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Why Central Europe Needs Atlanticism Now

A Must Read article in The American Interest by A. Wess Mitchell, President of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC and Jan Havranek, Director of the Defense Policy and Strategy Division at the Czech Ministry of Defense, who writes in his personal capacity.

Although the piece is specifically addressed to US readers and calls for more American leadership, European students of history (of all ages) should read it, including those government officials and politicians in Germany and elsewhere who claim to think beyond the next four years.

"In short, it isn't just Atlanticism that is in crisis; it is the entire paradigm of post-Cold War Europe. The fact that Central European countries are less Atlanticist has not necessarily made them more Europeanist. On the new European map, economic power resides in the east-central core of the continent, in the nexus of overlapping geopolitical and economic interests between Germany and the states of the Baltic-to-Black Sea corridor. This configuration resembles the Mitteleuropa of Bismarck, stripped of its Prussian military overtones, more than it does the federative European vision of Monnet and Schuman, or the Atlanticist vision of Asmus and Vondra. (...)

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Munich Security Conference 2013

The Munich Security Conference is creating quite some buzz on Twitter this year. #MSC2013 is trending at the moment in Germany, which is unusual for a foreign policy topic and is probably a first for a conference. I have retweeted some statements from participants and responded to a few on NATO, transatlantic relations, Iran, Syria and international economics.

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The Next Big Transatlantic Project: A Free Trade Area Plus

The rising economies in Asia and South America have been hyped for many years in the US and European media. Now, finally, there is a renewed focus on transatlantic free trade because the United States and the European Union "remain the anchor of the global economy. Together, they produce more than 50 percent of the world's gross domestic product and account for almost 30 percent of global trade. Europe buys three times more U.S. products than China, and European investment in California alone is greater than all U.S. investment in China and Japan put together."

Stuart E. Eizenstat, a former deputy secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel S. Hamilton of Johns Hopkins University, describe how the new Trans-Atlantic Partnership could look like:

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"Germany has the economic strengths America once boasted"

Dear Don Lee and Los Angeles Times,

Thank you very much for writing and publishing a positive article about the German economy that goes beyond the usual focus on our exports and also looks into the general economic model and the frugal lifestyle with plenty of recreation:

Every summer, Volkmar and Vera Kruger spend three weeks vacationing in the south of France or at a cool getaway in Denmark. For the other three weeks of their annual vacation, they garden or travel a few hours away to root for their favorite team in Germany's biggest soccer stadium.

The couple, in their early 50s, aren't retired or well off. They live in a small Tudor-style house in this middle-class town about 30 miles northwest of Frankfurt. He's a foreman at a glass factory; she works part time for a company that tracks inventories for retailers. Their combined income is a modest $40,000.

Yet the Krugers have a higher standard of living than many Americans who have twice that income.

Their secret: little debt, frugal habits and a government that is intensely focused on high production, low inflation and extensive social services.

That has given them job security and good medical care as well as well-maintained roads, trains and bike paths. Both of their adult children are out on their own, thanks in part to Germany's job-training system and heavy subsidies for university education.

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The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

The Eurocrisis is severe, but no reason to wet your pants -- or to mention the war, is it? As did The Times editor-at-large Anatole Kaletsky, in an op-ed for his paper by the headline: "Germany has declared war on the eurozone"

If Clausewitz is right that "war is the continuation of policy by other means", then Germany is again at war with Europe -- in the sense that German policy is trying to achieve the characteristic objectives of war: the redrawing of international boundaries and the subjugation of foreign peoples.

Holy guacamole! The Australian has republished his op-ed with free access to everyone visiting via Google. So search for the headline "Europe is at economic war, and Germany is winning". (HT Christian)

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Drezner: GOP Abandons Italy

Dan Drezner

While Rick Perry's major league gaffe will command all the headlines, I thought the most reealing answers were given to the first question of the night -- what to do about Italy?  Here are the responses of the co-frontrunners:

HERMAN CAIN:  "There's not a lot that the United States can directly do for Italy right now, because they have -- they're really way beyond the point of return that we -- we as the United States can save them."

MITT ROMNEY:  "Well, Europe is able to take care of their own problems. We don't want to step in and try and bail out their banks and bail out their governments. They have the capacity to deal with that themselves."

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Giving advice is easier than taking advice

"It's hard to detect which matters more: German behavior over Libya or its course in the management of the euro crisis, but, in short, most US analysts believe that Germany got both wrong," writes Ulrike Guérot in the European Council on Foreign Relations' blog .

I think it is the Eurocrisis, as many US analysts were not in favor of the Libya mission either, at least until the rebels succeeded.

Naturally, US pundits and politicians have plenty of advice for Germany on how to get it right. Dr. Guérot concludes: "Whatever the solution, Germany needs more ears to listen to what is said about our country beyond our borders and be capable to integrate this into the domestic policy discourse."

I agree, but the German government disagrees.

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Today is World Teachers' Day

Why do public school teachers have such a bad reputation in the US and get little pay?

That's one of the things I don't get. It's quite different over here. The job is well paid and respected by most folks. As a country with little natural resources, Germany depends on innovation and a smart work force. Education is good for democracy, happiness etc. The children are our future, yade, yade.

The US has more natural resources and is better than Germany (Europe) in attracting the smartest brains from all over the world, but still it needs a well educated general population to compete in the 21st century.

To improve the level of education in the US requires many reforms (as it does in Germany), but it seems quite elementary that more pay and more appreciation is necessary to encourage smart, talented, creative and committed young people to choose the profession of a teacher and then to stay motivated in this tough job to provide excellent education.

Since today is World Teacher Day, here is a shout out to teachers world wide!

Watch the trailer of the new documentary American Teacher below:

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