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“Germany, Europe and the United States: A strategic partnership facing new challenges?” – Minister Heiko Maas

On April 1, 2019, the American Council on Germany hosted Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at a discussion and luncheon. Below is the speech delivered by Minister Maas. “It is to any young man’s advantage to have been in America, for then he can claim to have seen and got to know the world, and he knows what to think of people.” Ladies and gentlemen, That sentence is taken from a letter written almost 150 years ago by Isaac Schweitzer. The German-Jewish businessman had emigrated to America and was writing to his family back in Germany. I’m sure none of us here would contradict him. Indeed, where could you find more proof for his claim than here in New York? No other city so completely embodies...

Redefining the Indispensable Relationship – by Dr. Steven E. Sokol

There is no doubt that the transatlantic relationship that has contributed to peace, stability, and prosperity for more than 70 years is at a critical juncture. The United States and Germany have numerous Knackpunkte – sticking points – which include defense spending by NATO member states, tariffs and trade, and climate change. There are also policy differences on how to bring stability to the Middle East, policy toward Russia, and energy – most notably regarding Nord Stream 2. There is a danger that these tensions can create fissures in the relationship, allowing strategic competitors like China and Russia to fill this vacuum. And with Germany and the United States both inwardly focused on a variety of issues, it is harder to address the common challenges in a constructive way. But, just because it...

What Can Dallas Learn from the Germans about Civic Engagement? – By Dr. Steven E. Sokol and Dr. Nina Smidt

In a period of increased polarization in domestic politics, fragmentation of society and social inequity, efforts to adapt and grow to meet myriad challenges of the 21st century should begin at the local level. Germany and the United States face many of the same domestic challenges, and local communities in both countries can learn from each other's approaches to these issues. Most Americans and Germans enjoy an unprecedented standard of living. Nevertheless, many people in both countries believe something is wrong, regardless of income level. Many Germans and Americans feel left behind even though economic indices are generally positive in both countries. This impression is having a serious impact on our societies and cannot simply be reduced to economic angst. There is a sense that our social fabric...

Relations with Germany matter for a healthy Idaho future – by Ricklef Beutin and Steven E Sokol

Idaho’s relationship with Germany began when Germans first arrived to the Idaho Territory as miners, assayers, farmers, brewers and bakers in the 1860s. Thereafter, German immigrants continued to settle in Idaho, bringing with them brass bands, Oktoberfest and the Feast of St. Nicholas. These traditions endure. It is estimated that one-fifth of all Idahoans have German ancestry, making them the state’s second-largest ethnic group. Thus, it stands to reason that town hall meetings to discuss the significance and future of this critical transatlantic relationship have landed in Boise. Today, Germany and the United States maintain a range of partnerships in all areas of society — business and industry, foreign and defense policy, science and academia. Much of the cooperation occurs with little fanfare or visibility...

“Strengthening the European Transatlantic Pillar: Can Germany lead in Europe without Dominating? – by Prof. James D. Bindenagel

“Strengthening the European Transatlantic Pillar: Can Germany lead in Europe without Dominating?” From Blissful Isolation from world events to Guardian of the Order Prof. James D. Bindenagel, former U.S. Ambassador and Henry Kissinger Professor for International Security and Governance, University of Bonn A perfect storm of combined challenges of growing multipolarity, rising unilateralism, and global threats is changing rapidly the world order that has been in place for decades. The transatlantic partnership -- the United States, Canada and much of Europe -- have constituted a vast zone of peace, prosperity, and democracy for the most of the last 70 years. The transatlantic community has grown to over 900 million inhabitants of more than 30 countries and has set an example for regional cooperation in Africa, Latin America,...
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