According to Dieter Dettke, Germany’s refusal to participate in the Iraq war signaled a resumption of the country’s willingness to assert itself in global affairs, even in the face of contradictory U.S. desires.

Germany Says “No” reviews the country’s actions in major international crises from the first Gulf War to the war with Iraq, concluding—in contrast to many models of contemporary German foreign policy—that the country’s civilian power paradigm has been succeeded by a defensive structural realist approach. Dettke traces the implications of this change for Germany’s participation in multilateral institutions as well as bilateral relations with the U.S., France, Russia, China, and India.

Dieter Dettke is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program and senior non-resident fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2006–7.


List of Tables and Figures


1. Introduction: A Normal European Power

2. Normalization, National Identity, and the Problem of German Power

3. The Impact of German Unification on Europe

4. Civilian Power and the Use of Force

5. Germany, September 11, and the War on Terror

6. The German Opposition to the Iraq War, German Identity, and the Crisis of Transatlantic Relations

7. EU Foreign and Security Policy and the Enduring Reality of German Great Power Bilateralism

8. Conclusion: Germany, Europe, and the West


"This book provides a panorama of contemporary German foreign policy, based on the reflections of a thoughtful practitioner. Dettke pulls together an impressive variety of sources and his approach is provocative, which will get the attention of the specialist community." -- Stephen Szabo, The Transatlantic Academy

"Germany Says 'No' is a well-crafted, well-argued account of the personalities, policies, and processes that have characterized Germany's emergence as a major security player. It represents a formidable research and writing effort and deserves a wide audience on both sides of the Atlantic." -- Catherine M. Kelleher, University of Maryland

"Dieter Dettke has written what should be the definitive account of German-American relations during the imbroglio over the Iraq war. Putting this particular crisis in historical perspective, he shows how it relates to the adjustment of the overall relationship between these two key powers in the NATO Alliance, and provides a clear -- and compelling -- picture of Germany's evolution as a 'normal' power, taking its full place in the Alliance and international politics. A highly insightful and instructive book." -- Robert E. Hunter, RAND Corporation and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO

"The best book so far explaining Germany's role in the clash between Europe and America over the Iraq war, placing it into the context of a highly perceptive analysis of Germany's foreign policy as a great power, its options, constraints and relevance to the U.S. and the world." -- Karl Kaiser, Harvard University

"Dieter Dettke offers us a candid and comprehensive analysis of the evolution of German foreign policy, examining the dynamic global framework of international politics that is fundamentally changing the choices confronting Germany, Europe, and the United States." -- Jackson Janes, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies

"Dieter Dettke is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced interpreters of Germany. He provides an invaluable treatment, not just of past alliance controversies surrounding the Iraq War, but of the underlying interplay between domestic and foreign policy and of the unique role played by a unified Germany." -- Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University