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A tectonic shift in German foreign policy has come when the world needs it most – by Rob Fenstermacher and Steven E Sokol in The Hill

When Olaf Scholz and his "Ampelkoalition" entered government, many observers expected some policy shifts after 16 years of Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats but most believed that the new government would not introduce ground-breaking changes. The assumption was that it would focus on the ongoing COVID pandemic and Germany’s economic recovery as well as fulfill campaign promises related to climate change, housing, and the minimum wage. But, rather than change from within, the war in Ukraine has caused a fundamental shift in German foreign and security policy. Read Full Article Here

Congratulations to Our Friend and Colleague Dr. Steven E. Sokol

On Monday, March 7, German Ambassador to the United States Emily M. Haber presented ACG President Dr. Steven E. Sokol with the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz) at the Residence of German Consul General David Gill (1992 Young Leader) in New York. All of us at the American Council on Germany are extending heartfelt congratulations on this high honor. Ambassador Haber praised Steve Sokol for going above and beyond to build connections across cultures and backgrounds, not only in his current capacity but also in his prior positions as President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Deputy Director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, and a Program Officer in the Berlin office of the German...

From Helmets to Hardware: Germany’s Major Policy Pivot by Dr. Steven E. Sokol

In the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s reliability as a partner was called into question – and the pledge of 5000 helmets to support Ukraine was met with ridicule. But, after Russia’s invasion last week, there has been a tectonic shift in Germany’s foreign and defense policy in the space of just a few days. First, Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted Nord Stream 2 (probably for good). Shortly thereafter, the German government announced that it would provide weapons to Ukraine. And last Sunday Chancellor Scholz spoke before a special session of the Bundestag and committed to delivering weapons to Ukraine, increasing Germany’s defense spending to 2 percent of GDP, procuring dual-purpose aircraft and drones as part of a €100 billion investment in...

Rebuilding Trust: How Germany Can be a Reliable Partner

by John B. Emerson and Sigmar Gabriel British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was once asked what had been the primary influence on his government when he held office. His response was: “Events, dear boy, events.” We are reminded of this as we watch tensions flare over the Russian troop build-up along the border with Ukraine and the international response. Governments are always confronted with unforeseen events, and these can serve as catalysts to shape policies and positions, but they can also be a litmus test of leadership. Barely 50 days into office, the new German government has been confronted with its first stress test – and its response has raised doubts about whether Germany is a reliable partner in facing international challenges. With a transatlanticist...

The Stakes of Russian Aggression for Ukraine and Beyond – Speech by Secretary Blinken

Good afternoon.  First, let me say how honored I am by the presence of so many friends, colleagues, leaders across different communities here in Germany, and also leaders in the partnership that links our two countries.  I’m grateful to all of you for being here, grateful for this opportunity as well to be at the Academy of Sciences and Humanities.  I heard a little bit from Sigmar about the history, briefly walked the hallways, and I very much appreciate this hospitality. But it’s an institution with an extraordinary tradition of scholarship, discovery stretching back more than 300 years.  And I understand that, among other luminaries, Albert Einstein was a member here, so I should probably let you know that my remarks today will include very...
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