Tuesday, October 15, 2019

EUreka! The EU remains a great success. Brexit will only strengthen it, and even the UK will know it to be true

By Michael Rutz

When someone talks about the European Union these days, it’s a shock to hear them utter anything but negative criticism. After all, there’s quite a lot to criticize, and politicians and the media – especially during election campaigns – pick and choose the details to cite in delivering their expected anti- EU bromides: too much Brussels bureaucracy, too patronizing, too confining for its member states, not really democratic and too far-removed from the expectations of its member states in terms of the extent and methods of its communitized policy.

Not all of this criticism is ill founded. So it’s a bit of a surprise that the list of countries that would very much like to become EU member states is …

Live to debate another day – not having easy answers is a liberal asset, not a moral failing

By Lutz Lichtenberger

Jeremiads about the state of liberal democracy and its institutions have been the dissonant theme of 2019. The West as a whole is in decline; NATO is obsolete; once proud and powerful parliaments and congresses have been rendered superfluous. Autocratic …

Donald Trump wants Germany to beef up its military spending. But the real numbers underlying the dispute don’t add up

By Johannes Leithäuser

When US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Biarritz, France, in August, it marked the first time the two had ever held a meeting at which the dominant theme was not their dispute over the level …

The AfD’s populist rhetoric attracts those who are traumatized by the past and scared of the future

The AfD’s populist rhetoric attracts those who are traumatized by the past and scared of the future
By Peter H. Koepf

In the past several years, Görlitz, a picturesque town on Germany’s eastern border with Poland, has functioned as the backdrop to several major Hollywood films, including Around the World in 80 Days starring Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Reader …

The German Trade Union Confederation is celebrating its 70th birthday this year at a time when representing workers’ interests is as urgent as ever

By Claus Leggewie

It’s quite possible that the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) has made more enemies than friends in recent years. In 2014 and 2015, it repeatedly called for widespread, all-day strikes in an attempt to achieve higher wages and better working …

NATO and the EU were created in a world that vanished 30 years ago. Clinging to that lost era means denying the facts of the present day

By Gregor Schöllgen

If solidarity is a valuable commodity, then the West was heaven on earth. It doesn’t matter that NATO and the various European communities started out as emergency solutions. They were the answer of North American and Western European states to …

Trump’s offer to buy Greenland is a sign that an ecologically destabilized Arctic could become the theater of a new Cold War

By Joachim Müller-Jung

The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans is wreaking havoc in the Arctic, where the summers used to be short and cold and winters prohibited any type of commerce – and any type of war, for the temperature was …

The wander years

By Nina Kallmeier

Johanna Röh is one of the very few women ever to take up the old German tradition of the Wanderjahre, a custom that involves spending several years traveling the world as a craftsperson Johanna Röh had a queasy feeling. …

Is Berlin on its way to becoming a global soccer capital on par with Madrid, London and Milan?

By Michael Jahn

This summer, two major events caused a sensation in the world of soccer in Berlin and throughout the country. First up was the fact that 1. FC Union, the eternal second-division club from the eastern Berlin district of Köpenick, finally …


By Detlef Prinz

World conflicts continue to grow in both number and ferocity. Politics, economics and society are changing at a rapid pace. In this uncertain environment, there are two democratic principles to which we must remain steadfast: freedom and responsibility.

The gradual …

He’s no Stauffenberg

By Thomas Schuler

It was almost 15 years ago when Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia announced his return from his birthplace of Bremen to Berlin and Potsdam. His ancestors in the House of Hohenzollern, which the 43-year-old has titularly headed since 1994, had …

To cut the Gordian Knot in Eastern Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky will have to skirt accusations of treason while convincing the Kremlin to change its course

To cut the Gordian Knot in Eastern Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky will have to skirt accusations of treason while convincing the Kremlin to change its course
By Dmitri Stratievski

May 20, 2019, saw the inauguration of Ukraine’s sixth president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Despite his convincing results at the polls, the young politician polarizes Ukrainians like no one else can. The split for and against Zelensky cut right through the heart …

Trans-Atlantic Book Review #05

By Lutz Lichtenberger


There are typically two types of political books that aim to sketch the big picture of the state of the West. The elder statesmen version is full of sweeping generalities – calls for open dialogue, robust diplomatic efforts and …

Zee German & their hedges

By Markus Bickel

For seven long years, there was nothing I feared more than the annual inspections carried out by members of the Schöneberg-Friedenau Association of Allotment Gardeners. As far as I’m concerned, these inspectors are nothing more than a terror squad masquerading …

The night my scoop evaporated. Deputy Ambassador James D. Bindenagel recounts the night the Wall came down when he was a diplomat in East Berlin

By James D. Bindenagel

On that fateful night of November 9, 1989, there was no sign of revolution in the air. Sure, change was coming – but slowly, we thought. As the US Deputy Ambassador to East Germany at the time, I lived on …