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A Steady Partnership

In 1989, the Berliners tore down the wall which divided their city since 1961. The longest remaining stretch now serves as an open-air art gallery.

Even the barriers around Jerusalem will one day vanish. As will the differences of opinion between the US, Germany and Israel. Common principles will prevail.

 

Enhancing mutual relations

Clever politicians are the ones who accept the way things are and work towards finding a compromise somewhere between their goals and the circumstances they are presented with.

This is the guiding principle holding sway over the relationship between Washington, Berlin and Jerusalem at present. Barack Obama has not forgotten that Germany’s conservative chancellor Merkel, just like her Israeli counterpart Netanyahu, would have preferred to see his Republican challenger in the White House. The US president’s reaction was subtle. On his Middle East trip in 2009 he lauded Mubarak while at the University of Cairo and he stressed the ties between the United States and the Islamic world. But most Arab states failed to take Obama’s outstretched hand, whereas Jerusalem took offense that he appeared to bypass America’s staunchest ally on his trip.

Obama also turned down a state visit to Germany, instead choosing low-key trips for conferences and special events.

In this period of global crisis, it is time for pragmatic politics. And with that an end to the diplomatic pinpricking between the US, Israel and Germany. The Islamic-Arab world finds itself in revolutionary upheaval, which means an indefinite period of instability. There is a civil war raging in Syria which threatens to engulf the whole region. Even for a superpower, America’s democratic and reliable partner Israelis a valuable asset. This was the motive behind Obama’s first state visit to Israel. He learnt that peaceful solutions for the region cannot be forced. Israel knows that its political stability and military capacity are first and foremost dependent on good relations with the US. Obama and Netanyahu will find a modus vivendi which suits both their interests.

Modus vivendi

The same holds for the transatlantic relations with Berlin. Germany has the largest and most productive economy in Europe. If Washington wants to promote Obama’s plans for a transatlantic free trade zone, then it will have to improve good relations with Berlin. Obama is still very popular in Germany. This strengthens Washington’s international hand.

The reinforcement of this historical three-state partnership will help stabilize Europe and the Middle East, and with that, our volatile world.

Photo Credit: JVG, Ahoerstemeier, dpa

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