When people hear about my dual citizenship, I am often asked, which country I prefer: Germany, or the USA. What they really mean, is, whether I am loyal to either country, and, if the USA and Germany were in military conflict, which one I would choose.
First of all, I hope I never have to choose. I love both the USA and Germany. Unlike my father, who compares citizenship to marriage, I rather see it as a parental relationship. Of course, my father decided to "divorce" the USA and "marry" Germany. I, however, was born to the USA, and to Germany. Now how does that work?
Unlike the USA, Germany has the law that anyone of direct German descendence is German. Before 2000, you could be born in Germany, and not automatically be German. If your parents were Turkish, or Italian, or whatever else, you had to apply for the German citizenship, and as a minor, keep the citizenship of your parents, if their country had the same mechanism. At the age of 18, however, you hwould have to decide: become a German citizen, or a Turkish (or Italian, or Russian…). So, since my mother was German at the time of my birth, I was automatically a German citizen.
But I was born on US Soil – the beautiful Monterey Bay – and thus, also automatically an American. Since I am a natural citizen of both countries, there is no mechanism to compel me to choose one or the other exclusively. I don’t have to choose whether I love my father more than my mother. If my parents got divorced, i.e. if Germany and America went to war with one another, I’d stay with my Uncle’s; one of them, anyway, be it Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Poland, Russia, Italy, or whatever other country, whoever stays the hell out of it. But if any of my family went to war with another country, well, I’d be by their side all the way!
Regrettably, I am unfit for military service, because of my abnormal blood coagulation. The only way I can really help is to lend my voice, and my writing, to help find out what the right thing to do is. In the case that is debated right now, military intervention in Syria, I think it is high time for boots on the ground, but not the American way. The population needs protection against Assad’s military, which means supplying gear and infrastructure to make gas attacks as ineffective as possible, fortifying and guarding said infrastructure and also shelters. It shoudln’t be about retribution for violating the Geneva Conventions, but about protecting the people against the violator. Once Assad’s capacity to hurt the people is diminished, his power is broken. This, however, will not happen in days, or weeks, but months and years. There is no quick and cheap solution that is also ethically sound.
Also, there needs to be a different way for the UN to handle things, but that is worth an entire series of posts…