Anti-Americanism in post 9/11 Germany

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2005

23 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Table of Content

1. Introduction

2. Moravcsik’s liberal core assumptions

3. From 9/11 to the Iraq War
a. 9/11 and the German reaction
b. Afghanistan War/ Operation Enduring Freedom
c. Iraq War/ Operation Iraqi Freedom

4. The sources and possible consequences of Anti-Americanism in Germany

5. Conclusion


1. Introduction

For the past five decades Germany and the United States of America have been reliable allies. They strongly focused on common interests and threats and worked hand in hand to overcome problems and crises. The USA protected West Germany from the Soviet threat by sponsoring economic growth through the Marshall plan, it kept West Berlin alive through the airlift in 1948/49 and helped to establish a civil democracy with an economic success story that was until that point in history unheard of. “On October 3, 1990, German unification was achieved, due in large part to close German-American diplomatic cooperation despite resistance from France, Britain, and the Soviet Union, all of whom feared that a reunified Germany would upset the stable balance in Europe.”[1]

Throughout time Germany and the USA had built a partnership that was founded on trust, friendship, extensive cooperation on numerous levels and common interests. After reunification the partnership seemed so strong and stable, that President George H. W. Bush called Germany “a partner in leadership”[2]. Of course the transatlantic relations have never been trouble-free. There were differences and arguments on several occasions. One crisis, among others, developed in 1979 over NATO’s decision to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Germany. A wide spectrum of the German population was quite critical about the policies of the American Administration, yet the phenomenon of strong, far-reaching and fundamental Anti-Americanism could mostly be confined to the radical political left. Furthermore “in these and other cases of friction between the United States, the German chancellor voiced criticism but in the end supported American policy.”[3]

In the past few years this has changed dramatically. A widespread conflagration of Anti- Americanism has spread throughout the German society and its political elite. Demonstrations

against a war in Iraq drew a new crowd of anti-American protesters. “Demonstrators came not only from the ranks of the usual suspects-i.e., the till-then virtually dormant peace movements, left and green political parties, and universities and schools- but also from church groups, trade unions, and community associations. To a surprisingly high degree, they represented people who had never before attended a demonstration.”[4] It seems that Anti- Americanism has become the German Lingua franca [5] . This development in recent years is quite alarming and disturbing, as Germany could be seen as the “most Americanized of European countries”[6]. It is even more questionable considering the fact that this new wave of anti-American sentiments has emerged after a period of great sympathy, compassion and fellowship with the American people.

The aim of this paper is to examine the following:

What are the sources for the new anti-American sentiments after the 9/11 era in Germany and have these attitudes of the majority of the German population influenced German foreign policy making? With respect to the anti-American sentiments influencing German foreign policy, the Liberalist theory of Andrew Moravcsik will function as a basis for finding an accurate result. The core assumptions of his analysis will be the focus of this paper.

The introduction will be followed by a short overview of the Liberal theory by Moravcsik and his three core assumptions of Liberal IR Theory. Here his 1997 essay in International Organization was of great importance and functioned as a basis of his theory.

The third part of the paper will focus on the development of German foreign policies and German attitudes towards the United States from the time of September 11, 2001 till to beginning of the Iraq War. The works of Jung/Roth, Mowle, Szabo, Werz and Woodward were primarily analysed. These works were mainly published between the years 2001 and 2004. Furthermore the German and the International Press was considered, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Financial Times, Tageszeitung and Die Zeit. The studies of the years 2002 and 2003 of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press were invaluable, as they provided reliable data. Additional data was taken from the German Institute Forsa and Forschungsgruppe Wahlen. The speeches that were held by President Bush and Chancellor Schröder were taken from the Office of the Press Secretary, especially speeches or press conferences from the years 2001 and 2002 found special consideration.

The fourth part of the paper will concentrate mainly on the possible sources and roots of the new anti-American attitudes and whether or not the German-U.S. relations still share common fields of interests. Here the works of Hollander, Pollack, Prestowitz and Szabo were consulted. Data was again taken from the Pew Research Center, especially the reports 2002 and 2003 were decisive. Moreover press articles were analysed, here in particular the New York Times, Der Spiegel and Die Welt.

The last part of the paper draws up a conclusion and answers the given questions. The literature quoted there has been referenced.

2. Moravcsik’s liberal core assumptions

The liberal core assumptions of the Princeton Professor Andrew Moravcsik are of great importance for this paper, as they highlight a new aspect in international relations. “Liberal IR theory elaborates the insight that state-society relations – the relationship of states to the domestic and transnational social context in which they are embedded – have a fundamental impact on state behaviour in world politics.”[7] It therefore can be treated as an alternative to the two dominant theories in contemporary IR study: realism and institutionalism. In Liberalism it is no longer the states that function as the primary actors in world politics, as in realism[8] or in institutionalism[9] ; the primary actors in International Relations are societal actors. Additionally, “For liberals, the configuration of state preferences matters most in world politics – not as realists argue, the configuration of capabilities and not, as institutionalists… maintain, the configuration of information and institutions.”[10] Not the capabilities or the institutions matter, but the will and the determination of the societal actors. Therefore “the historical project of Liberalism is the domestication of the international.”[11]

Moravcsik has structured his thesis into three core assumptions: the first is the Primacy of Societal Actors, the second assumption is the Representation and State Preferences and the third assumption is Interdependence and the International System.

