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Dr. Camilla Bausch Comments on Cem Özdemir’s Foreign Policy Approach

Dr. Camilla Bausch Comments on Cem Özdemir’s Foreign Policy Approach

3 August 2017
“Value-based realism” in foreign policy calls for coherent action, both at home and abroad, and a socio-ecological transformation

In the wake of the German elections in 2017, the lead candidate of the Green Party, Cem Özdemir, presented his foreign policy concept. Dr. Camilla Bausch of Ecologic Institute and Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff of the German Marshall Fund were invited to comment on his approach, which he framed as "value-based realism".

In his keynote, Cem Özdemir explained his foreign policy approach. As the world is rapidly changing, he called for "value-based realism" and Germany taking on more responsibility in the world. Foreign policy has to be based on values while acknowledging the realities we live in. Parts of this reality are challenges like the crisis of democracy, terrorism and climate change. Such challenges can be best addressed together with other nations. A strong Europe, for example, is good for the climate. In this context he advised for a strong cooperation, particularly between Berlin and Paris. But value-based realism would also require living up to one’s own standards at home. This is vital to build the trust needed for successful foreign policy. Ultimately he called on Germany to set an example. In this context he also underlined the importance of civil society as well as a socio-ecological paradigm shift – particularly in the field of development cooperation.

Kleine-Brockhoff and Dr. Bausch commented by underlining the rapid changes in the world – fueled for example by digitalization and mobility options – as well as the shift in power in an increasingly multipolar world. In this dynamic context international cooperation and rule-based foreign policy are stabilizing factors. They are also vital for finding solutions for common problems like climate change. Dr. Bausch emphasized that the common global agenda is reflected in the Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Now that this agenda outlines the world we want to live in, it has to be the basis and reference point for action and policy making. The approach as taken by President Trump, which sees the world as a fierce fight between separate interest groups, does not work towards this goal. But the climate policy outcomes of the 2017 German G20 summit for example show that his approach isolates him many respects. Kleine-Brockhoff and Dr. Bausch agreed with Özdemir on the importance of Germany's embedment within Europe as well as the coherent action "at home". 

The event entitled "Shared responsibility for security, climate protection, development: Guidelines of value-driven German foreign policy [Gemeinsame Verantwortung für Sicherheit, Klimaschutz, Entwicklung: Leitlinien einer wertegeleiteten deutschen Außenpolitik]" was organized by the Schwarzkopf Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the German Council on Foreign Relations.

The evening was moderated by the late Dr. Sylke Tempel, Editor-in-Chief of the Berlin Policy Journal / Internationale Politik (IP). With many, Ecologic Institute mourns the death of Sylke Tempel, who has been an inspiring partner for many years.

3 August 2017
Berlin, Germany
Dr. Camilla Bausch, foreign policy, Cem Özdemir, DGAP, German Marshall Fund, foreign policy, climate protection, civil society, shrinking democratic space, crisis, development, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Sylke Tempel, Schwarzkopf Foundation, GMF, ECFR, security, value-based realism, DGAP, SDG, Agenda 2030, sustainable development