Germany’s future standing in foreign affairs is at stake. We are fourth in a worldwide ranking of gross domestic product and the third largest export nation. The preservation of our level of prosperity is synonymous with the preservation of our position as a reliable international partner. It should be of vital interest to our policies.
Since overcoming the division of our country and continent, Germany’s relevance has grown. Since both the German and European domestic markets are too small for an economy of our size, Germany must protect free trade in the world. A third of our jobs depend on the success of our exports. Meanwhile, two thirds of our exports go to countries outside the euro zone. Without our export, our living standards would be half as high.
At the same time, as a great Western democracy, we have the duty to resolve conflicts and to maintain security and human rights. However, only when Germany carries its fair share of the burdens associated with all these interests can it fully perform its role on the international stage.
The “peace dividends” after the fall of the wall have been used up. Tanks are no longer facing off in the valleys and forests of Saxony. Instead, German soldiers must be ready for duty in the world’s new, asymmetrical conflicts.