Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a sudden shift in German defense policy. After years of resisting pleas by the U.S. to take more responsibility for Europe’s defense, Germany hiked military spending and declared its intention to wean itself off its dependence on Russian energy. As Western Europe’s most powerful country, with influence felt throughout the continent, Germany’s reversal could have sweeping ramifications for the future of European security and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
German national security experts Liana Fix, Andreas Kluth, and Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook discuss this about-face. Protected by America’s security umbrella, Germany, they argue, had come to view power politics as a thing of the past, and accommodation as the way to address Russia’s malign behavior. Now awakened to Europe’s geopolitical realities, Germany will have to reimagine a more active role in European security.