Restoration or Reinvention? The Transatlantic Relationship under President Biden and Chancellor Scholz

What are the prospects of a reinvented transatlantic partnership between the US and Germany?

Global conflicts, a shifting international order, and an ongoing pandemic pose unprecedented foreign policy challenges to Germany and the United States. In recent years, diverging interests and policy priorities strained the bilateral relationship. Yet, the newly elected German government devoted a section of its coalition agreement to strengthening and deepening the cooperation with the US. The traffic light coalition under Chancellor Olaf Scholz has outlined numerous policy fields in which it wishes to strengthen and deepen cooperation with the US. Similarly, President Joe Biden’s policy appears to align more strongly with Germany’s interests.

Both recently-elected administrations showcase the willingness to reinvent their transatlantic partnership by jointly tackling the crises of this decade. However, harmonizing policies for new technology, navigating the international order, responding to the war in Ukraine, fighting climate change, and creating a united approach to global pandemics are complex, and finding and implementing solutions will take time.  

However, a reinvented transatlantic partnership remains fragile, as Putin’s war against Ukraine, different attitudes about the use of force, and Germany’s energy dependence on Russia could strain the hitherto united response of the transatlantic partnership. The mutual willingness to respond to these mounting global challenges must outlast the governing terms of both administrations. 

In this perspective, Leonie Klüver analyzes the German government’s coalition agreement, comparing it to the party election platforms of the SPD, Greens, and FDP, as well as the backdrop of recent geopolitics in order to assess the status of the German-American partnership. 

Download the new perspective paper here

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