I wonder what the Obama team is asking the Merkel team right now.
The German election campaign is over. So is the grace period for tough demands for more German support, which the Obama administration probably gave the German government due to the unpopularity of the Afghanistan war.
Angela Merkel also had her big day at Congress calling upon US lawmakers to sign up to internationally binding obligations that global warming must not exceed two degrees celsius. (That's good and brave, but won't help to win friends at Congress.)
Addressing a joint session of Congress was a great honor that comes at a price, says Josef Braml of the German Council on Foreign Relations: "It is a gesture where a service is expected in return: the German government should do more to help shoulder the burden of international commitments." Braml said according to AFP that "the grace period is over -- now we need to deliver."
The AFP article also points out that Merkel's new foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, managed to insert a passage into the coalition agreement calling for the estimated 10 to 20 US nuclear warheads in Germany to be removed.
I wonder how team Obama is responding to all that. Are they having tough and frank talks with team Merkel right now? Will anything happen? Reinvigoration of transatlantic cooperation?
Endnote: And the American people? Is Merkel's speech getting noticed and discussed by anyone but the policy wonks and a few bloggers? After all, Merkel is supposed to be "Europe's quiet leader" is according to Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum:
She is, if you like, the anti-Obama: zero charisma, zero glamour, beige pantsuits and a spouse who rarely appears in public. And yet, partly by default and partly by design, Merkel is now the de facto leader of Europe. (.) Under her watch, Germany has continued to grow more powerful, more influential, more dominant than ever before. Yet not only has no one noticed, they applaud and ask for more. If a bull-necked Helmut Kohl or a flashy Gerhard Schroeder were running Germany, there would be rising anxiety and mumbling about the Fourth Reich -- just as there was 20 years ago, at the time of German reunification, when Kohl was still in charge. But Merkel provokes no jealousy or competitiveness among the alpha males who run large countries, and she inspires no fear among the citizens of smaller ones.