News ArticlesForeign policy and war: Is Barack Obama an “Obamacon?”January 25, 2009
In his inaugural address, Barack Obama struck a conciliatory tone in foreign policy. The perhaps most important change in rhetoric from the former Administration is his decision not to talk about the "war on terror." Instead, he chose a descriptive phrase and spoke of a "network of violence and hatred," which must be combated. However, Obama supplemented this clear distinction from his predecessor's exaggerated rhetoric about war and staying the course with an emphatic reaffirmation of military force as a means to achieve freedom or prevent major calamity.Country analysis: The end of the American century?January 20, 2009
In this issue of International Policy Analysis, GMF Transatlantic Fellow Michael Werz examines the phenomena surrounding Barack Obama, the consolidation of the Democratic party during the 90s, the impact of minority and first time voters, the challenges facing the Republican party, and interior as well as foreign policy aspirations for the new administration.The Presidency of an apoliticalJanuary 18, 2009
No picture documents the closing moments of George W. Bush's term better than the picture of him on the morning of September 11, 2001, at an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida. He was reading to the students when his cheif of staff whispered the disaster that was transpiring in New York. At this moment, only six months into his term, his Presidency was over. The article, written in German for the Berlin daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, is available for download below:Unconventional MeasuresOctober 01, 2008If only the impressions counted that were produced during the Democratic convention in Denver, Barack Obama would have won the lections already. But Optimism alone does not secure victory. The return to old formula to which John McCain's campaigns intends to score is also blocked. Never before the American minorities have been such an important part of the Presidential election. The full article is available in German for download below:Climate Change and GeopoliticsOctober 01, 2008One of the consequences of climate change is the dearth or excess of water. Both do not only present imminent danger to many human beings but also present a major threat to the global military balance. Global warming, for example, is of concern to the U.S. Navy at all coasts.An Election for the 21st CenturySeptember 18, 2008An analysis of the U.S. Election, written in Italian for Italianieuropei, the Foundation of Political Culture in Rome, Italy.Obama’s European trip pays offJuly 25, 2008GMF Transatlantic Fellow Michael Werz examines the odd choice by Obama to campaign for America's presidency from abroad and the success with which it was received by the people of Berlin. This interview is in German.“America, this is our Moment” – Barack Obama writes historyJuly 01, 2008Nothing has been decided as of yet with regard to the new occupant of the White House. Nevertheless major changes have happened in US society already. When Barack Obama declared himself Democratic candidate for the Presidency on June 3rd in front of 17,000 enthusiastic supporters in St. Paul, Minnesota, American history seemed to take place in fast motion. The nomination of the first black candidate for the highest office evoked three centuries of American history and at the same time documented the astonishing path this nation has taken.Turkey, Closer to the U.S. than EuropeJune 01, 2008
If you compare the geographical distances from Ankara, Los Angeles is 11,000 Kilometers removed, whereas Berlin is a mere one-fifth of that distance. This proximity Germany and Turkey should offer great opportunities to each other's societies. But if one compares the political debates vis-à-vis Turkey in Germany and the United States, the relationship of distance and proximity reverses itself. (Written in German)A counterrevolutionaryMay 01, 2008As the Democratic nomination of a presidential candidate captivates the United States, the Republican race is already settled. But the headstrong outsider John McCain is still being identified with the unpopular President George Bush. And many of his political positions have not yet been clarified and he has a number of foes in his own party. Will he be able to unite the disparate parts of the party? This article is written in German. Brown, Black, White: Americans Vote and Discover a New ContinentApril 11, 2008
Usually nominations and elections decide about the future of a society. However, much to the surprise of many American, in the United States an intensive conversation about the status quo has begun. This has to do with the monumental changes in race relations that have become highlighted in the Democratic nomination process; transformations that before might not been so visible. The yearlong battle has opened out into a cultural self-reflection of national proportions and resulted in an unbelievable political mobilization. (In German)The Democrats in ’08: Clinton and Obama struggle between experience and changeFebruary 01, 2008
Since World War II, the quarrels within the democratic party during the primaries have attracted attention because the party was known for destroying itself while trying to find a suitable candidate for the most important position in the world. Why, in the seemingly endless campaigns from 2007 and 2008, does everything appear to be different this time around? GMF Transatlantic Fellow Michael Werz explains the reasons in this article for Kommune.American Islam: A pluralistic didactic play in religious garbNovember 29, 2007Approximately six million Muslims live in the United States. The story of their immigration is one of diversity and a further example of American plurality. The terrorist attacks of 2001 did not produce a general mood against Muslims, but rather, paradoxically, accelerated the movement for societal and political participation of a dynamic Muslim community.The future of America lies in MiamiMay 01, 2007
