A Letter from the President
Dear Members and Friends of the American Council on Germany:
In less than a week, Americans will take to the polls to elect the next President of the United States. No matter who wins, the results of this year’s election will be historic. Although polls suggest that Hillary Clinton will become the first woman to serve as President, she is up against a political outsider who has tapped a nerve among the electorate but does not represent the mainstream of his party’s establishment. Donald Trump is also the first person whose experience as a corporate executive is his principal qualification for the White House since Wendell Willkie was the Republican candidate against President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940.
As demonstrated by Friday’s revelation by FBI Director James Comey that brings Secretary Clinton’s emails under renewed scrutiny, an election surprise is still possible with just days to go. All eyes remain on the United States as we get ready to vote. At this point, although unlikely, a Trump victory is not impossible.
No matter who wins on November 8, there are daunting foreign policy challenges ahead for the next President. Particularly in the foreign policy arena, Secretary Clinton is a known quantity. Having served as Secretary of State, we have a sense of what priorities she might have. We have very few insights into what a Trump foreign policy might look like. Either way, there is some reason to hope that after President Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” the next President will highlight the importance of the Western alliance and engage in a recalibration toward Europe. The United States cannot take the relationship with Europe – and specifically Germany – for granted. It is a relationship that must be maintained and cared for.
Both Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump have indicated that there will be more burden-sharing with Europe as we grapple with today’s complex common global challenges. With Germany emerging as an ever stronger leader in recent years, the next President will expect more of Germany. We can only hope that a President Trump would not abandon NATO, which has helped guarantee peace and prosperity for nearly 70 years.
Much as the United States is on the cusp of a historic moment, Europe is experiencing one of its own. Europe has faced many challenges, but one could argue that Europe has never faced so many significant challenges all at once. Consider the developments over the past 18 months: The euro crisis has not been resolved. Across Europe, governments and citizens are coming to terms with an unprecedented flow of migrants and refugees. Authorities struggle to contain an outbreak of terror attacks. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and evidence of cyberattacks emanating from Russia, there are growing concerns about Europe’s eastern neighbor. An attempted coup and instability in Turkey have created concern over one of Europe’s and NATO’s important partners. And, of course the situation in the Middle East remains volatile – and continues to serve as a catalyst for migration. The list goes on.
In recent weeks, the ACG has hosted policy discussions on Russia and the foreign policy implications of the election. For example, just days after a meeting of Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Francois Hollande, and Angela Merkel in Berlin to discuss the implementation of the Minsk II peace agreement, the ACG and American Friends of Bucerius continued our joint Transatlantic Global Agenda Series with author and journalist Katja Gloger. She talked about how the West can come to terms with Putin and his “New Russia.” The reality is that the next President will enter the White House with the most contentious relationship with Russia of any President in more than 30 years.
The ACG has also addressed the impact of globalization, the rise of populism, and the polarization of politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Although globalization is often considered to be the catalyst for changes in the global economy, automation, digitalization, and technological change have had a profound impact on manufacturing. The ACG partnered with the German Consulate to hold a forum on doing business in the digital age. Timed to coincide with this year’s Transatlantic Entrepreneur Partnership Conference, the event brought together a diverse mix of people to discuss innovation, entrepreneurship, free trade, and the sharing economy.
Looking ahead, how we develop strategies to meet these complex interconnected challenges will be critical. And, in this context particularly, the partnership with Europe is essential. It is very telling that the White House announced late last week that President Obama will visit Germany as part of his final international trip as President in mid-November. This will be his sixth trip to Germany since becoming President. He will meet with Chancellor Merkel to discuss cooperation on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and transatlantic issues – including efforts to resolve the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the campaign against the Islamic State, and transatlantic economic relations. While in Berlin, President Obama is also expected to meet with Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Obviously, there is a great deal to consider in the coming days and weeks. We hope you will remain engaged with the ACG as we bring you news and information – and discussions – about the crucial ties between Germany and the United States.
