Political surprises have been a theme in 2016 and 2017, starting with the Brexit referendum, to the election of Donald Trump, to the success of Emmanuel Macron’s new party in France, to a weakened Angela Merkel and her difficulty forming a government. With growing populism and disruption seen on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s possible that these surprises are only the beginning. The question now is: what’s next? This is the focus of AICGS’ new series, A Time of Testing and Transition: German-American Relations in 2018.


More than any other country, Germany has profited from the post–Cold War international system. As a close ally of the world’s superpower and bordered by smaller, friendly powers, it has had the luxury of abjuring hard power — an attitude reinforced by the trauma of its 20th-century history. Instead, much like Japan, it has channeled its energies into economics, transforming itself into a trading superpower that earns almost half of its gross domestic product from exports. Today, German industry dominates the European economy, surfing along on a wave of success. Read more.


This essay was published by the National Review in its January 22, 2018 issue.  Peter Rough, the former director of research in the office of George W. Bush, is a fellow at the Hudson Institute. He is a participant in AICGS’ project “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation: Global Responsibility, Joint Engagement.”

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.