America's Weird Desire for a More Aggressive Germany

While Germans desire their government to tone down its foreign military adventurism, Americans have been told and believe Germany should do just the opositite

This article originally appeared in the American Conservative

A recent Pew survey of American and German views found something curious:

It is not surprising that Germans are overwhelmingly opposed to a more active military role for their country. Aversion to military interventionism is deeply ingrained in Germany for obvious reasons, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. For that matter, there is no good reason why it ought to change. What would be the purpose of a “more active military role” for Germany? So that Germany could participate in more unnecessary wars outside Europe?

German public opinion has been consistently against a more aggressive foreign policy that many Western pundits and policymakers, including a few German ones, would like Germany to have, but I had assumed that this was just a preoccupation of elite foreign policy hawks. I wasn’t expecting to find broad support from the American public for a more militarily activist Germany. It would be interesting to know why a majority of Americans wants this or thinks it necessary. The partisan difference on this question is also rather odd, since Democrats are more likely to favor a more active military role for Germany than Republicans:

I’m not sure that the respondents have a clear idea what this would mean in practice, and it’s possible that there would be less support if Americans were asked about German participation in specific interventions. Nonetheless, it’s a remarkable and rather depressing finding that should be kept in mind.

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