The German election of 2017 has produced an unstable government which is unlikely to offer the kind of leadership in foreign and security policy that Europe and the larger West need in a turbulent time. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in a weaker position than before with the loss of key cabinet positions to the Social Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union. Many will be looking past her as the struggle to succeed her will in - crease. The key foreign policy agenda will include Europe and the Franco- German relationship, Russia, Turkey and Transatlantic relations. Merkel 4.0 is likely to be a transitional and unruly government that will bridge the end of the Merkel era and the start of one led by a new generation of leaders.
Stephen F. Szabo
Almost seventeen years after the Berlin Wall fell, German-American relations represent a mixture of partnership, competition, and a vast network of political, economic and cultural ties which make up one of the most intensive bilateral relations on the globe. A cornerstone of the Euro-Atlantic framework, German-American relations remain of critical importance to both sides of the Atlantic. However, the reasons why that is the case have been in continuous transformation, as the interests and the needs of the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany have responded to the demands of a changing environment during the past five decades, especially since the end of the Cold War. Angela Merkel has stated clearly that she sees a stronger Europe and a stronger transatlantic relationship as two sides of the same coin. While that has been the mantra of many chancellors before her, she has an opportunity to help define what it means today. In setting the priorities and the course of German foreign policy while engaging in an honest and candid dialogue with Washington, Angela Merkel will be building on a mixture of continuity and change within the German debate about its European and global roles and responsibilities.
Stephen F. Szabo
Germany has become a geo-economic power since its unification in 1990. Its foreign policy agenda has been shaped by its economic interests and the role of its export sector. Nevertheless, Russian actions in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe combined with the accession of the Trump Administration in the United States and the rise of China have resulted in a transition in the foreign policy paradigm toward Germany as a shaping power and more of a geopolitical actor which has to balance its economic interests with the new strategic challenges of a newly unstable Europe.
External geopolitical developments and the role of the United States have been particularly important in the creation and orientation of the European integration. This study appraises the outlook of transatlantic relations in the wake of Barack Obama's 2008 election and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. It is argued that whereas these developments on both sides of the Atlantic could provide for a window of opportunity to shift bilateral relations into higher gear, success will eventually depend on Europe's internal capacity to approach the US with collective and united answers to the main contemporary international challenges.