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Geopolitical meanings "White book for security policy and the future of the Bundeswehr"
Material posted: Publication date: 11-11-2019

In modern developed countries the practice is to publish its official installation in the field of security policy and defence in doctrinal documents. These units have the geopolitical dimension, which attracts the attention of researchers [1].

Geopolitical essentially provisions are contained in the "White book" (Weissbuch), higher fundamental document on security policy of Germany, containing approved at the government level strategic direction and position of Germany in the modern world [2]. Germany has developed a practice of issuing a White paper by the Ministry of defence of Germany, and the last White paper was released on 13 July 2016.

Vision of the role of Germany in the world

In the early States of the self-determination of Germans, shaped by the lessons of their history and are part of the German identity is inextricably linked with the European. Advantages of Germany are the linkages with the world through economic, political and military value of Germany, moreover, Germany is increasingly perceived as a Central actor in Europe. Germany is an economically strong state with a stable social connections, superior infrastructure and the skilled manpower involved including from abroad. Politically, Germany can rely on a network of bilateral, intra-European, transatlantic and multipolar relations and institutions around the world. One should not ignore the cultural issue, in Germany continue to go to study foreign students, and the role of the German language in the world is constantly increasing.

But while there were such weaknesses as the possibility of losing fourth place in the ranking of countries in terms of GDP due to the rapid development of the Asian and Latin American countries that have the potential to circumvent not only Germany but the whole of the EU as a whole. Added to this is the dependence on a secure supply routes and markets, working information and communication systems, the dependence will continue to increase. On a global scale Germany is geographically and demographically a medium size country, population growth in the countries of Asia and Africa will have a serious pressure on Germany, the inflow of skilled labour does not much change the situation for the better. Finally, although Germany and can rely on its allies in NATO and the EU, it becomes all the more dependent in economic and military matters [3].

Summarizing, it should be said that the document provides a balanced feature of the geopolitical position of Germany in the modern world and declared that Germany is ready to assume greater responsibility on the world stage.

The geopolitical interests of Germany in the field of security

The interests of Germany dictated enshrined in the Constitution of this state values such as the protection of freedom, democracy, etc. and are determined by geographical location of Germany in Central Europe and its EU membership, coupled with economic and trade possibilities, which makes them geopolitical in nature.

So, the goals here are 1) the protection of citizens, sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country and allies, 2) preservation based on international law, world order, 3) responsible use of scarce resources and missing products in the world, 4) the deepening of European integration, and 5) strengthening of the transatlantic partnership. Special emphasis is placed on the allies and build confidence on their part, because the only way Germany can defend its territory and open society, and to use limited resources and get a chance to develop [4].

Views on the emerging world order

Following the "White book" will be considered emerging in the modern world a multi-polar world that is emerging in the context of globalization and digitalization and the crisis of the old order. The power in the world, along with States, are beginning to have non-state actors. The emerging multipolarity and shifting power are a result of the actions of key States in Asia, Africa and Latin America (example of China and BRICS). Germany supports the movement to multilateralism (multilateralism), but it is postulated that the United States, as before, will have a serious impact on the international stage, Germany will remain a loyal ally of the United States, gradually separating responsibility with him in the world in terms of interdependence in the emerging environment, security policies [5].

The European project is under pressure

The EU, as one of the most important areas of German security strategy was not remained without proper attention. Due to its economic power (second largest in the world), international relations and respect for EU law is one of the most important actors, to which upright faces the task to preserve the unity and solidarity of member countries, economic and technological leadership and to remain the example to follow. Challenges for him are the issues of migration, economic and financial crises and instability on its borders.
Of course, for the common good and in the interest of Germany as one of the most important centres of the EU, need to overcome all contradictions and to answer all challenges to bring about sustainable development in a rapidly changing world [6].

The perception of Russia and the attitude to it as a geopolitical actor

The document notes that Russia often calls into question the European security architecture and established borders, it is connected primarily with the question of the Crimea and war in Eastern Ukraine is having a serious impact on the security of Europe and Germany. Russia rejects partnership with the West and chooses the path of rivalry with him, this is manifested in the increased activity of the Russian armed forces on the borders of the EU and NATO, by waging hybrid war (an intermediate state between peace and war), and the strengthening of the Russian army. Russia tries to make itself self-sufficient center of gravity with global interests.

