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Germany and the United States

Whither “Partners in Leadership”?

Matthew Rhodes

Before a farewell trip to Berlin in November 2016, (a sixth to Germany while in office) u.s . President Barack Obama hailed Chancellor Angela Merkel as his “closest international partner.” 1 Indeed, the confluence of calibrated u.s . retrenchment

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Germany and Russia Since Reunification

Continuity, Change, and the Role of Leaders

Randall Newnham

Continuity and Change in German-Russian Relations A time traveler from 1989 would hardly recognize today’s Russia—or today’s Germany. Thus, it should surprise no one that German-Russian relations have also been transformed in this period. This is

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Christian Schweiger

. Ultimately, the crisis posed a systemic risk to the future of the single currency, which required political management. Under the conditions of the crisis, Germany moved into the position of the eu ’s leadership hegemon. Initially, this was widely welcomed

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Luke B. Wood

Germany’s increased power capabilities in foreign affairs since reunification have prompted scholars to argue that the country should be viewed as a regional hegemonic power, exercising significant influence not only over smaller countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, but also over the institutions of the European Union. After providing a critical assessment of the literature on hegemony in Europe, this article outlines three main trends in the scholarship on German power in European affairs. First, scholars tend to exaggerate Berlin’s power capabilities relative to other major European states such as France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Research shows that Europe is best understood as a multipolar regional order, not a hegemonic system dominated by one powerful state. Second, German leadership in Europe is contested and often delegitimized. Since 1949, German political elites have not been able to exercise influence in Europe without the support of other European states. This remains true even after the collapse of the Franco-German “tandem” in the wake of the European debt crisis. Third, scholars fail to adequately address how American power in the North Atlantic impacts regional polarity. Since reunification, the role of the United States in Europe has only increased and American influence over Eastern Europe, in particular, surpasses that of other European powers, including Germany.

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Jonathan Bach

This article examines how colonial reckoning is belatedly becoming part of the German memory landscape thirty years after reunification. It argues that colonial-era questions are acquiring the status of a new phase of coming-to-terms with the past in Germany alongside—and sometimes in tension with—the memory of the National Socialist and East German pasts. This raises new and difficult questions about what it means for the state and citizens to act responsibly in the face of historical wrongs and their lasting consequences. Given deep disagreements over what responsibility for the past means in practice, these questions also raise the stakes for the future of Germany’s global reputation as a normative model for democratic confrontations with difficult pasts. It provides an overview of the circumstances after reunification in which colonial memory issues came to the fore, and analyzes a 2019 Bundestag debate on colonial heritage as an example of how the main contours of colonial memory are being configured within the context of contemporary politics.

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Neoliberalism and Welfare Chauvinism in Germany

An Examination of Survey Evidence

Marko Grdešić

Anti-immigration sentiments can take on a variety of forms, but a particularly prevalent version across Europe is welfare chauvinism. According to welfare chauvinism, the services of the welfare state should be provided only to natives and not to immigrants. Like many other European countries, German politics also features welfare chauvinism, and not only on the far right segment of the political spectrum. What drives welfare chauvinism? Most studies of welfare chauvinism try to assess whether economic or cultural factors matter most. In an attempt to bridge these perspectives, this article brings in neoliberalism. An examination of survey results from EBRD’s Life in Transition project suggests that neoliberal economic attitudes are a key determinant of welfare chauvinism. German respondents who have neoliberal economic views tend to see immigrants as a drain on the welfare state, while those who have economically leftist views tend to see immigrants as providing a positive contribution.

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Stephen J. Silvia

Since German unification, assessments of the German economy have swung from “sick man of the euro” in the early years to dominant hegemon of late. I argue that the German economy appears strong because of its recent positive performance in two politically salient areas: unemployment and the current account. A deeper assessment reveals, however, that German economic performance cannot be considered a second economic miracle, but is at best a mini miracle. The reduction in unemployment is an important achievement. That said, it was not the product of faster growth, but of sharing the same volume of work among more individuals. Germany’s current account surpluses are as much the result of weak domestic demand as of export prowess. Germany has also logged middling performances in recent years regarding growth, investment, productivity, and compensation. The article also reviews seven challenges Germany has faced since unification: financial transfers from west to east, the global financial crisis, the euro crisis, internal and external migration, demographics, climate change, and upheavals in the automobile industry. German policy-makers managed the first four challenges largely successfully. The latter three will be more difficult to tackle in the future.

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Germany

From Civilian Power to a Geo-economic Shaping Power

Stephen F. Szabo

Germany has emerged as the big Western winner from globalization and is striving to become what its policymakers label a “shaping power” ( Gestaltungsmacht )—one that has the ability to shape outcomes and events through the development and

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Anticorruption

A Case of “Good, but Could Do Better”

Dan Hough

Germany has traditionally been viewed as a country where corruption is under control. Corruption has never been viewed as nonexistent, but for much of the postwar period it was still seen as something that happened largely elsewhere. Where it did

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Kimmo Elo

In mainstream analyses of the German political system, the emergence of the Left Party (Die Linke) is presented as an unexpected consequence of German unification and as an indication of the existence of an East-West divide. This view is for the most part based on the idea that German unification is a process of political integration of the East into the West. Such an understanding, however, downplays the long-term developments in the German party system. This article examines the emergence of the Left Party in light of both the long-term developmental tendencies of the German party system and findings from comparative studies among other West European countries. The article concludes that the main reason for the current political stalemate is the incapability of the postwar Volksparteien to respond to changes in political space and action. Based on evidence from comparative studies, the article also suggests a pragmatic rethinking especially in the SPD is necessary in dealings with the Left Party.