Does America Still Love Germany?
My New Atlanticist essay “German-American Partnership in Peril?” answers a question that likely hasn’t occurred to many Americans. Angela Merkel is in town, though, and a spate of pieces in the German press this week have expressed the concern that Asia and “Europe” are getting all the attention while Berlin is becoming an afterthought.
There are legitimate and substantial policy differences, which I outline in the piece. The bottom line, though, is that America and Germany are very close allies who work together routinely on all manner of issues.
Part of the reason Washington pays less attention to Berlin than in the not-so-distant past is that members of the transatlantic community simply take one another for granted.
There are many pressing problems to juggle and China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and others suck up an enormous amount of oxygen because they are so perplexing to deal with. The differences between the United States and any country in Western Europe, by contrast, as relatively small and viewed through a shared historical prism.
Ultimately, while Obama and Merkel may disagree on many policies, all they need to do to discuss their differences is to pick up the phone. That makes this controversy, much like the recurring questions about the US-UK “special relationship,” silly in the grand scheme of things.
Indeed, there seems to be much more “does America like us, check yes or no” contemplation in Europe than there is reverse self-examination here.