As international delegates begin arriving in Washington, DC, for the first IMF/World Bank semi-annual meetings of the Trump era, among the biggest question facing leaders from around the world is what to make of the Trump administration’s frequently faulty understanding of how the world works. One cannot, for instance, read U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s …Read More

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

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

Amid the many controversies roiling Washington these days, there is a troubling trend that is greater than the sum of the parts: America’s singular leadership role, held with minimal challenge since the end of World War II, is rapidly fading. A man who campaigned on the promise of making America great again now risks doing …Read More

In this article in the New York Times, Dr. Jackson Janes weighs in on expectations for Merkel’s March 14 visit with Trump, noting that a number of corporate CEOs will be part of her delegation.  Dr. Janes tells the Times, “The thing she’ll come back with is, ‘Do you know that there are thousands of …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

With the ripple effect of Donald Trump’s election still being felt not only in the U.S., but all over the world, many are scrambling to find explanations for how that happened. One widespread explanation is the rise of a populist surge—against parties, politics, and so-called powerful elites. But in order to understand how it happened, …Read More

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

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.

The election of Donald Trump threatens to radically change the parameters of German foreign policy that go back to the foundation of the Federal Republic in 1949. Germany has benefited from a particular configuration of the liberal international order in which the United States provided security and acted as a consumer of last resort. During …Read More

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