My take-away from the article is that Germany thinks that it wasn't just President George W Bush who was shifting the focus of US foreign policy away from Europe. The staff writers at Der Speigel think that the Obama Administration is just looking toward Europe to see what is in it for the US and is already shifting its gaze toward China (gee, I wish they had said India).
The other thing—and this is what gives it a local flavor, given recent blog posts here in Lowell, about Lowell—is that the Germans seem to think that the Obama White House is a bit overbearing.
Obama's visits to Dresden and Buchenwald also ruffled some feathers in Germany. The US president's advance team, which had been sent to help prepare for the trip, made a negative impression on the Germans through their coarse language and overbearing behavior. German officials were shouted at, treated like schoolchildren and told to wait their turns.Unfortunate.
"We have never experienced such a hardline approach during any visit," says an official from Germany's Foreign Ministry.
A clash of cultures is raging between Berlin and the United States on the issue of financial policy. The administration in Washington is combating the financial crisis by taking on more and more new debt. When former President George W. Bush came into office in his first term, there was still a budget surplus. According to conservative estimates, the United States will accumulate about $9 trillion (€6.5 trillion) in new debt just in the period from 2010 to 2020. The country's debt could soon amount to 100 percent of its gross domestic product. The dollar is already faltering, having lost 7 percent of its value against the euro in the last two months.We should not dismiss the German fears of hyperinflation. First off, it helped pave the way for the rise of National Socialism. Second, it could be a serious problem here if printing money turned into inflation and the inflation got out of control.
But the White House believes its policy of printing money is necessary, not risky.
Archaic fears, combined with the memories of two different years, are at the root of the two countries' fundamentally different positions on the purpose and tools of monetary policy. The Americans remember the 1929 global economic crisis with horror. For them, there is nothing worse than a shrinking economy, which they see as the epitome of hunger, hardship and ruin. The Germans, on the other hand, think of 1923, when hyperinflation destroyed assets and plunged many into poverty.
Longish article but it is always good to see how others view us.
Regards — Cliff