Reluctant Followers: Germany, Japan, and the Future of International Order

June 3, 2020, 10:00 am EDT

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The present turbulence in world politics and the decay of U.S. leadership poses severe challenges for two of America’s most steadfast and committed allies, Germany and Japan. As trading states and “civilian powers,” both are particularly dependent on an effective and legitimate rules-based international order – yet that order in the past heavily relied on American leadership, which Berlin and Tokyo did much to buttress as Washington’s partners in Europe and East Asia. How have they responded to the challenges? Are they stepping up to assume more responsibility for maintaining and developing a rules-based international order? Will that include a greater willingness to build and project military power, something both have been reluctant to do, given their militarist past?

Professor Hanns W. Maull held the Chair for Foreign Policy and International Relations at the University of Trier in Germany until March 2013; since then, he has been teaching as Adjunct Professor of International Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Bologna Center. He is also a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. He has published extensively on the foreign policies of Germany, the EU and Japan, on regional security co-operation and regional order in Europe and Asia Pacific. His most recent publication is Reluctant Warriors: Germany, Japan and Their U.S. Alliance Dilemma (Brookings 2020). See also upcoming (June/July) Survival “Germany, Japan and the Fate of International Order,” with Ellis Krauss.

Professor Mike Mochizuki holds the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Dr. Mochizuki was director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies from 2001 to 2005. He co-directs the “Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific” research and policy project of the Sigur Center. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was also Co-Director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at RAND and has taught at the University of Southern California and Yale University.

Dr. Gale A. Mattox directs the Foreign and Security Policy Program at AGI. She is a professor in the Political Science Department at the United States Naval Academy and an alumna of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program.