“We Need to Talk About Germany” (Foreign Affairs, September/October 2019)
A short response to Robert Kagan’s essay on the “German question”.
“Alles nur zum Schein” (Der Freitag, 10 July 2019)
Germany’s structural power in Europe and the institutional structure of the EU matter more than the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president.
“The EU’s two-faced ‘values'” (Politico Europe, 22 April 2019)
Does it really make sense to talk about “European values”?
“Liberalism’s betrayal of itself—and the way back” (The Economist, 14 February 2019)
Liberals increasingly seem to see the world in simplistic, binary us-and-them terms — just like the “populists” they criticise.
“When the rules won’t bend” (The World Today, August/September 2018)
Europe illustrates the limits of a “rules-based” international order.
“Rethinking European integration” (The American Interest, 9 July 2018)
For Washington, European integration has always been a means to an end—but today there is little nuanced debate about what kind of Europe would benefit America most.
“Competing visions of Europe are threatening to tear the union apart” (The Observer, 1 July 2018)
EU leaders have never been more divided about the very nature of the project – with Merkel, Macron and Orban split on fundamental issues.
“Discipline and Punish” (Berlin Policy Journal, May/June 2018)
With the expansion of the use of conditionality, the EU risks being seen as a vehicle for the imposition of German preferences. (This article was also published in French as “L’europe qui surveille” in the May 2018 issue of Esprit, in German as “Überwachen ind Strafen” in the May/June 2018 issue of Internationale Politik, in Italian as “L’Unione Europea è la brutta copia del Fondo monetario” in the February 2018 issue of Limes, and in Spanish as “La inquietante transformación de la UE” in the February 2018 issue of Política Exterior.)
“Trump, Brexit und der nationale Neoliberalismus” (“Trump, Brexit and national neoliberalism”, Blätter für Deutsche und Internationale Politik, 2/18)
A new fusion of economic nationalism and neoliberalism may be emerging: “national neoliberalism”.
“Why the AfD could be good for German democracy” (Foreign Affairs, 2 November 2017)
Calling the AfD “antidemocratic” is too simple and obscures important, real problems with German democracy that predate the AfD – and to which the AfD is a response.
“Hopes fade for meaningful eurozone reform” (Kathimerini, 2 October 2017)
In so far as German voters sent a message about eurozone policy in the election, it was that they wanted not more of the same but rather an even tougher approach. (This article was also published in the Greek edition of Kathimerini.)
“Por qué Merkel volverá a ser canciller (y qué impacto tendrá en la UE)” (El País, 16 September 2017)
Those who hope for a breakthrough in the eurozone after the German election are likely to be disappointed.
“Europe may seem to have its mojo back, but old problems still haunt the continent” (The Observer, 9 July 2017)
Belief in a post-Brexit spirit of cohesion is overstated. On economic union, defence and refugees, fissures remain.
“Donald Trump’s Donald Trump’s ‘East Asianisation’ of Europe” (Royal United Services Institute, April 2017)
The extent to which any NATO member can rely on the US security guarantee may now depend on how much it spends on defence and on whether it has American troops stationed on its soil.
“Man of the people is attracting voters fed up with Merkel’s reign” (The Observer, 25 February 2017)
Social Democrat Martin Schulz has proved unexpectedly popular since announcing he would run to be chancellor.
“Equilibrium wobbles” (with Astrid Ziebarth, Le Monde Diplomatique, January 2017)
The refugee deal has once again locked Germany and Turkey into a close relationship. (This article was originally published in French as “Entre l’Allemagne et la Turquie, l’enjeu des réfugiés”.)
“Der deutsche Neoliberalismus und die Krise Europas” (Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, 9/2016)
There is a distinct form of German neoliberalism that is different from Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism – and in some ways more extreme.
“Rather than offer clarity, Brexit has sown confusion in Europe” (The Observer, 21 August 2016)
Two months after the referendum, continental leaders still seem unsure about how best to respond to Brexit.
“On the Front Lines of the Cold War” (Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2016)
What is remarkable in retrospect is how hawkish Helmut Schmidt was for a West German chancellor (review of Kristina Spohr, The Global Chancellor).
“The big worry in Berlin now is France and its Eurosceptic voters” (The Observer, 26 June 2016)
While Germany values the UK as a trading partner, too many concessions will encourage other nations to leave the EU.
