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President Bush's chief of staff is an alumnus of the American Council on Germany

The German Tagesspiegel reports that the chiefs of staff of both President Bush and Chancellor Merkel are Alumni of the American Council on Germany (ACG). The author assumes this connection will help to plan Angela Merkel's next trip to the U.S. in May. The American Council on Germany (ACG) describes itself as
an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which promotes dialogue among leaders from business, government, and the media in the United States and Europe. The ACG strengthens transatlantic understanding and coordinates policy initiatives on key issues in the post-September 11 world.
President Bush's new chief of staff Joshua Bolten participated in the ACG's Young Leaders Program in 1988. Chancellor Merkel's Kanzleramtsminister Thomas de Maiziere participated a year later. The American Council on Germany's Young Leaders Program "reaches out to the next generation of decision-makers and opinion leaders by organizing conferences to familiarize them with key transatlantic issues and to enable them to establish a network of contacts across the Atlantic." Chiefs of staff are considered to be among the most powerful politicians behind the scenes and the closest confidants of the heads of government. Let's see if the Alumni connection makes a difference in promoting German-American cooperation and finding compromises on important international issues. Moreover, Mr. Bolten is a proud owner of a German BMW motorbike. He told Tagesspiegel that his BMW K75 is still in good shape after 12 years. He said that he usually promotes American products, but he appreciates this piece of  the German quality work (Wertarbeit).
Endnote:  In November 2003, when the Atlantic Review was not online, but only emailed to two Fulbright mailing lists, we recommended an Economist Survey about America which claimed that President Bush's team has less ties to Europe than previous administrations:
Related to this is a certain disdain for "old Europe" which goes beyond frustrations over policy. By education and background, this is an administration less influenced than usual by those bastions of transatlanticism, Ivy League universities. One-third of President Bush senior's first cabinet secretaries, and half of President Clinton's, had Ivy League degrees. But in the current cabinet the share is down to a quarter. For most members of this administration, who are mainly from the heartland and the American west (Texas especially), Europe seems far away. They have not studied there. They do not follow German novels or French films. Indeed, for many of them, Europe is in some ways unserious. Its armies are a joke. Its people work short hours. They wear sandals and make chocolate.


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Michael on :

I don't know how strong this Young Leaders programme is, but if both guys had been Fulbrighters that would certainly make a difference.

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