NATO’s Rasmussen: ‘Active Role’ for Germany ‘Decisive for Europe’s Future’

In an interview, outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discusses Germany’s postwar tradition of pacificism and his belief the country is now ready, and indeed has the responsibility, to take on a greater role in global affairs.

SPIEGEL: Twenty-five years after reunification and almost seven decades after the end of World War II, has Germany become a country just like every other in terms of security policy?

Rasmussen: Germany is a normal country today, with the kinds of rights and duties other countries have. That’s why Germany should play an important role in foreign and security policy, be it in the EU, NATO or in international politics.

SPIEGEL: So he spoke directly to your heart when German President Joachim Gauck recently called for a more active German foreign policy, military means included?

Rasmussen: I don’t want to interfere with a domestic German debate. But I do very much agree with the position expressed by the German president. I welcome this debate. And not only as NATO secretary general, but also as the former prime minister of Denmark, the small neighbor country once occupied by Germany. Germany needs this debate. I can understand Germany being very cautious when it comes to international military deployments because of its past. But the time has come in Germany for this debate. Europe is ready for it, too. The goal should be to develop a common understanding for how Germany’s new role might look. Continue reading