Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/21/2012 -- The defence posture of Germany has been controversial domestically since the end of World War II, and little is likely to change in this regard in the future, given the pacifistic nature of a significant element of the German population. The country's participation in the ongoing NATO campaign in Afghanistan remains deeply controversial domestically, and politicians and public opinion alike will no doubt be relieved once the country's intervention there ceases in the 2014/15 time frame. This will be in line with NATO's overall goals of vacating Afghanistan by this date, and handing over domestic security duties to the Afghan National Army and Police Force.
Berlin is now looking closely at the posture of its armed forces in the post-Afghanistan environment, closely following France and the United Kingdom, its two comparably sized military partners in the European Union and NATO. Over the long term, defence planners in Germany are trying to reorient the country's armed forces towards a smaller, more mobile, posture. Germany's position as the strategic centre of Europe, buttressing east and west, has largely dissipated since the end of the Cold War.
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Similarly, the ethnic upheaval that threw the Balkans into a costly civil war during the 1990s has largely subsided into an uneasy peace. Although this region remains tense, it is arguably becoming more of a law-and-order challenge rather than a potential flashpoint for a renewed European conflict. Germany is contemplating the forces it will need to deploy abroad in support of UN, EU and NATO future operations. Germany's historical legacy means that it is still most likely to act in this respect as part of an international coalition of nations, rather than unilaterally. Recent deployments to Afghanistan and the Balkans have underlined the fact that Germany has an increasingly outward-looking expeditionary mindset when it comes to military operations abroad. That said, for the foreseeable future, the deployment of German forces beyond the country's borders is still likely to be viewed with suspicion and outright opposition in a significant part of the country's population.
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