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Last week, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel interrupted his holiday on the North Sea to respond to Turkey's jailing of a German human-rights activist.This amounts to a new German policy toward Turkey, and it further confirms Germany's status as an economic great power. Still, Germany's changing global posture predates Gabriel, who is a relative newcomer at the foreign ministry. During the euro crisis, Germany deployed economic means for economic ends within Europe. But in its policies toward Russia, Turkey, China and the United States, Germany has increasingly been using its economic strength to advance larger strategic goals.After Putin annexed Crimea in March 2014, the West's response was led not by the U.S., but by Germany, which spearheaded diplomacy with Russia and Ukraine to de-escalate the conflict. Germany has maintained that united European front for three years, defying all expectations. And now that Russia-related scandals loom large over U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, Europeans are increasingly looking to Germany to continue its leadership on this issue.Germany's changing diplomacy represents a continuation of the "normalization" process that began with German reunification in 1989, spawning major domestic debates about the use of military force and the importance of Germany's relationships with the U.S., Russia and other European powers.
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