It’s Not Only the Economy: Germany’s role in averting a Western meltdown
Alexander Privitera is the head of European affairs at Commerzbank AG. He focuses primarily on Germany’s European policies and their impact on relations between the United States and Europe. Previously, Mr. Privitera was the Washington-based correspondent for the leading German news channel, N24. As a journalist, over the past two decades he has been posted to Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, and Rome. Mr. Privitera was born in Rome, Italy, and holds a degree in Political Science (International Relations and Economics) from La Sapienza University in Rome.
President Emeritus of AICGS
Jackson Janes is the President Emeritus of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, where he has been affiliated since 1989.
Dr. Janes has been engaged in German-American affairs in numerous capacities over many years. He has studied and taught in German universities in Freiburg, Giessen and Tübingen. He was the Director of the German-American Institute in Tübingen (1977-1980) and then directed the European office of The German Marshall Fund of the United States in Bonn (1980-1985). Before joining AICGS, he served as Director of Program Development at the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh (1986-1988). He was also Chair of the German Speaking Areas in Europe Program at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, DC, from 1999-2000 and President of the International Association for the Study of German Politics from 2005-2010.
Dr. Janes is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Atlantic Council of the United States. He serves on the advisory boards of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee, Beirat der Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik (ZfAS), the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association, and the American Bundestag Intern Network (ABIN) in Washington, DC. He is a member of the Board of the German American Fulbright Commission and serves on the Selection Committee for the Bundeskanzler Fellowships for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington DC.
Dr. Janes has lectured throughout Europe and the United States and has published extensively on issues dealing with Germany, German-American relations, and transatlantic affairs. In addition to regular commentary given to European and American news radio, he has appeared on CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, PBS, CBC, and is a frequent commentator on German television. Dr. Janes is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Education.
In 2005, Dr. Janes was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Germany’s highest civilian award.
Ph.D., International Relations, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California
M.A., Divinity School, University of Chicago
B.A., Sociology, Colgate University
Transatlantic relations, German-American relations, domestic German politics, German-EU relations, transatlantic affairs.
Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman is a Senior Fellow at AICGS. She previously served as the Harry & Helen Gray Senior Fellow at AICGS and directed the Institute’s Society, Culture & Politics Program. She has a PhD in Political Science from MIT.
From 1978 until 1991, Dr. Gardner Feldman was a professor of political science (tenured) at Tufts University in Boston. She was also a Research Associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, where she chaired the German Study Group and edited German Politics and Society; and a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs, where she chaired the Seminar on the European Community and undertook research in the University Consortium for Research on North America. From 1990 until 1995, Dr. Gardner Feldman was the first Research Director of AICGS and its Co-director in 1995. From 1995 until 1999, she was a Senior Scholar in Residence at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University. She returned to Johns Hopkins University in 1999.
Dr. Gardner Feldman has published widely in the U.S. and Europe on German foreign policy, German-Jewish relations, international reconciliation, non-state entities as foreign policy players, and the EU as an international actor. Her latest publications are: Germany’s Foreign Policy of Reconciliation: From Enmity to Amity, 2014; “Die Bedeutung zivilgesellschaftlicher und staatlicher Institutionen: Zur Vielfalt und Komplexität von Versöhnung,” in Corine Defrance and Ulrich Pfeil, eds., Verständigung und Versöhnung, 2016; and “The Limits and Opportunities of Reconciliation with West Germany During the Cold War: A Comparative Analysis of France, Israel, Poland and Czechoslovakia” in Hideki Kan, ed., The Transformation of the Cold War and the History Problem, 2017 (in Japanese). Her work on Germany’s foreign policy of reconciliation has led to lecture tours in Japan and South Korea.
The observed capital flows out of distressed countries into countries that are seen as “safe harbors” have in fact resulted in historically low yields of German and U.S. government bonds and helped the respective government budgeting. However, the current trading levels are unlikely to be sustainable and should not be interpreted as substantial strength but rather as interim relative strength in a very weak environment.
The governments of affected states and the euro community must nevertheless undergo fundamental social, economic, and fiscal reforms. This ongoing process has led in part to a downturn of most European economies with severe effects on fiscal balances and the global economy as whole.
September 2012 was packed with milestone events on both sides of the Atlantic, including the decision by the German Constitutional Court on the implementation of the European Stability Mechanism and the ECB’s announcement that it would stabilize interest rates of European countries by allowing unlimited intervention in secondary government bond markets. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve Bank announced that it would initiate a third quantitative easing program to support the U.S. job market. Despite these events, many question marks remain around an ultimate solution, and the recently improved level of investor confidence remains very fragile.
In a series of online analyses, publications, and conferences, AICGS closely follows the developments of the European debt crisis and its implications for the German and U.S. relationship. Recent essays have touched on the decision in Karlsruhe, Merkel’s leadership role, and the politics of central banking.
This publication features the highlights of AICGS’ analysis: a compilation of insights into Germany’s leadership role in overcoming the crisis and its effects on the U.S. economy, the 2012 presidential election, and the 2013 Bundestag elections. It examines the choices available to Germany—stabilize Greece, create a banking union—all within the confines of politics and public opinion.