Thursday, January 22, 2009
Raining on the Parade?
Germans love Barack Obama. When the aspiring presidential candidate traveled to Berlin in July of last year, the crowd of two hundred thousand that greeted him at Berlin’s Tiergarten was larger and more electrifying than Germany’s politicians would have drawn. On inauguration day, no nation in Europe celebrated more wildly or had higher hopes for the young president’s success on the staggering array of world problems he will inherit than Germany.
And yet, if things continue as they are, it could well be Germany—not Iran, Russia, or Palestine—that hands President Obama his first major setback. At the NATO summit in April, the president’s new team will find itself seated across the table from a German ally that is determined to block U.S. aims on nearly every important question facing the alliance.
I also have concerns, which I've noted in a response and reflection to some recent comments by Dov Zakheim, Vance Serchuk and Chris Brose.
Mitchell and Bandler offer some advice on getting the relationship moving--essentially a series of trade-offs and compromises:
Already, Washington and Berlin appear to be nearing an understanding on missile defense and Iran. As the U.S. side shows greater caution on the shield, the Germans may be more willing to ramp up their heretofore half-hearted support for the U.S. initiative with Tehran. A similar effort should be made on energy: in exchange for a more supple multilateral approach on climate change, the new administration should ask Berlin to take a more multilateral approach towards European energy security.
I think President Obama may be inclined to move in this direction--but we'll have to wait and see.
1) Use very friendly rethoric. In public appearences use the word "peace" many times and try to avoid words like "democracy promotion" or even "freedom" . Instead of it if you use the word "social justice" in all its variations Germans will certainly love you (The love Barack now but). Never try to appear that germans must be thankfull to Americans for things US have done in last decades. Instead praise Germans for what they did or did not. (for example germans believe - i don't understand why - that OSCE then KSCE process which they initiated was crucial for demise of soviet rule in eastern europe)
2) Behind closed door - never give in or agree to Germans in any issue even if it is of small or no importance to United States without tangible (tangible is very important here) reward. Learn here from Mister Putin.
3) U.S. have many leverage on Germany. It is already using it and very successfully in respect of german firms cooperation with Iran. It can be extended and is able to inflict big damages on german industry if they not behave in right fashion from US point of view. And Germany is, as everyone knows all about industy.
4) There is biggest US military installations on german soil. While Germans generally want that these troops will leave some time in the future in order to force Europeans build their own army. But they want that this installation will leave completely from all of Europe not only from Germany. It explains why Germans dont like any new military bases in eastern Europe. While german political establishment of nearly all colours never complain american military presence - even atomic bombs stationed in Eifel, but the critisize harshly when it comes to stationing of conventional intercept rocets in Pholand and Czech Republic. Here is another leverage, which United states can and must exploit.
The roots of german-american disagreements lay very deep. Extension of NATO, EU, Democracy, Security and Prosperity under American Supervision are not in Germany's Interests. Because as more free, prosperious and secure world extends germany is getting smaller and smaller. The German Realpolitcians want to stop EU expansion because they ask themselves - if turkey and ukraine will part of europe will we remain influential? The answer is No! Germans want EU to be inasmuch big as it guarantees german leading influence. You know group is only good if you can lead it. They ask if NATO will be extended will we remain important. The answer is No? For the same reasons but mostly for military security dimension. The fear as I said american growing military presence in eastern europe. They want Europa with clear borders (the word borders is very important) to integrate more within and alineate those who are outside. Simple example - Poles must understand that they have more in common with portugieses than with ukrainians (even though it seems very absurd)