“Business, As Usual” (Berlin Policy Journal, May/June 2016)
Germany has been flexing its economic muscle while remaining deeply reluctant to use military force – acting as a “geo-economic power”. The response to Russian aggression in Ukraine has not changed that.
“Germany turns right” (The World Today, April/May 2016)
The one clear – and perhaps ultimately the most important – outcome of the state elections was the extraordinary success of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland.
“Europeans watch our referendum debate with fascination and fear” (The Observer, 24 April 2016 )
A British withdrawal from the EU could increase the perception of German dominance and paradoxically make Germany weaker.
“Angela Merkel: enigmatic leader of a divided land” (The Observer, 13 March 2016)
The refugee crisis has shattered the “Merkel consensus” that has existed for the last decade – and Germany has suddenly become a deeply divided country.
“Die Geschichte kehrt zurück: Deutschlands fatale Rolle in Europa” (Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, 2/2016)
Germany is not a European hegemon. Rather, it has returned to the position of “semi-hegemony” – but in “geo-economic” rather than geopolitical form. What is emerging from the euro crisis is a chaotic rather than a German Europe.
“Ein deutsches Europa – oder ein chaotisches?” (Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 52/2015)
As in the past, Germany is not just unwilling but unable to be a European hegemon. Rather, it has returned to its position of “semi-hegemony” – except in “geo-economic” rather than geopolitical form.
“Angela Merkel will survive – but will the soul of post-war Germany?” (The Spectator, 29 October 2015)
The migrant crisis is testing the country’s idea of itself.
“1990 im Schatten von 2015” (Merkur, October 2015)
It is now clear that German reunification 25 years ago had problematic foreign policy consequences.
“The dangers of Germany’s special relationship with China” (with Angela Stanzel, The World Today, September 2015)
Britain should be wary of copying Germany’s “special relationship” with China.
“La paradoja alemana” (El País, 25 July 2015)
Germany may want an EU in which all the important decisions, particularly about economic policy, are removed from the realm of political debate and democratic control.
“If Xi does a Putin” (with Angela Stanzel, Berlin Policy Journal, May/June 2015)
The crisis in Ukraine has forced the West to reconsider how it defends international law. As tensions in South East Asia grow, can Berlin apply the same lessons to a European Asia policy?
“Günter Grass personified Germany’s difficult relationship with its Nazi past” (Guardian, 14 April 2015)
Germany’s engagement with its Nazi past is now seen as exemplary, but, as the example of Günter Grass shows, was ultimately flawed.
“Germany Rethinks Its Role in the World” (Current History, March 2015)
Even as Berlin has taken a central role in the eurozone and Ukraine crises, Germans continue to debate whether their foreign policy should go beyond the imperatives of “geo-economic” power.
“Leaving the West Behind” (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2015)
As Germany becomes increasingly reliant on demand from emerging markets such as China, it has become possible to imagine a post-Western German foreign policy.
“¿Puede Alemania liderar a Europa?” (El País, 31 December 2014)
The geopolitical dilemmas that Europe struggled with for centuries, centred on Germany, seem to have returned in geo-economic form.
“Germany’s export fetish” (Handelsblatt Global Edition, 4 November 2014)
The idea of Germany as an “Exportnation” suggests that exports are not just increasingly central to the economy but also to national identity itself. (This article originally appeared in German as “Euer Exportfetisch” in Die Zeit, 30 October 2014.)
“Unsafe Update” (IP Journal, 28 October 2014)
What “containment” might mean – and where it might lead – is even less clear now than it was during the Cold War. (A version of this article was also published as “Unsicheres Update” in the November/December 2014 issue of the German edition of Internationale Politik.)
“Europhobia” (The World Today, April & May 2014)
Everyone is falling out of love with the EU – even Germany’s intellectual elite.
“Die SPD und Europa” (Berliner Republik, 2/2014)
Instead of seeing the German economy as a model for Europe, the SPD should liberate itself from Merkel’s approach to the euro crisis and develop an alternative to austerity.
“The Ostpolitik illusion” (IP Journal, 17 October 2013)
Despite what Berlin proclaims, last century’s strategies are no longer relevant. (A version of this article was also published as “Die Ostpolitik-Illusion” in the January/February 2014 issue of the German edition of Internationale Politik.)
