of the Bundeswehr is to “defend Germany and its citizens from political blackmail and external danger”, according to the official handbook. That includes contributing to “peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region”.
He explains that they had seen NATO, to which they are committed , as a defensive alliance and are therefore deeply uneasy about the war in Afghanistan and that the NATO debate on whether to give the alliance a permanent “expeditionary” capacity to fight such wars, worries many Germans.
Many must be aware that the war and the proposal for an expeditionary force are contrary to their law as it stands:
Article 24 [International organizations]
(3) For the settlement of disputes between states, the Federation shall accede to agreements providing for general, comprehensive, and compulsory international arbitration.
Article 26 [Ban on preparations for war of aggression]
Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.