Political priorities are shaped not only by social and economic issues, but also the global arena. Balancing domestic priorities and foreign policy demands will continue to drive the discourse between the White House and Congress as well as those of the Chancellery and the Bundestag. Understanding the political landscape is essential to maintaining German-American cooperation, and making sure the partnership can adjust to new challenges.

The European Union is a powerful group of states seeking to pool their resources. But it remains a work in progress, uneven in its economic and political consensus and in its ability to steer its capabilities. As long as Europe continues the process of defining itself, the U.S. will need to be in direct communication with the key national leaders in European capitals, such as Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Although the U.S.’ focus is no longer on Europe as it was during the Cold War, the transatlantic partnership—and Germany—continues to play an important role.

For many observers, both inside the United States and abroad, the financing of American political campaigns is regarded with skepticism and some disregard as a system which is influenced too much by wealthy donors and special interest groups. The sentiment goes, that political decisions are driven by financing and connections…

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s announcement on May 22, 2005 of early national parliamentary elections took many Europeans by surprise…

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