• Innovative


Stephen F. Szabo presents a balanced if subjective look at the factors leading to the rift between Washington and Berlin over Iraq. He adroitly portrays how Sept. 11, 2001, was the shotgun in the marriage between U.S. conservative nationalists (Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney) and neo-conservatives (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl). The neo-cons seek to ensure American security by spreading democracy to every inch of the globe. Szabo ably profiles the historical and cultural circumstances that contributed to the German perception that Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Saddam Hussein. He also uncovers the underlying geopolitical fault lines causing the diplomatic temblors that are rattling the dishware on both sides of the Atlantic. His book is an excellent tactical portrayal of how a vital, longstanding diplomatic relationship can disappear virtually overnight. getAbstract.com strongly recommends this volume to any serious student of international relations, the Atlantic Alliance and the Bush Administration, particularly in regard to its response to 9/11.


A Warning from a Dead Canary

Coal miners shoveling out a living in dark tunnels used to carry canaries in cages. As long as your canary was chirping, all was well. But if your canary expired, you knew the air had gone bad. Your time was very short and you dropped your gear and fled. The canary's death served notice that it was time to run for your life. That dead canary could represent the current schism between Germany and the U.S. This split is a claxon warning that announces the dangers of two great nations taking each other for granted, an alarm over the perils of poor diplomacy and a trumpet call that emphasizes the importance of focusing on mutual self-interest rather than sentimental relationships. If the lethal air that killed the canary of U.S.-German relations isn't cleansed soon, it could signal much larger problems - a deeper and more open split with dire consequences for both countries.

The Low Point

The German-U.S. relationship reached its nadir on September 18, 2002, just before German voters cast their ballots in the country's most closely contested election. Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Germany's justice minister, compared George W. Bush's methods...

About the Author

Stephen F. Szabo is a professor of European studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He holds the Steven Muller Chair in German Studies at the University's SAIS Bologna Center. He specializes in European security and politics as well as contemporary German politics. He is also the author of The Diplomacy of German Unification among other books.

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