In a SPIEGEL interview, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder talks about how difficult it is for citizens to accept military deployments abroad, the country′s leadership role and what justifies war.
»By saying yes to Kosovo and Afghanistan, we Germans became an equal partner in the international community. A partner with obligations to fulfill, but one that had also acquired rights. That includes the right to say no when we are not convinced that a military intervention makes sense. But my policy wasn’t entirely without historical precedent. When former Chancellor Willy Brandt devised his Ostpolitik policy, there were very intensive discussions with the United States, which wasn’t convinced that it was the right approach. But he remained undeterred. In terms of fundamental issues, German foreign policy was shaped in Bonn at the time, and it was the same under former Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl. In other words, it was done in Berlin and not in Washington. That’s how I put it later on.«