Russia also recognized the most important and the largest partner of the EU, the neighboring country, are important for building economic relations and European security architecture but it is a reservation that if Russia will not change its foreign policy, it will become over time a challenge to the security of the entire continent in General and Germany in particular [7].

In General, it should be noted that Germany, like any Western country, refuses to recognize the external interests of Russia, trying to impose their vision and to force Russia to dismantle all its foreign policy projects that do not fit into the views of Europeans and Americans.

Challenges for the German security policy

As noted, in the context of globalization, many challenges nullify the geographical distance, the world is becoming more interconnected. Therefore, the challenges are 1) international terrorism (the problem requires the involvement of the international community), 2) call information and cyber spaces (with the development of digitalization of the state have become increasingly dependent on these areas, and the absence of international agreements makes the temptation strikes in cyberspace tempting), 3) interstate conflicts (resurgence of classic power politics and the threat of hybrid warfare), 4) an unstable state (a new term, involving, according to some experts, the German intervention in the internal Affairs of other States after they have been declared insolvent, especially on the southern and Eastern borders of the EU), 5) the build-up of arms and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, 6) risk of transport, information, communication and trade routes, as well as security solutions for the delivery of resources and energy, 7) climate change 8) uncontrolled migration, 9) disease and epidemics [8].
In total, 6 of the 9 challenges related to the field of geopolitics, they are directly related to the issue of resource extraction and delivery actions in space (including cyberspace), with conflicts and attempts to solve them (or to interfere in the internal Affairs of other subjects), the others are directly connected with globalization, one of the factors of modern geopolitics.

Strategic priorities Germany

The strategic priorities of Germany formed on the basis of their values and interests, they konkretisiert what Germany will do to protect its foreign policy interests. The first is to ensure national participation, it means that the state and society should support each other, because it is becoming increasingly critical in the twenty-first century, when the domestic and foreign policy are becoming almost inseparable.
The second priority follows from the first, Germany needs to ensure the unity and collaboration of NATO and the EU, because Germany's security is closely linked with them historically and at the present stage.

The third priority is the unrestricted use of the information, transport, communication and trade routes, as the security of supply routes and energy resources, because Germany is heavily dependent on them. This may also include activities in all spheres, including space and cyber, because the States depend on satellites and digital technology.

The next priority is the timely detection, prevention and resolution of crises and conflicts, which will require, of course, analytical work and application methods, including geopolitical.

The last priority was the involvement of Germany in an international order based on international law, because lasting peace and stability does not create the right force, and the force of law. This priority is directly linked to attempts by Western countries to ensure the development of mankind in their chosen path [9].

The German participation in important international organizations

You should start with the most important international organization, UN. Germany makes a considerable contribution to the work of the organization, supporting its basic principles, financing and actively participating in international operations. Germany is ready to further expand its involvement, in particular, welcoming the reforms of the UN security Council (Germany is ready to become a permanent member of the security Council with veto power).

NATO has also given considerable attention, for example, supported measures on collective security, decision of the crisis, joint security and strengthening the European pillars of NATO (by increasing military spending, while Germany is willing to spend on defence in the region of 2 % of its GDP). As for Russia, Germany accepts the ambivalent, indicating, on the one hand, deterrence and readiness for defense, on the other, the willingness to engage in dialogue.
EU expected took an important place in the "White book". In addition to proposals for the support of Germany on the joint potential of the United Europe, States on the establishment of common security space, as well as the wider cooperation of defense industry of the participating countries. A defensive Alliance should also complement, but not replace NATO, which remains the core of European security [10].

We can only note that the approach of Germany to work with international institutions has not undergone any changes.

The Bundeswehr and its tasks and a vision in the future

The second part of the document deals with the actual Bundeswehr, the main instrument of German security policy. It is noted that Germany in the world want to see in the new format, as well as its armed forces, it implies the emergence of new tasks of the Bundeswehr (from now on, he may be subject for activities inside the country), the new image in the future (ready, armed and able to ensure not only the security of Germany, but also throughout Europe, in collaboration with allies) [11].