With best regards,
Upcoming New York City Events
On November 4, the ACG and American Friends of Bucerius will host a discussion and luncheon with Ambassador James F. Jeffrey
, Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute, on “What’s Next in Turkey and Why That Will Matter to the Next American President.” This discussion is part of the 2016 Transatlantic Global Agenda Series. More information
Just days after the election, Ambassador João Vale de Almeida
, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, will speak about today’s global challenges facing Europe and the United States. More information
The ACG will host a Hot Topics Call with Dr. Christoph von Marschall
, Chief Diplomatic Correspondent for Der Tagesspiegel
and a 1999 Kellen Fellow, on November 14. Dr. von Marschall will give a German perspective on the U.S. election. More information
Also on November 14, the ACG and Cultural Vistas will hold a Political Salon with Ralf Fuecks
, President of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, who will discuss what the U.S. elections mean for transatlantic relations and for the future of the west. More information
On November 21, the ACG, vbw – The Bavarian Industry Association, and bayme vbm – The Bavarian Employers’ Associations for the Metalworking and Electrical Industries will host a discussion and luncheon with Theo Waigel
, former German Federal Minister of Finance, on “Germany’s Leadership Role in the ‘New’ Europe.” More information
On November 29, Patrick Keller
, Coordinator of Foreign and Security Policy at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, will speak about Germany's new role in international security at a Political Salon. More details to follow.
Upcoming ACG Events across the United States
The American Council on Germany launched the Eric M. Warburg Chapter program in 1992 in order to promote a greater understanding of German and European affairs beyond the business community in New York and the policy community in Washington, DC.
On November 3, the Charlotte Warburg Chapter, in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Charlotte and the North Carolina Zeitgeist Foundation, will host a private dinner with Boris Ruge, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the German Embassy in Washington, DC. Mr. Ruge will share his insights on U.S.-German relations, U.S. efforts overseas for peace and security, and ongoing developments in the EU.
During the second week of November, Sven Egenter, Director and Editor-in-Chief of klimafakten.de and Clean Energy Wire (CLEW), will travel to the Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, and Greater Washington, DC, Warburg Chapters, to speak about Germany's Energiewende and the German elections.
Beginning November 14, Jan Techau, Director of the American Academy in Berlin’s Richard C. Holbrooke Forum and an alumnus of the ACG’s Young Leaders Study Group on the Future of Europe, will speak at the Charlotte, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle Chapters on “Europe after Pax Americana – Turmoil and Order in the Old World.”
During the last week of November, Dr. Bruce Leimsidor, an immigration and asylum expert, will visit the Warburg Chapters in Boston, Charlotte, and Greater Washington to discuss the current migration situation in Europe.
On November 30, Matthias Menter, Researcher at the University of Augsburg, Germany, will visit the Indianapolis Warburg Chapter to speak on “The Fundamentals of Germany’s Competitiveness.”
TEP Conference and the Global Digital Economy
Each year, New York City plays host to the Transatlantic Entrepreneur Partnership (TEP) Conference
. Organized largely by New York International and Berlin Partner, TEP provides a platform for entrepreneurs from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in dialogue about the most recent developments in the digital world and to meet with angel investors. More than 200 people took part in the three-day conference from October 10 to 12, which included sessions at various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn focused on issues such as managing data; developing talent; regulatory frameworks; business development; media in the digital age; smart cities, urban technology, and transportation; as well as advanced manufacturing. The ACG has been involved with TEP since its inception in 2011.
Timed to coincide with TEP, this year the ACG and the German Consulate hosted a special forum to explore the nexus of policy, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the global economy. On October 13, nearly 60 members and friends of the ACG gathered for a half-day forum on “The Global Digital Economy: Doing Business in the 21st Century.” Covering a wide range of topics, the two panels honed in on public policy, business, trade, and education. Speakers included Daniel Andrich
, the Representative of German Industry and Trade in Washington, DC; Danil Kerimi
, Head of IT and Electronics Industries at the World Economic Forum; Ross LaJeunesse
, Global Head of International Relations at Google; Dr. Steven E. Sokol
, ACG President; Dr. Arun Sundararajan
, Professor of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business of New York University; and Robert Tanner
, Director for Digital Trade for the U.S. Trade Representative.
