It is over. Donald Trump has lost. After four years of chaos, the self-declared saviour of America failed to convince the voters in key states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to grant him another term. Their choice will have a significant impact on German-American relations. President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on nothing less than restoring the soul of the American nation.The new administration faces a raging pandemic and a troubled economy, much like the rest of the world. Nevertheless, Biden’s foreign policy will be substantially different from Trump’s. After years of troubled relations with one of America’s most important allies, Biden will have to try to re-engage with Germany. Berlin ought to be prepared.
Recent calls from German policymakers and think-tankers for a public security policy debate indicate the importance of discourse for security policy. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Discourse – or how we talk about things – exerts significant power over security policy decision-making; setting the framework for how we define good and evil, identify threats, and which policy options are legitimate (or even thinkable) means of confronting them. Just how powerful discourse can be is demonstrated by Dr. Frank Stengel’s latest analysis on ideational change in German security policy. The concise, well-structured work introduces a novel analytical approach, combining post-structuralist, feminist and post-colonial discourse theory, providing much needed insights into Germany’s often contradictory relationship with the use of military force.
Amid general pessimism caused by covid-19 crisis, the last few days brought some good news for the Western Balkans, as the European Union (EU) green-lighted the launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. The long awaited and overdue decision is an indisputable step towards fulfilling the EU aspirations of the Western Balkans, a decision that will definitely inject some optimism in the region. On the other side, such decision heralds the fact that the EU can take strategic decisions, even in the midst of a big crisis, although it did not set a date for the formal start of negotiations, and adds additional conditions for Albania. Another positive signal for the entire region, was the raising of the North Macedonian flag in front of NATO´s Headquarters in Brussels, officially becoming the 30th member of the Alliance. It rewarded the success of the historic Prespa Agreement that solved the 27-year-old name dispute between Athens and Skopje, an example of demonstrated political courage in the region.
During the Cold War, an ever-increasing quantity of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles determined the strategic parameters of international security. In the 30 years since then, the global nuclear stockpiles have been reduced gradually. This process has, at least for the time being, come to an end with the New START treaty on deployed strategic nuclear weapons. It was signed by the US and Russia in April 2010. Despite its overall success, the prospects for further (nuclear) disarmament are bleak. Instead, we are witnessing an evolving arms race that will, however, differ significantly from the Cold War tradition. Two main issues drive this process.