Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state, history professor and a German emigrant, writes in the Washington Post that he first feared deadlock, but now tends to believe that the new grand coalition in Germany will work. He describes Chancellor Merkel's government as the "advent of a third postwar generation: less in thrall to the emotional pro-Americanism of the 1950s and '60s but not shaped by the passions of the so-called '68 generation":
The collapse of the Soviet Union ended Europe's strategic dependence on the United States; the emergence of a new generation ended Germany's emotional dependence on U.S. policy. For those who came to maturity in the 1960s and afterward, the great emotional political experience was opposition to the Vietnam War and deployment of medium-range missiles in Germany. This dissociation from the United States escalated into massive demonstrations, especially in 1968 and '82. When the collapse of the Soviet Union coincided with a change of government in Germany, the stage was set for a modification in the tone as well as the substance of allied relationships. A similar shift of generations in the United States moved the center of gravity of U.S. politics to regions less emotionally tied to Europe. It is likely that any German chancellor would have been reluctant to join the war in Iraq. But no chancellor or foreign minister not of the '68 generation would have based his policy on overt opposition to the United States and conducted two election campaigns on a theme of profound distrust of America's ultimate motives. Nor would demonstrative joint efforts with France and Russia to thwart American diplomatic efforts at the United Nations have been likely. (Hat tip to Clive Davis)
While Kissinger opines that Chancellor Merkel will "avoid choosing between Atlanticism and Europe" and somehow manage to embrace both, the International Herald Tribune points out that "Merkel visits Paris and Brussels on Wednesday [today], London on Thursday and Warsaw next week," but does not mention when she will travel to Washington. The IHT article describes her primary foreign policy advisor, Christoph Heusgen, as a "staunch European," who worked as director of the European Union's Policy Planning Unit since 1999 and was a close advisor to Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief.