“The political system pushes the parties toward the middle,” “party homogeneity is
rather weak” … in Germany’s antiquated libraries, students might pick up these
messages from text books about the U.S. political system. We all know that today’s
reality is a different one. Over the last twenty-five years or so, the U.S. electorate has
drifted further and further apart. The election of Ronald Reagan marks the beginning
of the U.S. shift to the right in the 1980s. The two Bush presidents and even Bill
Clinton—“it’s the economy, stupid!”—continued Reagan’s doctrine of the supremacy of
a preferably untamed capitalism. The chimera of “the invisible hand of the market” has
become an imperative of all political action, and arguably hit the “soft issue” of
environmental protection even more than others …

Denazification and (mis-)perceptions about it have had an impact on the development of German democracy over the last sixty years, writes Dr. Rebecca Boehling, AICGS Senior Non-resident Fellow and Director of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Dresher Center for the Humanities. Dr. Boehling looks back at the implementation of denazification and concludes that this process had a major say in the evolution of German society since the founding of the Federal Republic.

In an essay titled “Keynes in Lederhosen: Assessing the German Response to the Financial Crisis,” Senior Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Stephen Silvia, professor of International Economic Relations at American University, examines the purported differences in economic stimulus policy between Germany and the United States. Dr. Silvia argues that Germany’s response is in line with it’s status as export champion, and that outside analysts should not be so quick to criticize Germany’s actions.

Dr. Gale Mattox, professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Director of the Institute’s Foreign & Domestic Policy Program, writes that even though the grand coalition has tried to prevent the issue of Afghanistan from playing a role in the September elections, Germany’s role in Afghanistan could prove to be a critical issue during the campaign. Dr. Mattox argues that whether or not this turns out to be the case, it is clear that after the election there is a need for German policymakers to engage the public in a discussion about this contentious issue.

Whatever the outcome of the September elections, Germany’s foreign policy agenda in the Middle East will remain by and large stable writes AICGS Non-resident Fellow Almut Möller. In her essay “The Future of Germany’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East: European, Transatlantic, and Eventually More German?” Möller argues that Germany will continue to cooperate with the European Union in its Middle East policies and will seek a strong link with the Obama administration in Washington in the face of such challenges as the war in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear program, the fragmentation of the Palestinian territories, and the Israeli invasion in Gaza.

…The guarantee that all persons shall be equal before the law, and that men and women shall have equal rights was incorporated into the Basic Law in May 1949, despite vehement debates within the Parliamentary Council, and against the organized opposition of Christian parties and the Catholic Church. As the next sixty years would prove, however, the fact that the sexes are “created equal” in no way ensures that they have been “endowed” by state or society with the same inalienable rights…

The current economic crisis has brought commitments of considerable government support for education in the recovery packages of both the United States and Germany, writes former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Justin J.W. Powell, Senior Research Fellow at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. When enacting new reforms, Dr. Powell argues, both countries can continue to learn from the other’s successes and failures as a way to develop skill formation systems far beyond what each country could have accomplished alone.

Germany’s historical background, its many linkages with Central and Eastern Europe, and its geographic proximity make it Europe’s most important actor in Eastern Policy. This prominence also makes Germany vital for a solid transatlantic framework to support both the Obama administration’s efforts to redesign relations with Russia and overall Euro-American engagement in the EU’s neighborhood. The Bundestag elections in September will bring changes mostly at the margins of German foreign policy, as key aspects are examples of cross-party consensus…

In light of the current economic crisis, Americans sometimes wonder why Germany, the world exporting champion, is not taking more action to spur on its economy. Dr. Tim Stuchtey, Senior Fellow and Director of the Business and Economics Program at AICGS, writes that to understand Germany’s actions (or lack thereof), one must understand the concept of Ordnungspolitik and how it has shaped Germany’s economic policy over the past sixty years. In his essay, Dr. Stuchtey gives an overview of Ordnungspolitik and suggests ways how this concept can help to end the current crisis.

When the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in May 1949, a major cornerstone of its cooperative and stable system of labor relations was already in place. Over a month earlier, the Collective Agreements Act had come into effect, and
to this day, virtually unchanged, it has been the foundation upon which trade unions and employers’ associations have autonomously set the standards for wages and working conditions in contracts negotiated at the sectoral level (Flächentarifvertrag)…

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