Cornelius AdebahrNonresident fellow at Carnegie Europe
Judging by the country’s first-ever security strategy unveiled last week, the answer must be a full-throated “yes, no, maybe, but little by little.”
The war in Ukraine has certainly had more of an impact on German threat perceptions than the longer-than-expected process of interministerial coordination and public consultation that had been agreed to already prior to Russia’s invasion. That said, the document has left many experts disenchanted for its lack of prioritization of goals as well as operational clarity. Instead, it basically reaffirms Berlin’s recent course correction while suggesting that the government would simply have to do better what it already does for things to improve.
So yes, Germany is slowly getting more serious than before about security, but not in the right sense. Despite the integrated security hallmark, it is tilted toward old-fashioned military responses interspersed with references to domestic issues like critical infrastructure and societal resilience—and a single mention of artificial intelligence.
Instead of only upping the defensive, it could have also suggested ways to minimize threats from abroad through comprehensive and far-sighted policies. Moreover—and this is the “maybe” part—the strategy speaks more of institutions than of how Germany intends to work with partner countries.