sexta-feira, dezembro 10, 2010

STRATFOR has followed the developing German foreign policy for the last couple years intently. Our thesis is that Germany is no longer shackled by Cold War institutions and particularly it is looking to evolve its relationship with NATO and the EU.
The 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent 2010 eurozone sovereign debt crisis have allowed Germany to exert more influence on EU affairs. In particular, Berlin has looked to reshape and reformulate European Union and the eurozone in its own image. We have also seen the German-Russian relationship grow and in particular this has given Berlin an impetus to evolve its relationship with its NATO member state allies. It has led the European efforts to counter Ukrainian and Georgian membership in NATO and it has also been relatively easy on Russia following the Russian intervention in Georgia in 2008.
At the heart of the German foreign policy evolution is really its relationship with the United States. In the past, Germany has been explained and described as a model U.S. ally. However the underpinning reason for this model ally has always been the Cold War. Germany had neither the option nor really the willingness to develop an opinion of its own in terms of foreign policy. It was the battlefield of the Cold War and the superpower conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States would have happened on German soil.
This situation is no longer the case. STRATFOR has in the past concentrated on two specific examples of developing rift between Germany and United States. The first has been German support, or rather lack thereof, toward sanctions against Iran and the second has been German resistance to U.S. efforts to counter the financial and economic crisis. The recently revealed WikiLeaks U.S. diplomatic cables illustrate just how it important both were to the German-American relationship. From the leaked cables we have learned that the Opel issue really was a central problem and the central rift between Berlin and Washington, to the extent that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was extremely angered by the lack of pressure from Washington on GM to sell Opel at the time.
Meanwhile German support on Iran wavers throughout the released cables. In fact, the German diplomats and politicians often stressed the disproportionate negative economic impact the sanctions would have on German trade with Iran. From the released cables we see that the U.S. diplomats had some serious misgivings about the incoming German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, while at the same time U.S. diplomats do not seem to be willing to treat Germany as a great power but rather continue to treat it as a subservient Cold War ally. Of course the leaked diplomatic cables are only a very small selection of the total correspondence between the U.S. diplomats in Europe and Washington.
Nonetheless they do highlight in a few interesting cables the growing sense of unease between Berlin and Washington. This issue has been at the forefront of STRATFOR’s European forecast for many years. It may be the most significant and yet this least understood geopolitical issue of the moment.

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