Secretary of State John Kerry at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate:
hope in Europe that Kerry may be uniquely able to recast the E.U.'s
image in the United States.
Hope for Recasting Europe's Image in American Eyes (DerTagesspiegel, Germany)
to his personal interest and experiences, Kerry can help clear up some common
misconceptions. Many Americans overestimate the importance of Asia and
underestimate that of Europe. Most of them have heard of the dynamism and
growth rates in the Pacific, but only a few know that the exchange of goods,
services, and investments across the Atlantic is much greater, and that more
jobs depend on it."
The U.S. has its
sights set on Asia in particular. Still, new Secretary of State John Kerry can
introduce his country to a different image of Europe.
Visits to Berlin by American secretaries of state were once
symbolic. The things people will remember most from John Kerry's first
are that he rode a bicycle through the Brandenburg Gate when he was a teenager;
his grandparents were Jews from Silesia; and apart from that, he came mostly to
talk about Syria. Can such a man revive transatlantic relations? Around the world
people are talking about how the United States is now governed by its first "Pacific
president" - with an eye on Asia. What effect, if any, do such biographical
impressions have on foreign policy? Didnít Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice
map out their itineraries based on current crises and challenges?
The new secretary's emotional ties to Berlin and France,
where he spent several summer vacations as a child, will not fundamentally change
Europe's place in American geopolitics.
He cannot shape U.S. public opinion to the degree the president
can. The days when Berlin was a divided city, hub of a divided continent and
thus of American global politics will never return.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
But thanks to his personal interest and experiences, Kerry
can help clear up some common misconceptions. Many Americans overestimate the
importance of Asia and underestimate that of Europe. Most of them have heard of
the dynamism and growth rates in the Pacific, but only a few know that the
exchange of goods, services, and investments across the Atlantic is much
greater, and that more jobs depend on it.
On the other hand, Kerry has touched on the fact that he
wants to see historically successful components of the Atlantic partnership
applied elsewhere. The example of the Marshall Plan is far from
original - but it still works. How comforting it would be for America and
Europe alike, if security systems similar to NATO and crisis warning systems that
existed at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union were in place in Asia.
The island dispute among China, Japan, and Korea, with all its nationalistic
overtones, reminds some observers of the atmosphere in Europe a hundred years
ago, when a
few shots in Sarajevo were enough to trigger a world war.
Kerry makes his inaugural visit at a time that, for a
variety of reasons, presents an opportunity to reshape America's images of Asia
and Europe. In Asia, the opportunities are shrinking and the risks are growing.
Growth rates are declining, while border disputes and domestic conflicts within
each nation are on the rise. In Europe the trend is the reverse. The United
States has overdone the gloom and doom surrounding the euro crisis. In many
areas, Germany is a model when it comes to formulas for overcoming the economic
crisis. And the debate over the Atlantic
[free trade] agreement puts the economic power of the E.U.
back in the spotlight.
Kerry can enhance America's domestic political debate. But
for this he will need the help of self-aware Europeans.