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German-American Relations 20 Years after Unification

The election of President Obama has not improved transatlantic cooperation as many pundits claimed it would. Rather German-American relations could fall back into crisis, writes Prof Anderson of Georgetown for AICGS. "Drift and disappointment" rule the day. A return to the "old normal" is not possible, but we need to work towards a "new normal":

So although few on either side of the Atlantic would deny that German-American relations are in a better place today than they were six years ago, even fewer would describe the situation in glowing terms. Drift and disappointment are terms that come more readily to mind. Is this a relationship that is falling back into crisis, then? Many influential voices are signaling that it is, or easily could be. Hardly a week goes by in which a major op-ed or editorial is published that forecasts the end of the transatlantic partnership, or the end of the special relationship between the United States and one or more of its European allies. My sense is that the question itself is poorly framed, and as such the ensuing answers are not especially revealing or insightful. In fact, the terms of the postwar transatlantic relationship ended on the day the Soviet Union ceased to exist. What was considered "normal" for relations between the United States and its European allies up through 1991 no longer held.

His solution:

In short, the concern to resurrect some version of the "old normal," built around common security concerns, is impeding progress toward acknowledging and then fostering the "new normal," which almost certainly will not be built on a security-based foundation. (.) Along the way, we will need to interact with people outside the old and formalized transatlantic networks that exist in Washington, DC, and Berlin, and seek to bring them in. The new normal will follow, slowly but surely.

I wonder if what people he refers to. Does he include the blogosphere? Are we all part of rejuvenating the transatlantic partnership? (Anyhow. I will try to find the time to organize a another Carnival of German-American Relations. Anybody interested in writing an article?)


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Pat Patterson on :

What exactly are these improved relations supposed to resemble. We still have many reciprocal treaties with Germany, we buy tons of Porsches and Mercedes and as of last May the Germans were still providing excellent A/C for some hospitals in Afghanistan. The only thing that I can think of is that the Age of Aquarius hasn't arrived nor has global politics trumped local politics.

Joerg Wolf on :

"that the Age of Aquarius hasn't arrived" LOL You encouraged me to watch the Youtube video. Great song. Thank you! I just returned from the field in front of the Reichstag, where 20 years of German unity were celebrated. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, called for "quiet pride and loud gratitude." Well said. And indeed the celebrations (music, dance, lightshow, and audience) were quite solemn. Too solemn, if you ask me. The Hoff should have performed rather than the ...ballet dancers and acappela groups. Don't we owe the fall of the Berlin Wall to him? [url][/url] Skip the first 50 seconds.

David on :

I agree. The days when Joschka Fischer and Donald Rumsfeld traded insults are long gone. Now a German (Leo Apotheker) has taken over the CEO role at venerable Hewlett Packard and down the road from me a (Aldi-owned) Trader Joe's store is opening. Life is good.

Joerg Wolf on :

Trader Joe is great. Aldi here in Germany sells nuts and dried fruits with the Trader Joe label. Rumsfeld and Fischer still cared about transatlantic cooperation. Today's leaders do so much less. Quarrelling is better than ignoring each other, isn't it? Yes, I agree, life is good, but not for everyone: Since you understand German: Video about discrimination of East Germans twenty years after unification: [url][/url]

Pat Patterson on :

I wouldn't hold my breath on how long Leo Apotheker lasts at HP was he is widely seen by the market and withing HP as a caretaker till they can promote from within and finish all the court cases that involve former CEO Hurd. After all Apotheker lasted only seven months with SAP before being invited to find other employment. Plus he could be considered the first Israeli to head HP as he also holds Israeli citizenship.

David on :

Apotheker was on the Vorstand (management board) of SAP from 2002 to 2008 and was CEO from 2008 until February of this year.

Pat Patterson on :

And he did a very good job when under supervision but lasted only seven months, not even till the end of his option contract, and was let go after not doing so well as the CEO.

David on :

SAP traditionally has a co-ceo structure (as it does now). Apotheker served as co-ceo with henning Kagermann before taking over as sole ceo in 2009. One of SAP's co-ceos is an American - Jim McDermott. BTW, it looks like Carly Fiorina will not get the chance to reprise her miserable H-P CEO performance in the US senate.

Joe Noory on :

Based on Hurd going to SAP's largest competitor, Oracle, I think this might have more to do with fending off a Oracle-HP merger/takeover than anything else. WOrd of "promoting from within" statred the day Hurd was shown the door. Nothing came of it, because they need someone who's more capable of brinksmanship and company-direction in a coming wave of M&A rather than someone out of the management, engineering, or market development line of thinking.

Joe Noory on :

Germany is reunited, and at peace. Enjoy it while history is letting it stay that way. On the historical level, [b]our work is done.[/b] Worrying about the relationship now is irrelevant in any real sense - it is neither bad nor god, and as David demonstrated, amounts to minutae that bothers Germans, but doesn't bother them enough to do anything substantive about. They're basically on their own now. Make the best of it. You know where to find us if you need anything, or if the wife throws you out of the house.

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