Barack Obama’s absence at the great Paris rally for the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks may be symbolic of a deeper rift: Americans and Europeans have a completely different view of what it takes to combat terrorism.
A narrow escape from the clutches of the Americans as well as the Russians – that is how many Germans saw the end of the Cold War. Will Putin’s actions be enough to remind Germans of the benefits of their alliance with the United States? Confronted with disorder in the Middle East and the rise of China and Russia, both countries need to work together – and it is high time for a new American charm offensive.
Germany’s alliance with America is not important – it is irreplaceable. It is a crucial support for the pluralist-liberal model, which is under pressure in many parts of the world, including Europe. But as Germany comes of age in foreign policy, it and the US need to renegotiate their relationship – and Berlin must play its part with self-confidence.