Why Germany was Against the Libya Intervention.

Merkel_0 Jeffrey Herf in The New Republic:

Since the bitter disputes over nuclear weapons in the 1980s, elements of the mood that Schwarz described on the West German left have become part of a much broader consensus in the German foreign policy establishment. For its adherents, this mood is a civilized and decent response to the aggression and crimes of the Nazi regime. It means the replacement of primitive nationalisms of the past with multilateral principles of an integrated Europe. And it assumes that webs of interdependence created by the global economy will make problems solvable through negotiations and dialogue.

These views have dominated German politics since at least summer 2002, when Gerhard Schröder emphatically opposed the coming Iraq war—but the ascension of this worldview went beyond just Iraq. As Andrei Markovits has convincingly demonstrated in his book Uncouth Nation, Schröder’s opposition to Bush’s policies stoked anti-American sentiments in German society. While Germany did send 7,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, their rules of engagement are far more restricted than are those of American and other coalition forces, and their presence remains unpopular in Germany. The massive support for Obama in the summer of 2008—when 200,000 people turned out to cheer him in Berlin—rested partly on the belief that, as the “anti-Bush,” he would turn away from American military intervention, especially in the Middle East. Moreover, in the long and drawn-out negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, there has been a powerful establishment current opposing tougher economic sanctions and certainly any hint of a military option. Indeed, in a 2009 book about Germany and Iran, the German political scientist Matthias Küntzel referred to the emergence of a “new constellation. On the one side, the Western powers, the USA, France and Great Britain and on the other side, Russia, China and the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The current government of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is steeped in this intellectual consensus.