“Can Germany’s Social Democrats Offer an Alternative?” (Dissent, Fall 2013)
Germany’s Social Democrats share to a large extent Angela Merkel’s basic assumptions about the euro crisis.
“Think again: European decline” (with Mark Leonard, Foreign Policy, May/June 2013)
Sure, it may seem as if Europe is down and out. But things are far, far better than they look.
“Oui, l’Europe a besoin du Royaume-Uni” (with Susi Dennison, Le Monde, 6 February 2013)
A European Union without the UK would have fewer hard power resources at a time of crisis.
“U.S., Europe: Get ready for estrangement” (CNN, 27 November 2012)
Two developments in particular will shape Obama’s second-term foreign policy: the deficit and the pivot towards the Asia-Pacific. Both will create tough choices for Europeans as they struggle to deal with the euro crisis.
“A colossus reborn” (New Statesman, 4 October 2012)
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Günter Grass was hopelessly out of step with the mood in Germany.
“The British question” (Internationale Politik Global Edition, 27 August 2012)
Does Britain have a European future? (A version of this article was also published as “Die britische Frage” in the September/October 2012 issue of the German edition of Internationale Politik.)
“The German people will decide Europe’s fate” (The Guardian, 27 August 2012)
Starkly divided opinion in the EU’s biggest economy could be as big a threat to the euro as Greek debt.
“Democracy and the EU’s ‘strategic partnerships” (E! Sharp, July 2012)
The EU must apply its normative approach to its “strategic partnerships” by including democracy in the way they are defined.
“Beware the new Beijing-Berlin bond” (with Jonas Parello-Plesner, Financial Times, 14 May 2012)
As Germany develops a “special relationship” based on the explosion of trade between them in the last decade, the rest of Europe risks being cut out of the loop. (A version of this article was published as “En quoi la relation Chine-Allemagne est-elle si importante pour l’Europe?” in Le Monde, 16 May 2012.)
“Reluctant hegemon” (Internationale Politik Global Edition, 4 May 2012)
Germany is too self-centred and short-termist to be a European hegemon. (Versions of this article were also published as “Was für ein Hegemon?” in the May/June issue 2012 of the German edition of Internationale Politik and as “AAA, leader europeo cercasi” in the Italian foreign-policy journal Limes.)
“More Money, More Problems” (Internationale Politik Global Edition, November/December 2011)
Germany’s foreign policy is increasingly driven by economic interests, as its response to the Arab Spring illustrates. (This article was also published as “Paradoxon Deutschland” in the November/December 2011 issue of the German edition of Internationale Politik.)
“Afghanistan Deployment Forges More Assertive Bundeswehr” (Spiegel Online International, November 1, 2011)
After close to a decade of deployment in Afghanistan, German soldiers have seen something not experienced by their predecessors in postwar times: extensive combat.
“Beyond Atonement” (New Statesman, September 26, 2011)
The triumphalist narrative of the post-war Federal Republic seems increasingly problematic.
“Germany as a Geo-economic Power” (The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2011)
Germany seems to be emerging as a particularly pure example of a new form of power in international relations: a geo-economic power. (This essay was also published as “La Germania come potenza geoeconomica” in the Italian foreign-policy journal Limes.)
“A little revolution” (New Statesman, May 2, 2011)
The second volume of Joschka Fischer’s memoirs is dominated by the “red-green” government’s opposition to the Iraq war.
“BND: The spies who silenced their critics in war on terror” (with Helen Pidd, The Guardian, March 18, 2011)
The Bundesnachrichtendienst, once the laughing stock of rival secret services, has shaken off its past.
“Two more Germanies” (Internationale Politik Global Edition, July/August 2010)
Manfred Görtemaker’s book Die Berliner Republik misses some of the more problematic aspects of Germany’s complex evolution in the two decades since reunification.
“Germany’s withdrawal symptoms” (Prospect, July 2010)
The euro crisis seems to have revealed a more inward-looking and nationalistic Germany. But this shift is both more subtle and older than it appears.
“The spiritual factor” (June 2010)
Ian Johnson’s A Mosque in Munich skilfully links the apparently disparate histories of Nazism, the Cold War and Islamism.
“Seeing in black and white” (New Statesman, June 7, 2010)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Nomad is a thought-provoking but ultimately frustrating book.
“Return of the beat boy” (New Statesman, February 4, 2010)
Breon Mitchell’s new translation of Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum sticks closely to the language and rhythm of of the original German text.
