A way to rebuild the US-German relations
The US-German relations go through a hard period nowadays. Since the NSA spy scandal in 2013, the discord between the German and US government is at a low point. However, the spy scandal was not that challenging neither for the US government nor for the German government. Both sides made an effort to end the scandal as soon as possible.
The problems in the bilateral relation since President Donald Trump came into power have a different quality. Now the crisis is more profound and comprehensive. Trump sees Germany as the selfish economic powerhouse of Europe which seeks to push through its interests at the expense of other states such as the US. On the other side, Merkel, since 12 years chancellor of Germany, is perplexed by the impulsiveness and the unpredictability of the new US President. She expressed her disappointment of the current relationship by calling Germany and the European Union to become more self-sufficient.
Trump’s attempt to break with the policy of his predecessor leads to unpleasant outcomes for the German side. Projects like the global fight against climate change and a common free trade area are seen as harmful by the US administration. Moreover, the common Western values seem to evaporate. The consequence is mistrust. Obviously the US-German relations need a new impulse.
In order not to deteriorate the situation, mechanisms should be installed which can prevent misunderstandings and rebuild trust. A useful tool could be government consultations that would take place regularly. This way, governments on both sides of the Atlantic could exchange ideas and opinions and misunderstandings would become less. Such a step is overdue, as Germany has had such kinds of consultations for a long time with other countries. It is a proven way to foster cooperation and invest in trustful bilateral relations.
Furthermore, there should be platforms for diverse civic societies in Germany and the US to conduct a fruitful dialog and foster mutual understanding. This effort can unite groups from both countries so that their voices can be heard louder. Based on common ideas, it would be easier to elaborate common projects for the society. Even in the face of disharmony on the governmental level things could develop positively.
Finally, consultations on the governmental level as well as platforms for dialog for civil society are suitable to create synergies. These mechanisms can reduce distrust and promote a trustful cooperation. Even in times when the US-German relationship seems to stutter an active civil society and a comprehensive approach can end blockades or at least find new ways of communication.