German Foreign Policy

What are the interests and ideas driving Germany’s foreign policy, both in Europe and beyond?

As an undergraduate, I became quite interested in the drivers of Germany’s foreign policy. And while I no longer actively pursue this question, some of the underlying concerns remain very close to my heart.

State identities

In particular, I remain fascinated by what constitutes and defines a state’s identity. In my own work, I found surprisingly deep ideational and organizational continuities in German foreign policy – continuities that out-lived partisan changes. I also found that ideas - from a default ordoliberal view of the economy, to a vaguely felt obligation to the German national interest, to the widely shared believe that Germany is, by and large, a force for good in the world - to be important drivers of foreign policy decisions.

In more recent work, I take up this question of state identity in the context of economic and fiscal policymaking. How, for example, does the way states understand themselves and their role in the economy influence their spending decisions?1 How do their views on the virtues of debt shape their views of the relative merits of savings and investments?2

The geopolitics of political economy

Another way in which my thinking on German foreign policy continues to inform my current work is by making me take the geopolitical dimension of politico-economic phenomena seriously. Especially in a world of ‘weaponized interdependence’3, geopolitics and the politics of economic and public policymaking are inextricably intertwined. Geopolitical concerns are crucial for innovation and innovation policy4; questions of internet governance are increasingly complicated by the geopolitical competition between different visions and versions of the internet; and, as I showed in my own work on Germany’s response to the euro crisis, seemingly economic decisions are in fact motivated by geopolitical ambitions as much as by economic interests.


  1. Mazzucato, M. (2013) The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths. London: Anthem Press.↩︎

  2. Dyson, K.H.F. (2014) States, Debt, and Power: “Saints” and “Sinners” in European History and Integration. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.↩︎

  3. Farrell, H. and Newman, A.L. (2019) ‘Weaponized Interdependence: How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion’, International Security, 44(1), pp. 42–79.↩︎

  4. Weiss, L.M. (2014) America inc.? Innovation and enterprise in the national security state. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.↩︎