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  • Author: William E. Scheuerman
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: War makes for strange bedfellows, and among the oddest pairings that World War II produced was that between "Wild Bill" Donovan's Office of Strategic Services and the emigre German Jewish Marxists he hired to teach Washington about the Nazis.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Washington, Germany
  • Author: Sebastian Thrun
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Sebastian Thrun is one of the world's leading experts on robotics and artificial intelligence. Born in Solingen, Germany, in 1967, he received his undergraduate education at the University of Hildesheim and his graduate education at the University of Bonn. He joined the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 and moved to Stanford University in 2003. Thrun led the team that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, a driverless car competition sponsored by the U.S. Defense Department, and in 2007, he joined the staff of Google, eventually becoming the first head of Google X, the company's secretive big-think research lab. He co-founded the online-education start-up Udacity in 2012. In late August, he spoke to Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose in the Udacity offices.
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: Adam Tooze
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the euro in crisis, Germany has come to seem like a lone island of fiscal stability in Europe. Its debt levels are modest, its government bonds are safe havens for investors around the world, and it has avoided the kinds of private credit booms and housing bubbles that have destabilized the rest of the continent. The German economy, fueled by record exports, has grown steadily, expanding by a quarter over the last decade. But beneath the glowing headlines lies a darker story: Germany's economic position is simply unsustainable. For starters, much of its trade surplus has been earned at the expense of the corresponding current account deficits of the European countries in crisis. At the same time, this outsized surplus goes hand in hand with major imbalances within Germany's domestic economy. German businesses have invested their profits abroad, helping finance foreign imports. Meanwhile, as German money has flowed out of the country, domestic investment has languished at unprecedentedly low levels. Germany, like other rich, polluting, and aging countries, faces enormous long-term challenges. Its work force is shrinking, its energy sector needs to be remade, and its public infrastructure has gone too long without improvement. For all the talk of its financial strength, Germany has so far squandered the opportunity to secure long-term economic growth by addressing these challenges through badly needed domestic investments.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Tamar Jacoby
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Germany's recent debate about immigration misses an important reality: for Germany, and most all developed countries, attracting educated and skilled foreign workers is a matter of economic survival.
  • Topic: Immigration
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Henry Farrell, John Quiggin
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union is in danger of compounding its ongoing economic crisis with a political crisis of its own making. Over the last year, crises of confidence have hit the 17 EU members that in the years since 1998 have given up their own currencies to adopt the euro. For the first decade of this century, markets behaved as though the debt of peripheral EU countries, such as Greece and Ireland, was as safe as that of core EU countries, such as Germany. But when bond investors realized that Greece had been cooking its books and that Ireland's fiscal posture was unsustainable, they ran for the door. The EU has stopped the contagion from spreading -- for now -- by creating the European Financial Stability Facility, which can issue bonds and raise money to help eurozone states. Together with the International Monetary Fund, the European Financial Stability Facility has already lent Greece and Ireland enough money to cover their short-term needs. But such bailouts are only stop-gap measures. Portugal and Spain, and to a lesser extent Belgium and Italy, remain vulnerable to pressure from bondholders. Portugal is likely to receive 50-100 billion euros over the next few months. But should Spain also need a bailout -- which could cost as much as 600 billion euros -- the 750 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility would soon be exhausted. In that event, the main euro creditors, primarily British, French, and German banks, might have to accept so-called haircuts, substantial cuts in the principals of their loans. (The banks' tax-avoidance strategies might inflate this total, but the Bank for International Settlements has estimated that the exposure of British, French, and German banks to the group of vulnerable debtor states referred to as the PIGS -- Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain -- amounted to more than $1 trillion in mid-2010.) Encouraged by Germany, some of the states in difficulty have sought to placate bond markets by making ruthless cuts in government spending. But as many economists have pointed out, these measures are hindering growth without satisfying bondholders that their money is safe; bondholders worry that these measures are not politically sustainable. In fact, they are likely to undermine Europe's political union.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Ireland
  • Author: Kanan Makiya
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Igor Golomstock's encyclopedic tome on the art produced in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and communist China makes a good case that totalitarian art is a distinct cultural phenomenon. But a new postscript on art under Saddam Hussein is less compelling, writes a former Iraqi dissident.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Soviet Union, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Steven Rattner
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As Americans fret about their economic decline, Germans are celebrating their country's success as a manufacturing juggernaut. Obama's former auto czar explains the key to Germany's export boom -- and how the United States can emulate it.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Germany
  • Author: Hugo Nixon
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that the eurozone cannot have a monetary union without also having a fiscal union. Euro-enthusiasts see the single currency as the first steppingstone toward a broader economic union, which is their dream. Euroskeptics do, too, but they see that endgame as hell -- and would prefer the single currency to be dismantled. The euro crisis has, for many observers, validated these notions. Both camps argue that the eurozone countries' lopsided efforts to construct a monetary union without a fiscal counterpart explain why the union has become such a mess. Many of the enthusiasts say that the way forward is for the 17 eurozone countries to issue euro bonds, which they would all guarantee (one of several variations on the fiscal-union theme). Even the German government, which is reluctant to bail out economies weaker than its own, thinks that some sort of pooling of budgets may be needed once the current debt problems have been solved. A fiscal union would not come anytime soon, and certainly not soon enough to solve the current crisis. It would require a new treaty, and that would require unanimous approval. It is difficult to imagine how such an agreement could be reached quickly given the fierce opposition from politicians and the public in the eurozone's relatively healthy economies (led by Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands) to repeated bailouts of their weaker brethren (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain). Moreover, once the crisis is solved, the enthusiasm for a fiscal union may wane. Even if Germany is still prepared to pool some budgetary functions, it will insist on imposing strict discipline on what other countries can spend and borrow. The weaker countries, meanwhile, may not wish to submit to a Teutonic straitjacket once the immediate fear of going bust has passed.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Ernest Moniz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the years following the major accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, nuclear power fell out of favor, and some countries applied the brakes to their nuclear programs. In the last decade, however, it began experiencing something of a renaissance. Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. Some countries reversed their phaseouts of nuclear power, some extended the lifetimes of existing reactors, and many developed plans for new ones. Today, roughly 60 nuclear plants are under construction worldwide, which will add about 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity -- equivalent to a sixth of the world's current nuclear power capacity. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. Three reactors were severely damaged, suffering at least partial fuel meltdowns and releasing radiation at a level only a few times less than Chernobyl. The event caused widespread public doubts about the safety of nuclear power to resurface. Germany announced an accelerated shutdown of its nuclear reactors, with broad public support, and Japan made a similar declaration, perhaps with less conviction. Their decisions were made easier thanks to the fact that electricity demand has flagged during the worldwide economic slowdown and the fact that global regulation to limit climate change seems less imminent now than it did a decade ago. In the United States, an already slow approach to new nuclear plants slowed even further in the face of an unanticipated abundance of natural gas.
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Germany
  • Author: Michael Bernhard
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China is hardly the first great power to make authoritarian development look attractive. As Jonathan Steinberg's new biography of Bismarck shows, Wilhelmine Germany did it with ease. But can even successful nondemocratic political systems thrive and evolve peacefully over the long run? The answer depends on whether authoritarian elites can tolerate sharing power.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Germany, Peru