Germany and the United States have shown ambitions to a strong political and economical relationship since the end of the Second World War. These ambitions were reinterpreted and gained new importance with the reunion of Germany and the end of the Cold War. Furthermore, the transatlantic relationship between the US and Germany is significant for any successful bilateral agreement between the US and the European Union. In retrospect, it is also to mention, that the transatlantic relationship had smaller and larger setbacks, especially during the last years as has been seen with discussions about TTIP and similar situations. Another issue that has to be integrated in describing the German-American relationship is immigration. It has led to a partially inclusion of the German culture in the US. Also the US influenced Germany with their products and media. As a consequence, this has partly caused a resistance by political parties as well as non-governmental organizations. The resistance did not have an inconsiderable impact on the societies, nourished by political, economic and cultural reservations. For the governments, this means a loss of acceptance of the transatlantic relationship within the own population, including all governmental activities for a continuation and strengthening of the relationship.
Recently it could have been observed that opposition members, such as for example Attac, use their coverage, influence and reputation to reduce the confidence in the transatlantic relationship by communicating reservations. Their behavior is caused by ideological approaches and individual motivations, e.g. boycott of an economic system or agreement like TTIP, struggle against the government or political movements.Authority and resistance determine each other and both try to dominate. Without any effective countermeasure, the resistance dominates the American and German government. Therefore, I will introduce a method to strengthen the German-American relationship in the following paragraphs.
To enable a beneficial future for the transatlantic relationship, both governments have a strong interest to gain more acceptance for their cultures and beliefs on the transatlantic relationship and activities within their respective countries and abroad. With this motivation, it is necessary to find a solution for reducing the resistance in the broad population. In the following, a possible instrument for achieving this idea will be described.
Reducing the resistance means to evade the attention of the population and simultaneously to refocus their attention to the contents of the governments. This can be achieved by providing points of contact between the local population and the government, or rather between the local population and the people living on the other side of the Atlantic. A meeting place represents such a point of contact. The meeting place should be designed to shed light on politics, economy and culture, ideally in a combined manner.
The meeting place should ideally be a modern building that enables interactions in form of conversations, consuming and working. A hybrid of a shopping and business center and a venue is a suitable building, which provides space for the fields of clarification and the needed interactions equally.Also they should be located in larger American and German Cities, e.g. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Munich and Dresden. In order to explain this concept in more detail, it will be described with the help of an example for a meeting place located in Germany, which is a point of contact for the American economy, culture and politics for the German population.
The retail and office space is reserved for small and midsized companies from the US, with a limited rental period of one year. Imaginable is that these companies want to enter the German market or test or develop their product for the German market. Additionally, a business exchange program could be affiliated to the retail and office space, to offer the space for a reduced rent or for free as an additional incentive.
In function of a venue, the meeting place provides rooms and halls for events. The companies can use these rooms for their business meeting, seminars, workshops, congresses and small trade fairs and exhibitions. Apart from the economic usage, the rooms and halls can be used for small concerts of American music groups, cultural events – e.g. 4th July Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving – and events for political education – e.g. about the political system of the US, the election system and the election accompanying events.
The mode of action of an interdisciplinary meeting place like this is divided in two directions. Primarily, the visitors get in touch with the foreign culture and develop – in the best case – a positive feeling to it. Based upon this feeling, they can develop an opinion about the culture and the meeting place, so it is highly probable that they communicate about their experience in a direct verbal communication to their families and friends and via social media to strangers as well. Secondly, the companies of the meeting place communicate about their activities abroad and experiences in their marketing communication channels to their audiences. That means, they influence audiences in the US and Germany equally.
Both directions follow the intention to soften the attitude of an opportune person by acting within this environment. Regarding the limit of the rental period, the limit is necessary to avoid a disproportionate competitive distortion and a loss of attention to the companies caused by an exceeding habituation.
In addition to the meeting places, the stores get the opportunity to open-up popup-stores in rural areas. These areas often have a high vacancy rate of retail space and a popup-store can be a contribution to a revitalization of these areas. The majority of the people in this area have been working and living in these areas the most of their lifetime, so they only travel to larger cities for special occasions, e.g. concerts, shopping, visits to the doctor.
It will be assumed, that the popup-stores get a high attention of the local people. Based upon this, the intention is to promote the products and possibilities of the meeting place equally. Each popup-store is a pointer to cultural exchange. Furthermore, some meeting place events can take place in the rural areas – e.g. a BBQ competition – to reduce reservations against city dweller and their initiatives.
In summary, the mission is to make the meeting places substantial in the American and German population, to influence the people for a Pro-Germany and Pro-America attitude.Influencing people on a place where they can consume, work and interact is a chance for both nations to establish a sustainable acceptance for the transatlantic relationship. Therefore both nations should invest in this subtle method of influence.