John Kornblum is a senior counselor with the international law firm Noerr Stiefenhofer Lutz LLP in Berlin. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Germany from 1997 to 2001 and currently serves on the AICGS Board of Trustees.

In this essay, which originally appeared in the International Herald Tribune on February 17, 2012, John Kornblum examines how Barack Obama and Angela Merkel appear to hold the key to the future of the West. With the U.S. and Germany at the forefront of current affairs, especially regarding economic matters, the two leaders or opposing backgrounds and leadership styles must make the crucial decisions needed for the number of crises at hand.

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