“Margaret Thatcher’s German war” (Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 2009)
Newly released documents reveal the British prime minister’s fear of a reunited Germany.
“Town that survived the fall” (Financial Times, (October 26, 2009)
Jena is one of the few places where Helmut Kohl’s post-reunification promise of “blooming landscapes” in the former East Germany has become a reality.
“Defining Moment” (Financial Times, October 10, 2009)
Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers creates a landmark in computing, January 1944.
“Making profits for a cleaner cause” (Financial Times, July 29, 2009)
The rapidly growing carbon market has attracted a mixed crowd of environmentalists and hard-headed commodities traders.
“Nineteen Eighty-Four at 60″ (June 2009)
Since it was published exactly 60 years ago, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been used and abused to make all kinds of political points quite different to the ones that George Orwell wanted to make.
“For a Great Britain” (April 2009)
Thirty years after Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, the country is still divided over the impact she had on British society.
“Grand designs at Bauhaus B&B” (The Observer, March 29, 2009)
The influential German design school now offers tourists the chance to stay in its former student quarters. (This article was also published in German.)
“Heil Comrade” (Prospect, December 2008)
The Baader-Meinhof Complex hides Germany’s odd history of left-wing anti-Semitism.
“Russia or the West?” (Prospect, October 2008 – subscription required)
Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer stand on opposite sides of debates about German history – as their different attitudes to Russia illustrates.
“Watching the detectives” (The Guardian, September 29, 2008)
How some of Germany’s biggest companies spied on journalists
“No place for street fighting man” (February 2008)
In 1968 British young people were not as angry or tormented as their counterparts elsewhere. The post-war generation in Britain expressed itself through culture, above all music and fashion, rather than politics.
“The trouble with exporting glamour” (The Guardian, February 18, 2008)
A year after it was launched, the German edition of Vanity Fair is widely considered an expensive flop.
“West Side Story” (The Guardian, November 28, 2006)
Columbia University is planning a $7bn expansion into Harlem. Residents are outraged.
“Republican Detention” (guardian.co.uk, October 19, 2006)
A political movie shot at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York blurs fact and fiction.
“Child’s Play” (Prospect, October 2006 – subscription required)
A review of Günter Grass’s memoir, Beim Häuten der Zwiebel
“Ministry of Sound” (The Guardian, August 19, 2006)
Every Sunday, the congregation of San Francisco’s Church of St. John Coltrane gathers for a three-hour mixture of pentecostal church service and jam session.
“After Westphalia” (Times Literary Supplement, December 23, 2005)
A review of Joschka Fischer’s new book, Die Rückkehr der Geschichte
“The Land of the Giant” (The Guardian, October 22, 2005)
An art oasis in the West Texas desert
“The Roky Road to Recovery” (October 2005)
How a documentary changed the life of rock icon Roky Erickson
“Some progress” (Times Literary Supplement, September 9, 2005)
Nationalism and “normality” in nineteenth and twentieth century Germany
“Goodbye to the ’68ers” (Prospect, August 2005 – subscription required)
The legacy of Germany’s 1968 generation
“Letter from Crawford” (August 2005)
“Peace mom” Cindy Sheehan’s protest outside President Bush’s ranch in Texas has become the focal point of the anti-war movement in the United States.
“The Air Mile King” (November 2004)
Jack Kerouac said the road is life. For Jack Vroom, the runway is life.
“The second bridge” (September 2004)
A World War II veteran returns to Holland 60 years after Operation Market Garden.
“From one extreme to another” (March 2003)
The strange political journey of left-wing terrorist turned neo-Nazi Horst Mahler
“Struggles in secrecy and silence” (Times Literary Supplement, February 20, 2004)
What two new books tell us about Rudi Dutschke, the leader of West Germany’s student movement in the 1960s
“The blonde guillotine” (Times Literary Supplement, August 30, 2002)
The Bavarian Christian Democrat who is hoping to become Germany’s new chancellor
“Only the Stasi know” (Times Literary Supplement, March 29, 2002)
Review of three books on Germany’s biggest political scandal in years
“A Nuyorican State of Mind” (February 2002)
DJs Masters at Work on New York and music after 9/11
“The other MCC” (June 2001)
How Indian software engineers brought cricket to the Microsoft campus