My comments on this year’s Munich Security Conference are more critical and sarcastic than in the past.Continue reading "10 Quick Comments on the Munich Security Conference 2018"
The US Fulbright Alumni Association has launched the "Stand for Fulbright" campaign, because "the Fulbright Program is facing an existential threat: The Administration has submitted a budget that would result in a 47% cut to the Fulbright Program for Fiscal Year 2018."Continue reading ""The Fulbright Program is facing an existential threat”"
Many headline writers are blowing Merkel’s statement about US and UK reliability out of proportion. Putin will be happy about the display of transatlantic division. I think Merkel’s comment could be very good for transatlantic relations in the mid-term.
She was speaking in a beer tent in Bavaria. Federal elections in four months. Merkel was making the case for a stronger EU and a more active German foreign policy. Her party is in favour of increasing defence spending and working towards NATO's goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense by 2024. The second biggest party is questioning this goal, although they have been part of the coalition government which made this commitment in 2014.Continue reading "Merkel and Germany Are Not Turning Away from America"
German TV series are finally taking off. Both historical drama and contemporary drama are red hot right now. Since GERMANY 83, a great Cold War spy drama based on the Able Archer NATO maneuver, all major streaming services have announced their own German productions: THE SAME SKY is an East German spy drama set in the 1970s. BABYLON BERLIN shows us the Roaring Twenties in a bipolar Berlin, torn between lavish parties and gruesome street violence. 4 BLOCKS is a gritty depiction of the present-day Neukölln mob. There is more: YOU ARE WANTED, DARK, CHARITÉ, EIGHT DAYS. Exciting times.Continue reading "German TV Series are Finally Taking Off"
Terroristen dieser Welt, schaut auf diese Stadt!
Our 9/11 reflexes are alive and well, but is the tragedy of Berlin really a national crisis?
Running a lorry into a crowded Christmas market was an attack on our lifestyle and insofar it transcends Berlin. But the magnitude of the tragedy warrants individual solidarity, not a national uproar. Our thoughts should be with the families of those we have lost. Yet this is not a moment to rally around the flag - because when disaster does strike, these "9/11 reflexes" will be worn out from the almost daily routine of mourning the dead of terrorist attacks in cities around the world.Continue reading "Berlin is not Afraid"
In Aesop’s fable the Lion, the Bear and the Fox, the lion and the bear fight over a deer until both are too tired to continue, the fox, having seen their fatigue and lacerations runs off with the deer in its jaws. America, being the Lion, is reengaging in its global power struggle through NATO with Russia, the Bear. The deer in this scenario is a strategic interest or something akin to a superpower status. For the sake of argument, the Fox can be China. America too busy with Russia means it cannot pay attention to a greater threat of China who economically and demographically is far more likely to supersede it than Russia – which is both geopolitically vulnerable and demographically weak. In this sense NATO drags America to engage against Russia over Ukraine and it complicates a possible convergence of interests with Russia in combatting radical Islamic terrorism. In sum there are few direct strategic interests in combatting Russia.Continue reading "Thought Experiment: NATO Distorts American Strategic Interest"
Despite all the anger and frustration, the Trump victory is not the end of the world. Every American president is part of an institutional structure, his power checked and balanced by other branches of government and institutions of the state. This should lead to some degree of moderation.
Yes, nationalist populism is dangerous in that it corrodes political culture and, ultimately, this institutional structure as well. It also threatens the liberal order both within and between states, as evidenced by this polarizing and often disgraceful presidential election campaign. Not only in this sense a more optimistic political project such as Clinton's would have been preferable, something this ECONOMIST essay also argued for. At least the popular vote indicates that such pragmatic and rational incrementalism still has majority support in America.
Trump promises to give the losers of globalization a voice and democratic representation - a good thing if it can lead to a reform of transnational capitalism and the political institutions that manage it at home. I fear, however, that it will only lead to more polarization, more radicalism, and more dysfunction. The candidate's campaign promised change, hate and fear. But it is the new president's duty to bring about renewal without disruption and breakdown. A tall order under the best of circumstances. Good luck, Mr. President.