Reaction to the release of the White paper and its criticism

In Germany and abroad, it was mixed. At a press conference the former Minister of defence of Germany Ursula von der Leyen pointed out that in 10 years the situation in the sphere of security has changed significantly, the changes included the emergence of the Islamic state, Russia's annexation of Crimea, hybrid threats and risks in cyberspace. But, as defense Minister added, changed and Germany, or rather increased its weight in the international arena, which could give Germany a new opportunity in the world.

There is no doubt that this doctrinal document has caused wide criticism in Russia thanks to its emphasis on relations with Russia was noticeably shifted. About it said the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, the head of the Duma committees, many other politicians and experts, consider this edition of the White paper the attack on Russia [12]. Also some publications in Russia, said anti-Russian orientation of the document, analyze its contents [13].

Within Germany, the White paper also sparked serious discussion, operational in August 2016 has been published the so-called "Black book" (Schwarzbuch), critical edition by arms build-up and focus on the combat use of the armed forces of Germany (Bundeswehr), issued by the left party (Die Linke). This paper discusses the process of becoming "ready for combat use of the army" between 1990 and 2011, including detailed analysis of the involvement of the Bundeswehr in the war in Afghanistan and the war against terrorism, criticized the expansion of NATO and the existence of the organization in General, called into question the defensive nature of the foreign policy of Western countries, especially the example of the conflict in Ukraine and campaigning against the war and arms build-up [14].

The concept of "German interests" in foreign policy still continues to cause concern in Europe and abroad in connection with the past that makes it difficult not only their formation, but even the selection of suitable concepts to describe them [15].

Not less questions causes and the duality of the position of Germany (and the EU) about their own place in the world. On the one hand, emphasizes the importance of self-reliance, after all, European States often have substantial costs due to the unilateral actions of the United States (an example is the US withdrawal from the "Iranian transactions", which is one of the few foreign policy achievements of the EU). On the other hand, Germany continues to follow the policy of "Euro-Atlantic solidarity", stating that as a result of "turning point" in the international order is undermined strategic stability.

Accordingly, there is no reason to expect that Germany and other European allies of the United States will cease to follow in the footsteps of U.S. policy, which condemns them to the role of conductors of the will of Washington in the region and the world.

In General, as would the authors of the White paper, this document caused a stir in the community and abroad, renewing the discussion on security policy in Germany.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that the geopolitical content of the new White paper is sufficiently large. This fact shows that the German ruling and academia have shown a growing interest in geopolitics (so-called "Renaissance of geopolitics"), and the formulation of a new doctrinal documents and further inextricably linked.


  1. Belozerov, V. K. (2015) the Geopolitical meanings of the military doctrine of the Russian Federation // Geopolitics and security. No. 1. Pp. 9-15;
  2. Wege zum Weissbuch. – Berlin: Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, 2016. 32 S;
  3. 2016 Weissbuch zur Sicherheitspolitik und zur Zukunft der Bundeswehr. - Berlin, Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, 2016. S. 22-24;
  4. Ibid. S. 24-27;
  5. Ibid. S. 27-33;
  6. Ibid. S. 33-34;
  7. Ibid. S. 31-33;
  8. Ibid. S. 34-47;
  9. Ibid. S. 47-48;
  10. Ibid. S. 62-77;
  11. Ibid. S. 88-95;
  12. The "white book" Germany: new not only about Russia. URL : (accessed 01.11.19);
  13. "White book-2016": Germany recognizes the multi-polar world and chooses anti-Russian pole. URL: (accessed 02.11.19);
  14. Schwarzbuch. Kritisches Handbuch zur Aufrüstung und Einsatzorientierung der Bundeswehr. - Berlin, Mediaservice, 2016. 119 S;
  15. Belozerov, V. K. (2019) the concept of "people" and "nation" in Russian and international political and scientific discourse // Vestnik of Russian nation. No. 5. S. 118-125.

Sugonjaev P. M.

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