Politics America and Germany can reinvent critical alliance for brave new world
Merkel Resists Full Ban on Huawei, Making Germany an Outlier
(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding the line against security hawks in Berlin to prevent a formal ban on China’s Huawei Technologies Co. as negotiators finalize the rules for keeping Germany’s fifth-generation wireless networks secure. The draft regulations would tighten the government’s scrutiny over equipment vendors, giving key cabinet members more room to flag security risks to Germany’s data, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
One of the great successes of American diplomacy has been Germany's transformation from one of our greatest enemies into one of our closest allies. That success was crowned thirty years ago when the United States helped the Germans to achieve the peaceful reunification of their divided country.
Germans and Americans have become indispensable partners. Our societies remain deeply bound to each other culturally, politically, and economically. Our economies form the core of a $5.6 trillion transatlantic commercial relationship that employs more than 15 million people. Our two countries are the heart of our alliance through NATO, our partnership with the European Union, and efforts to build a Europe that, in the words of the first President Bush, could be truly "whole and free."
Critical race theory, and Trump’s war on it, explained
Trump has attacked diversity training, critical race theory, the 1619 project, and anything that reckons with America’s racist past.After a string of related tweets Tuesday, Trump issued an executive order banning federal contractors from conducting racial sensitivity training, emphasizing his desire to stop “efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex- and race-based ideologies.
When we agree, the German-American partnership is often a motor driving international efforts to tackle global challenges. When we disagree, we are often a brake to such efforts. Thirty years on, however, the German-American partnership is experiencing a period of transformation and redefinition that is likely to be profound for both sides of the Atlantic.
First, the societal foundations of our partnership are shifting. Americans overall have a quite positive view of Germany, but they pay little attention to German domestic dynamics and are mystified by the complexities of the European Union. Many Germans, in turn, have little connection to, or understanding of, the new communities active in U.S. domestic and foreign policy debates. They are regularly surprised by American society's twists and turns. Generational divisions are also apparent.
Germany's ex-royals want their riches back, but past ties to Hitler stand in the way
Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, is locked in a legal battle for more than 10,000 family artifacts seized or lost after World War II. The case rests on one question: Did his ancestors help the Nazis?Inside, the would-be Kaiser Prince Georg cranes his neck towards an ornate family tree painted on the wall behind him. He proudly describes his lineage, which traces back through centuries of kings and queens who ruled over Prussia (a once-vast area that included parts of modern-day Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Denmark) through German monarchs like his great-great-grandfather, the Kaiser who led the country into World War I.
Many older Germans identify with an America that contained Soviet power, ensured Germany's security, promoted European reconciliation and integration, and served as a steward for Germany's peaceful unification. Many young Germans harbor other associations: the Iraq war, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, National Security Agency surveillance, rapacious capitalism, rampant gun violence, withdrawal from international commitments, suppression of migration, and endemic racial injustice.
The consequence is that Americans have come to expect more from unified Germany at a time when Germans have come to expect less from America. The greatest transatlantic deficits we face today are not trade imbalances, digital divisions or military capabilities, they are disparities in sentiment, attention, expectation, and trust. These societal dislocations are magnified by the changing role each of our countries is playing within Europe. Germany, historically a source of anxiety, is gradually becoming a source of reassurance, whereas the United States, traditionally a source of reassurance, has suddenly become a source of anxiety.
Germany launches new search for nuclear waste storage site
BERLIN (AP) — Germany has launched a new search for a site to store its most radioactive nuclear waste, eliminating a disputed site at a former salt mine that was earmarked decades ago and has long been a focus of protests. A report issued Monday by Germany's waste management organization, or BGE, identified 90 areas covering 54% of the country's surface area as potentially geologically suited for a nuclear storage site. It kicked off what is bound to be a politically fraught process, with a final decision slated for 2031. The aim is to start using the selected site in 2050. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept.
Germany, the country that once epitomized Europe's divisions, is once again the linchpin of a continent in tremendous flux. Even before the arrival of the coronavirus, Germany's role had become significant. It has been ranked the most admired country in the world in the last three annual Gallup polls. Its continental clout has been enhanced by Britain's decision to abandon the European Union. Its economy continues to drive Europe's prospects. Its response to the coronavirus has been quicker and safer, and its recovery likely faster, than that of most of its neighbors.
Historically, Germany's great weight radiated uncertainty. Today, Germany's history-bending challenge is to use its centrality to generate confidence for Germans and their neighbors. Berlin's decision this year to overcome its strongly-held aversion to budget deficits to bail out its less fortunate European partners helped to rescue the continent from a potentially historic meltdown. Yet many Germans are plagued by self-doubts and uncomfortable with the potential costs and consequences of such a high-profile role.
The Latest: Biden says he would represent all Americans
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential election (all times local): 1 p.m. Democrat Joe Biden is talking to voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania as he takes a train tour of those states a day after his debate clash with President Donald Trump. At a stop in Alliance, Ohio, Biden pledged that if he wins the Nov. 3 election, "I’m not going to be the Democrat president. I’m going to be the American president.” Biden said the debate and the election itself are about the American people.
In the past, the United States reassured both the Germans and their neighbors about Germany's growing weight. Today, however, Washington is a source of unease. America is drifting away from its traditional role as a European power, one that was comprehensively engaged on the continent, supportive of its allies and committed to tackling common challenges. It is becoming simply a power in Europe, one that is selectively engaged, more spoiler than stakeholder, focused more on shedding burdens than sharing them. These transformations have brought the German-American relationship to its lowest ebb in seven decades, just as sharper global competition demands more, not less, of Europe and America.
Thirty years after Germany's peaceful unification, Germans and American alike can be proud of our common achievements. But we cannot be complacent. The window is closing on our ability to make our partnership as transformative for the future as it has been in the past. The human foundation of our relationship needs tending. We cannot afford to let a Europe that could be truly whole and free revert to a continent that is again fractured and anxious. And we each have a vested interest in turning our attention to global challenges that neither of us alone will master.
Unfortunately, it remains an open question whether Americans can muster the patience, and Germans the will, to reinvent their partnership for this unsettled new era. The elections each of our countries holds within the coming year will tell the tale.
Daniel Hamilton is the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation distinguished fellow and director of the Global Europe Program at the Wilson Center.
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