German Foreign Policy Bingo


On Sunday, September 1st, all major TV channels in Germany will broadcast the first (and only) “duel” between Angela Merkel and her challenger in the upcoming federal elections, Peer Steinbrück. As we have criticized in a previous post, both are not exactly known for their visionary positions on foreign policy.

Nonetheless, we will make sure to watch the show. In particular, we’ll pay close attention to any mentions of foreign policy and international affairs.

And to make things more interesting, we suggest you gather a group of friends for a round of “German foreign policy bingo”! We’ve come up with 24 topics that could be featured in Sunday’s debate and created a set of randomized bingo sheets. Please download, print, and share them with your friends:

German Foreign Policy Bingo [PDF with 12 sheets]

PS. For added fun, turn this into a drinking game! Take a shot for every topic that is mentioned, and prepare a bottle of champagne for the lucky winner (in case the candidates actually talk about foreign policy enough to fill a row on the card).

PPS. Think we missed an important topic? Just create your own version (and share it in the comments if you like)! Our word list for convenient copy & paste:

Intervention in Syria, Withdrawal from Afghanistan, Lessons learnt from Iraq, Responsibility to Protect, Human Rights vs. “Economic interests”, Drones / EuroHawk, Pirates / Anti-Piracy, Climate Change / CO2 Emissions, NSA surveillance / Snowden, GCHQ / British surveillance, Frontex / EU border control, Asylum seekers / refugees, Germany’s role in NATO, Olympics in Russia, China & Emerging Markets, TTIP negotiations, UN Security Council, Bundeswehr reform, Terrorism / al-Qaida, Development cooperation, Democracy in Egypt, Lessons from Mali, Partnership with Israel, Regulations of financial markets

About Mathis Lohaus

Political scientist (postdoc) at Freie Universität Berlin. For more information please visit my website. I'm interested in international organizations, norm and policy diffusion, the politics of anti-corruption, and global IR / sociology of science. Always trying to learn new things.

8 thoughts on “German Foreign Policy Bingo

  1. To be honest, guys, I’d be happy if you could check 3 or 4 of these items. I’m afraid the only two foreign policy issues that will pop up in the debate will be the “Euro crisis” and “Syria”. On Syria, both will say that we need to find a “political solution”. As a friend of mine remarked, the essence of German security policy was on full display in an NZZ interview with Guido Westerwelle. Concerning a German role in the international response to the chemical weapons use in Syria, the foreign minister said that Germany hadn’t been asked to contribute to military action. Okay, then… If no one asks, why should we contemplate what to do?

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Foreign policy and security issues will not be the focus of interest on Sunday. After all, you will not win the elections based on your take on foreign policy issues.

      Any items that you would replace / add to increase the chance of winning the Bingo game?

    2. Tobi: That’s why we suggested to take a shot for every topic that is mentioned, not just if there’s a bingo success ;)

  2. You’re right, you’re right. I’m just disappointed with the quality of the German foreign policy debate.
    We’ll see how sober you will be… Points that I bet will be mentioned: “political solution”, “waiting for the UN inspectors”, warnings of the famous “Flächenbrand” in the Middle East (as if it weren’t there already)…

  3. Ok, I just enjoyed the duel and even more so the German Foreign Policy Bingo on my porch in Williamsburg. No shots at hand, only iced tea. And I was really suprised that in the end I checked 10 items and almost managed a bingo ( Does anybody want to compare their scores? I admit that checking R2P was a IR-informed interpretation…but hey that is what we are for, isn’t it?

  4. Concerning topics you left out: Where was “Greece”? Or the EU in general? Steinbrück made it clear during his speech at Freie that he considers EU policy still to be foreign policy (, do you disagree?

    1. Glad you liked it! We were a little more conservative with the scoring rules: ;)

      If you ask me, including Europe makes it too easy… the whole point is that there should be more foreign policy / thoughts about IR *beyond* the EU. That’s also what Thomas (Risse) meant to suggest at the event, or at least that’s my interpretation. That Steinbrück referred to this several times just shows how much of a prick he can be…

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