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Berenskoetter, Felix (2011) 'Gefährliche Freundschaft: Der deutsche Einsatz in Afghanistan im transatlantischen Verhältnis.' Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, 4 (Sonderheft). pp. 271-298.

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This article assesses the claim that Germany’s security is being defended in Afghanistan from a social constructivist perspective. It draws on the concept of ontological security and the notion that such security is established, as well as threatened, in a relationship with friends. Against this theoretical backdrop, the article reviews German engagement in Afghanistan as an act of solidarity after the September 11 attacks and, consequently, analyzes its development between 2001 and 2010 in the context of the transatlantic relationship. It traces disagreements between Germany and the US regarding the very condition of their being in Afghanistan, namely post-war reconstruction or war fighting, and corresponding practices. It suggests that this enduring dissonance destabilised the government’s representation of Germany’s engagement in Afghanistan and posed a threat to German ontological security. Illustrated through debates surrounding police building and Bundeswehr behaviour in Afghanistan, the article depicts attempts by the Merkel government to adapt to American criticism without violating Germany’s civilian power identity as a difficult balancing act and argues that Germany was, indeed, facing a threat from Afghanistan, though one rooted in German-American friendship.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for International Studies & Diplomacy
ISSN: 18662188
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2011 14:40

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