Central Europe

  • Germany: Economic Powerhouse, Second-Rate Military Power?

    "Germany today is an economic powerhouse, but a second-rate military power," declares a new Atlantic Council report which warns, "Europe’s future relevance as a global strategic partner of the United States is contingent on Germany taking its full place as a much stronger political and military leader within Europe and the transatlantic Alliance."
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  • Slovakia Can Help with Transition to Democracy

    When Damon Wilson, US security expert and executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, visited Bratislava in 2005, he was working to prepare the Bush-Putin summit that the Slovak capital hosted that year. Seven years on Wilson returned to discuss security challenges at the Bratislava Global Security Forum held in mid April. 
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  • Roundtable with US Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein

    On March 8, 2012 the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program hosted the US Ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein, for an off-the-record roundtable. Ambassador Feinstein addressed Poland’s evolving role in the transatlantic relationship, particularly in the build up to the Chicago NATO Summit.


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  • The Transatlantic Bargain in 2012: Still a Good Deal?

    On January 24, the Atlantic Council hosted the Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic, H.E. Alexandr Vondra. He offered a central European perspective on the future of the transatlantic partnership and the key issues facing the alliance in the run-up to the NATO Chicago Summit.
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  • Why Britain Can Never Accept German Leadership

    Britain will never accept German leadership even though Germany will emerge from the economic crisis as Europe’s leading power. History is still far too close for that ever to happen.

    When I made that assertion in my in my blog of last week from the No Snow Meeting in Lithuania, with its heavy Churchillian overtones, some of you rightly gave me flak (excuse the pun) over that statement because in isolation it came across as German-bashing. So let me expand on my analysis but put it in a more positive context and explain why a new political partnership between Britain and Germany is vital for both Germany and Europe. Indeed, with another Eurozone kerfuffle about to happen it is important that Berlin accepts and understands that any attempt to shackle Britain will fail.


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  • Saving the Euro - and the European Union

    Germany ought to be able to debate its eurozone partners on the shape of needed economic reform without conjuring up historical fears of hegemony.
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  • Does Germany Really Want to Save the Euro?

    Does Germany really want to save the Euro? The great Austrian strategist Count Metternich once famously said that when Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold. Today, he would probably substitute Berlin for Paris.
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  • Germany’s Military Reform: An American Perspective

    In the May 2011 German Defense Policy Guidelines (DPG), Germany sets as its goal a force that is capable of “[s]afe guarding national interests, assuming international responsibility, and shaping security together.”  As an American, I would ask no more and no less from our German ally.
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  • Dead Politics: Europe's Enemy Within

    One of the great doyens of nineteenth century British foreign policy Lord Salisbury could turn a phrase or two. Speaking of Britain in the 1870s he may well of been speaking of Europe (and the British bit of it) today when he said “…the commonest error in politics lies in sticking to the carcases of dead politics…we cling to the shreds of an old policy after it has been torn to pieces, and to the shadow of a shred after the rag itself has been torn away”.
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  • The Strategic Influence Game 5: A German Europe or a European Germany?

    Germany has never found the leadership of Europe easy to attain or to execute. And yet Germany today finds itself the unrivalled leader of the European Union. Can Germany for once get leadership right?

    Only at the very 1871 beginning of modern Germany’s uneasy existence was Berlin led by a man who grasped both the possibilities and dangers of German power. The very creation of the then German Empire rocked the rickety European balance of power to its core. And yet somehow Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck steered Germany (relatively) peacefully through a minefield of competing European interests. With his dismissal in 1890 by an unbalanced Kaiser Wilhelm II Germany and Europe began the long slide towards the twin and linked catastrophes of World Wars One and Two.


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