When candidate Barack Obama spoke in July 2008 in Berlin near the Brandenburg Gate, he told a rapturous German audience that peace and progress “require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.” It was supposed to be the opposite of George W. Bush’s cowboy diplomacy, which alienated the Federal Republic of Germany and much of Europe. Yet six years later, relations between Washington and Berlin are more mistrustful than ever.
The main problem is that President Obama has been listening all too well to Germans — spying on them from more than 150 National Security Agency sites in Germany, according to secret NSA documents that former contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the weekly Der Spiegel.… Seguir leyendo »
After nearly a decade in the political wilderness, the neoconservative movement is back, using the turmoil in Iraq and Ukraine to claim that it is President Obama, not the movement’s interventionist foreign policy that dominated early George W. Bush-era Washington, that bears responsibility for the current round of global crises.
Even as they castigate Mr. Obama, the neocons may be preparing a more brazen feat: aligning themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her nascent presidential campaign, in a bid to return to the driver’s seat of American foreign policy.
To be sure, the careers and reputations of the older generation of neocons — Paul D.… Seguir leyendo »
With its decision yesterday to allow Germany to contribute to European bailout efforts, the country’s Federal Constitutional Court not only handed Chancellor Angela Merkel a big political victory — it also provided further confirmation that this economic powerhouse, a cautious and self-effacing country during the cold war, is assuming a dominant role in a new Europe. And it is doing so in the 300th anniversary year of the birth of Frederick the Great, the Prussian ruler who almost single-handedly forged a powerful new European kingdom.
Indeed, Ms. Merkel is presiding over a transformation every bit as dramatic as that of her royal predecessor, a cultural and political shift in Germany that exemplifies a rebirth of the Prussian values of thrift, independence and incorruptibility that she hopes to export to her neighbors.… Seguir leyendo »
On Saturday, Germany will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the biggest and grimmest construction projects in history — the building of the Berlin Wall. Photographs of the wall, which overnight brutally severed streets, rail lines and families, have been on display in front of Berlin government buildings for several months. On Saturday, the memorial events will last all day and include a wreath-laying ceremony honoring the victims of the former communist East German government.
The 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall, in 2009, attracted a lot more attention in the U.S. It was a victory we like to claim, especially triumphalist conservatives.… Seguir leyendo »