The main assertion in the first assumption is that “The fundamental actors in international politics are individuals and private groups, who are on the average rational and risk-averse and who organize exchange and collective action to promote differentiated interests.”[12] Moravcsik further argues that: “In pursuing these goals, individuals are on the average risk averse; that is, they strongly defend existing investments but remain more cautious about assuming cost and risk in pursuit of new gains”[13]. It is necessary to examine this statement later on with regard to whether or not it is valid concerning our particular case, especially if the majority of the German population was risk-averse and rational in their behaviour.

The second core assumption elucidates about the duties of the state. “States… represent some subset of domestic society; on the basis of whose interests state officials define state preferences and act purposively in world politics…the state is not an actor but a representative institution constantly subject to capture and recapture, construction and reconstruction by coalitions of societal actors.”[14] The representative institutions of the state function as a transmission belt that observes and evaluates specific preferences of powerful domestic groups and individuals and in conclusion translate those into state policies. The domestic groups therefore constantly pressure the central decision makers (the government) to pursue policies that are coherent with their preferences.

The third core assumption elaborates on the configuration of interdependent state preferences and how these determine state behaviour. The “link between state preferences, on the one hand, and the behaviour of one or more states, on the other, is provided by the concept of policy interdependence. Policy interdependence is defined here as the set of costs and benefits created for foreign societies when dominant social groups in a society seek to realize their preferences…Liberal theory assumes that the pattern of interdependent state preferences imposes a binding constraint on state behaviour.”[15]

Furthermore Moravcsik argues that the patterns of interdependence induced by efforts to realize state preferences can be divided into three categories, which correspond to the strategic situation that result.

The first category is “where preferences are naturally compatible or harmonious, that is, where the externalities of unilateral policies are optimal for others (or insignificant), there are strong incentives for coexistence with low conflict.”[16]

The second category focuses on the situation “where an attempt by dominant social groups in one country to realize their preferences through state action necessarily imposes costs (negative externalities) on dominant social groups in other countries, governments face a bargaining game with few mutual gains and a high potential for interstate tension and conflict.”[17] In other words a conflicting situation is most likely to occur when one state advances demands to which other states are unwilling to submit, as there societal actors are opposed to such policies.


[1] Stephen Szabo: Parting Ways. The Crisis in German-American Relations. Washington D.C 2004, p.4.

[2] Quote in: Ibid, p.4.

[3] Ibid., p.8.

[4] Mary Nolan: Anti-Americanism and Anti-Europeanism. In: Gardner, Lloyd/ Young, Marilyn (Ed.): The New American Empire. A 21st Century Teach- In on U.S Foreign Policy. New York 2005, p.124.

[5] Cf.: Andrei S. Markovits: Amerika, dich haßt sich’s besser. Antiamerikanismus und Antisemitismus in Europa. Hamburg 2004, p. 15.

[6] Mary Nolan: Anti- Americanization in Germany. In: Ross, Andrew/ Ross, Kristin (Ed.): Anti- Americanism. New York 2004, p. 125.

[7] Andrew Moravcsik: Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics. In: International Organization 51, 4 autumn 1997, p. 513.

[8] For a detailed illustration of realism see: Hans Morgenthau: Macht und Frieden. Gütersloh 1963.

[9] For a detailed illustration of institutionalism see: Robert Keohane: International Theory in International Relations. In: Brecher, Micheal/ Harvey, Frank (Ed.): Realism and Institutionalism in International Studies. Ann Arbor 2002, p.153-159.

[10] Moravcsik 1997, p. 513.

[11] Tim Dunne: Liberalism. In: Baylis, John/Smith, Steve (Ed.): The Globalization of World Politics. An introduction to international relations. Oxford 2001, p. 187.

[12] Moravcsik 1997, p. 516.

[13] Ibid., p.517.

[14] Ibid., p.518.

[15] Moravcsik 1997, p.520.

[16] Ibid., p.520.

[17] Ibid., p.520.

Excerpt out of 23 pages


Anti-Americanism in post 9/11 Germany
University of Regensburg  (Institut für Internationale Politik)
Internationale Politik
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ISBN (Book)
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This paper focuses on the emerging Anti-Americanism after 9/11, with the theoretical background of the Liberalist theory.
Anti-Americanism, Germany, Internationale, Politik
Quote paper
Nils Schmieder (Author), 2005, Anti-Americanism in post 9/11 Germany, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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