An Obama administration failure to get ratification of the so-called New Start treaty – as now seems probable – will inject damaging tensions into U.S. relations with Germany and other key NATO allies in Europe.
On March 9, 2010 The European Institute held a special meeting of its Roundtable on Defense and Security with Gábor Iklódy, State Secretary and Political Director of the Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Iklódy offered his perspective on the changes to EU foreign and defense policy after the Lisbon Treaty. He addressed the need for coordination in developing EU defense capabilities in order to perform the Petersberg tasks. And while highlighting the importance of an EU that can speak with one voice on the global stage, he also stressed that member states still need to be consulted as part of the decision making process, otherwise Europe risks becoming fragmented once again. And although the transition to the new foreign policy architecture, that is defining the role of the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service as well as the future role of the rotating presidency, will be long and difficult, once the dust settles, the wait will have been worth it.
Germany’s refusal in 2002 to participate in the Iraq war was a traumatic shock for U.S.-German relations at the time – and perhaps the start of a more permanent new paradigm of “power politics” in Berlin. Historically, it was the deepest-ever division between the White House and any post-cold-war German chancellor – pitting Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder against the conservative George W. Bush. These two men were never reconciled, but once Schroeder was succeeded in office by Angela Merkel, links between Berlin and Washington were repaired, at least formally. But the shock waves from that clash ran far deeper than any of the cold war-era policy disputes between Bonn and Washington.
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