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

In international relations, a distinction is often drawn between the “realist” school that bases decision-making on an objective calculation of national interests, and an “idealist” school that emphasizes principles such as promoting democracy and human rights. When President Trump declared in his April 7 Weekly Address that “[O]ur decisions will be guided by our values …Read More

The highly anticipated first meeting between Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping concluded quietly against the backdrop of U.S. missile strikes in Syria. Despite flawlessly choreographed appearances and mutually-assured friendship, the Chinese and U.S. leadership face huge gaps on issues such as trade and regional security. On North Korea, aside from vague reassurance of …Read More

When it comes to migrants and refugees, the policy differences between the U.S. and Germany are vast these days. Trump and Merkel seem polar opposites: One trying to halve refugee admissions and block entry of people from Muslim-majority countries, the other refusing caps on the right to seek asylum and repeating the importance of equal …Read More

It was an awkward date.  Both recognized they had to get to know each other, but neither one was particularly keen to do so.  Nevertheless, they went through the motions with a sense of obligation that was painfully obvious to everyone. Trump and Merkel are not going to be friends, and they may not ever …Read More

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Europeans have reflected on the transatlantic relationship they’ve known  for over seven decades, and which now seems to be at risk. Guided by an “America First” rhetoric, a transactional approach to U.S. foreign policy and potential U.S. disengagement from key international institutions, President Donald Trump is forcing Europe to …Read More

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.

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