Our research projects provide the analytical tools and concepts to understand changes in the German-American relationship and emerging issues on the transatlantic agenda.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her first face-to-face meeting with President Trump in Washington on March 17,* she will have two key tests. Can she take the sting out of the burden sharing debate between the United States and Europe in NATO? And can the U.S. and Germany find common ground on trade policy, an …Read More

It is said that Mark Twain once commented, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Maybe a more accurate version is that history doesn’t repeat itself, but people often do—for better or for worse.

German leadership has been crucial to the efforts to hold the EU together—while also trying to articulate Berlin’s vision without alienating its neighbors. The domestic debate over German foreign policy has been impacted by calls for Berlin to assume more engagement in dealing with a world permeated by crisis. Responding to these calls has generated …Read More

The Munich Security Conference this year was as much about who was in the main hall at the Bayerischer Hof, as who wasn’t. Lurking in the shadows of empty words about supporting an alliance that is in truth unraveling, were 4.9 million Syrian refugees who have been displaced and killed, with 5,079 migrants dying in …Read More

The seventieth anniversaries in 2015 of the end of World War II and the Holocaust have generated renewed interest in reconciliation and the question of whether the German and European experience holds lessons for Japan and East Asia. Much of the thinking on comparative lessons, developed in the last fifteen years, has focused on an idealized notion of Germany’s successful international reconciliation.

This text was originally presented at a public lecture at the  University of Pretoria, South Africa, on February 15, 2017. Introduction One might reasonably ask what is actually special about Donald Trump and the Trump presidency. After all, it is not populism in public office that is new. Neither is Donald Trump the first narcissist …Read More

The idea of “global economic order” may sound far away from the concerns of the average citizen, but it means something both simple and important: that it is better for trade, investment, and other forms of commercial activity to take place according to agreed-upon rules, and that those rules should reflect the principles of the United States, Germany, and other liberal economies in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. “Liberal” in this case signifying not a position on a right-left political spectrum, but rather a set of ideas that encompasses the rule of law, openness to change, and the primacy of the individual vs. state authority.

In January, Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) announced that the country’s population is likely growing again—a direct result of an increase in immigration since 2012.  The latest preliminary survey results indicate that approximately 82.8 million people lived in Germany at the end of 2016. This is an increase of 0.6 million compared to the …Read More

The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once stated that the essence of statecraft is locating the point of concurrence between the parochial and the general interest, between the national and international common good.[1] Niebuhr emphasizes that realism implies an obligation to see the world as it actually is, not as we might like it to be. He warned that hubris can blind realism, finding expression in outsized confidence in both the power as well as the values of a country as being universal. Any country is susceptible to such temptations.

There is a well-known warning to all politicians seeking to sound convincing to their audiences: if you have to explain too much, you are losing them. If there are too many ambiguities in a message, you trip yourself up justifying them. The platform of the Munich Security Conference is a tough testing ground for all politicians given the enormous concentration on what is discussed there. This year’s meeting was no exception.

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