McCloy Leadership Mission on Agriculture, Food Security, and Resource Scarcity
Agricultural policy is playing a critical role in the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the ACG understands the importance of addressing the complex challenges and policies surrounding farming, food production, and access to food. This fall, the ACG launched the McCloy Leadership Mission on Agriculture, Food Security, and Resource Scarcity to give practitioners the opportunity to study agricultural, farm, and food-supply conditions on the other side of the Atlantic. Four up-and-coming American agricultural professionals traveled to Germany from October 16 to 28 to exchange best practices with their German counterparts.
The American cohort consisted of: Joshua Geigle
, Family Farm and Ranch Partner from South Dakota; Dr. Elizabeth Kohtz
, Dairy Veterinarian and Owner/Manager of QK Farms and an American Farm Bureau Grassroots Outreach Team Member from Idaho; Benjamin LaCross
, Operations Manager for LaCross Farms and a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau Board of Directors; and Hilary Maricle
, a member of the Boone County Board of Commissioners and of the Board of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.
This 12-day fact-finding mission was organized with the help of McCloy Fellowship alumni in Germany and the Deutscher Bauernverband. The group had the opportunity to discuss farming and agricultural policy during visits to Berlin, Bonn, Münster, and Stendal.
Upon their arrival in Berlin, the group dived into thorny issues facing the agriculture industry today, such as genetically modified foods, resource scarcity, and technological developments. While being hosted by Christian Gaebel
(2015 McCloy Fellow), Officer for Agricultural Policy for the Deustcher Bauernverband, the group spent four days meeting with policymakers and government affairs officials. Among the meetings in Berlin, they met with Hermann Färber
, Member of the Bundestag (CDU) and a 2008 McCloy Fellow, who actively works to protect the needs of German farmers.
After several days of policy discussions, the group traveled to Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia for tours of food processing facilities, farms, and biogas plants. Much of the conversations focused on sustainable farming and renewable energy, as well as government regulations and trade agreements.
This Leadership Mission was conducted in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Deutscher Bauernverband.
Highlights from October
On October 11, the ACG held a discussion and luncheon for corporate members and other close friends with Günther Oettinger
, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, on the global digital economy and Industry 4.0 in Germany. Commissioner Oettinger spoke openly about both the challenges and the great potential of the digital economy and globalization. Technology and innovation may have given rise to populism and nationalism, but the “digital revolution” has great potential.
More than 60 people joined the American Council on Germany, Cultural Vistas, and the German Consulate General of New York on October 20 for a panel discussion on the U.S. election and what it means for foreign affairs. The speakers were Christopher Caldwell
, Senior Editor for The Weekly Standard
, and Georg Mascolo
, Head of the Joint Investigative Group of the Süddeutsche Zeitung
, NDR, and WDR. The engaging conversation highlighted the foreign policy positions of the presidential candidates, as well as perspectives on globalization, trade, and immigration.
On October 21, the ACG and American Friends of Bucerius hosted a luncheon with Katja Gloger
, Editor-at-Large of Stern
magazine. Ms. Gloger, who has covered Russia for more than 25 years, gave thought-provoking insights on contemporary Russia, the mindset of Vladimir Putin, and how the West can cope with the “New Russia.” She noted that Russia is on its way to being a global power again and argued that we are already at the start of a new “Cold War.” This discussion was part of the 2016 Transatlantic Global Agenda Series.
2016 Kellen Fellowships Awarded
Each year the ACG awards Anna-Maria and Stephen M. Kellen Fellowships to the next generation of Berlin-based journalists to conduct research on timely topics affecting the transatlantic partnership. Three Kellen Fellows were named in October.
Simon Book, a Reporter with WirtschaftsWoche, will explore American opinion concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Justus von Daniels, a Reporter with Correctiv GmbH, will investigate minimum wage in the United States. Marlene Halser, Head of Society and Media at Die Tageszeitung, will examine the rise of left-wing populism in America.
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