In this first full-length U.S. study of German foreign policy since unification, Bach explores how different understandings of national identity influence and shape policy, in particular, the decision to send German troops to join the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. Placing the German debates in social and historical context, he identifies major narratives within the German foreign policy community from which emerge divergent interpretations of national identity. Through a discursive analysis of parliamentary debates, Bach highlights how the emergence of a "normal" foreign policy is caught between competing understandings of the nation and the ambiguous role of the state, as both increasingly confront the uncertain trajectories of integration and globalization. Mixing theoretical and empirical analyses, Bach charts the tension between universalism and particularism in German foreign policy and national identity from Germany's first unification to its most recent. The implications reach beyond Germany to shed light on the paradoxical relationship between politics, policy and identity amidst changing conceptions of state, nation, and the international system.
"An excellent piece of work: sophisticated, consistently well-informed, well organized and clearly written. It moves the debate on sovereignty and national identity into a distictly different key than that defined by such outstanding authors as David Campbell: the context provided by significant historiographical conflicts over the meaning and direction of foreign policy. That this is done for the German case, rather than the by now all too familiar American one, also shifts the debate away from current ground." (John Agnew, Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles)
About the Author: Jonathan P. G. Bach is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University. He received his Ph. D. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.