AICGS Senior Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Dieter Dettke, Professor at Georgetown University, takes a look at the SPD’s standing before the election and discusses the party’s outlook in the immediate and long-term future, including the possibility of a ‘united left.’ Dr. Dettke says that while the specter of a red-red-green coalition in Berlin looms large, based on the current German electoral system it is unlikely that the SPD and Die Linke will ever unite.

When Germany elected a new government on 27 September 2009, it did so not with an eye to the party, economic, or political successes of the previous sixty years. Rather, the election displayed a startling realignment of the party system. This election, occurring as it did in the middle of a celebration of sixty years of the Federal Republic of Germany, can perhaps be seen as the beginning of a new period of German politics, and its impact on transatlantic relations will continue to be seen…

As Germany approaches its September federal election, how will this election shape German-American relations in the coming months? In Issue Brief 30, Jessica Riester, Research Program/ Publications Coordinator at AICGS, examines the policy challenges facing the two countries and the expectations each country has for the other before and after the election, arguing that the German-American relationship can flourish in 2009 and beyond.

Dr. Sebastian Dullien, Senior Non-resident Fellow and professor at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, argues that Germany has been one of the main causes for global imbalances and has not been very constructive in global economic cooperation. Dr. Dullien writes that the world should continue to expect this sort of behavior from the world’s third-largest economy, no matter who wins the upcoming election, as the likely coalition possibilities will not change the macroeconomic debates.

Dr. Gale Mattox, professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Director of the Institute’s Foreign & Domestic Policy Program, writes that even though the grand coalition has tried to prevent the issue of Afghanistan from playing a role in the September elections, Germany’s role in Afghanistan could prove to be a critical issue during the campaign. Dr. Mattox argues that whether or not this turns out to be the case, it is clear that after the election there is a need for German policymakers to engage the public in a discussion about this contentious issue.

…The guarantee that all persons shall be equal before the law, and that men and women shall have equal rights was incorporated into the Basic Law in May 1949, despite vehement debates within the Parliamentary Council, and against the organized opposition of Christian parties and the Catholic Church. As the next sixty years would prove, however, the fact that the sexes are “created equal” in no way ensures that they have been “endowed” by state or society with the same inalienable rights…

Germany’s historical background, its many linkages with Central and Eastern Europe, and its geographic proximity make it Europe’s most important actor in Eastern Policy. This prominence also makes Germany vital for a solid transatlantic framework to support both the Obama administration’s efforts to redesign relations with Russia and overall Euro-American engagement in the EU’s neighborhood. The Bundestag elections in September will bring changes mostly at the margins of German foreign policy, as key aspects are examples of cross-party consensus…

Political communication and mobilization were altered drastically in the 2008 U.S. election with the increased use of web-based organization. As the 2009 federal elections gear up in Germany, will the parties embrace the lessons learned in the U.S. campaign? DAAD/AICGS Fellow Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl-Rudolf Korte examines the new tools of campaigning and discusses their application to the upcoming German election in his essay, “Digitale Gemeindezentren.”

The European Union is a powerful group of states seeking to pool their resources. But it remains a work in progress, uneven in its economic and political consensus and in its ability to steer its capabilities. As long as Europe continues the process of defining itself, the U.S. will need to be in direct communication with the key national leaders in European capitals, such as Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Although the U.S.’ focus is no longer on Europe as it was during the Cold War, the transatlantic partnership—and Germany—continues to play an important role.

For many observers, both inside the United States and abroad, the financing of American political campaigns is regarded with skepticism and some disregard as a system which is influenced too much by wealthy donors and special interest groups. The sentiment goes, that political decisions are driven by financing and connections…

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