Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Berlin, Day 5: Cue up the song Wipeout

Hit the wall this evening. Was going to type up my notes from 2.5 days of interviews (already did the first morning), but running out of energy.

I presented the latest version of our Caveats paper to the SWP, Germany's leading think tank. I was hosted by Markus Kaim, who has been working on NATO and ISAF stuff. It was the first time I said out loud what I think I learned in Paris, but the focus of the discussion was on applying the Auerswald and Saideman stuff to Germany and what we need to know. Germany is proving to be the most complex case, as there are various kinds of restrictions on what the troops can do on the ground. Received lots of good comments and suggestions.

And my timing here is great, as NATO asked for AWACs planes to be sent to Afghanistan to run its increasingly crowded airspace. Well, NATO wanted it last year, but it was held up because it would cost NATO members money, and France was blocking it, or so they say here. But France gave in recently, so now NATO's request is formalized, and in Germany, it requires a vote of the Parliament to authorize a new mandate that allows the planes to go there and tries to separate ISAF (the NATO mission) from the OEF (counter-terrorism, ad hoc, US led mission) aspects. This is both good and bad for the research, because I get to watch a key part of the civil-military relations process during my week here but some of the people I am talking to are running around, trying to speak in the Bundestag or "chop" on the paperwork within the MoD. Exciting times. Reminds me of the key crises during my year in the Pentagon. Nice to know that it is not just the US that gets frantic ;)

Two more days of interviews. Need to find a stationary store or business supply store for more notepads....

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