Suprisingly, more than half the Latino vote went to George Bush, helping him win the Presidency. As the largast ethnic lobbying body gathered in Miami for their yearly conference, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama find themselves in a neck-to-neck race for the Democratic nomination. The Republican candidates have preferred to stay out of the public's eye. Recent immigration reform failed due to conservative populism and now the mood among America's Latinos more heated than ever before. (Article in German)
ethnic minority does not endanger social structures but is part of a successful assimilation process. This specific and distinct form of ethnicity reflects, among other things, the American immigration history and is not associated with any potentially intolerant project of political hegemony. In America ethnicity functions as secular private religion, it is practiced as individual folklore in appreciation of the multipolar setup of the American society and its indefeasible tolerance imperatives. Horace Kallen was the most important interpreter of these tectonic shifts within U.S. society during the 1920's. His essays on Culture and Democracy in the United States can be read as an intellectual cartography of the American demythologization of ethnicity - a process that never took place in Europe.Wie die Latinos Bush gerettet habenNovember 05, 2004John Kerrys Strategen haben die Minderheiten selbstverständlich auf der Haben-Seite verbucht. Doch sie lagen ebenso falsch wie die Demoskopen, Niemand hatte erwartet, dass die Hälfte der US-Latinos für George W. Bush gestimmt hat. Die Wahlanalyse beweist: Amerikas Melting Pot funktioniert noch immer.Bushs WiederwahlNovember 04, 2004Eine neue Dämmerung von Bushokratie. Schweizer und ausländische Intellektuelle mit Beziehungen zu den USA erwarten, dass George W. Bush
seine konservative Revolution nun fortsetzt.Anti-Americanism and Ambivalence: Remarks on an Ideology in Historical TransformationNovember 01, 2004America is still admired, respected and emulated. But the keen interest in all things American today takes many different forms, including many that are negative and hateful. In truth, many of the most starkly opposed patterns of interpreting the US have something in common that points to more than the boosterism or rejection of the so-called “American lifestyle.” America, their object of desire or resentment, serves as an almost universal point of reference in regard to how the world perceives political conflict, economic modernization, and the very name itself can express both an engagement with and a reification of the complex cultural and social traditions that comprise modern lifeDie Stärken der USA sind Toleranz und Offenheit.October 14, 2004
Nimmt man die letzten drei Volkszählungen zwischen 1980 und 2000, dann bewegt sich der Bevölkerungsschwerpunkt der USA um fünf Meilen pro Jahr in Richtung Südwesten. Die territoriale Verschiebung zeigt, wie sehr die Gesellschaft in Bewegung geraten ist. Dort, wo Hispanics und Asian-Americans einen überdurchschnittlich hohen Bevölkerungsanteil ausmachen, liegt die Zukunft Amerikas. In spätestens drei Jahrzehnten wird es keine weiße Mehrheit mehr geben. Dass in Amerika alle gleich sind oder eine einheitliche Kultur existiert, mutet wie eine Vorstellung aus einem vergangenen Jahrhundert an.The United States’ Strengths are Openness and Tolerence, even if Europe Doesn’t Want to Believe it.October 14, 2004The North American continent is slowly separating itself from Europe. Looking at the last three census reports from 1980 through 2000 one will notice a majority of the population moving towards the Southwest at an approximate speed of five miles per year.
PublicationsWhat Comes after Multiculturalism?June 03, 2009Even as the financial crisis unfolds and frustrations toward American policies continue to develop, Europe would do well to consider the approach to secularism, immigration, and citizenship that the United States has taken.America’s Historical MomentMay 06, 2009
Minutes after the polls closed in California on November 4th and CNN announced that Barack Obama won the election, a collective sigh of relief went through America. Barack Obama is of ambiguous ancestry and can only be described as American. The fact that a man of his background has been elected will not only be recorded in schoolbooks all over the world for a century to come; it will also stand as an irreversible achievement, independently of the political disappointments that are to come.Religion, Migration, and ConfusionMarch 06, 2009
There are 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States; some say the number is closer to 15 million. Periodically, academic and political debates grow testy and polarizing as they did in 2006. But even though the battle over comprehensive immigration reform in the United States (which included legal status and a path to citizenship for these millions) was fought tooth and nail, very few opponents of the reform proposal argued on grounds of cultural resentment.Modernity, Resentment, and Anti-AmericanismJanuary 01, 2008Although Anti-Americanism is often treated as though it were a uniform reaction toward some undefined but somehow concrete experience, it should be analyzed instead against the background of dynamic societies undergoing profound social, economic, and political and cultural transformations.Diversity as a Foreign Policy AssetJune 15, 2006In the inaugural paper in the GMF Paper Series, Michael Werz argues that Europe's, and specifically Germany's, demographic changes over the last 15 years have not been reflected in the makeup of its governments and especially its foreign policy and foreign service. Werz argues that European governments could learn much from the United States' experience with its own foreign service and diversity in government.Anti-Americanism and Ambivalence in the New GermanyJanuary 05, 2005Two years after the bitter U.S.-German divide over Iraq, a number of opinion polls suggest that anti-American feelings are growing worldwide. European societies are one locus of a swell in resentment against the United States. In Germany, the increase in anti-Americanism has often been seen as a revival of the recurrent German obsession with American power that has surged many times in recent history, such as at the turn of the 20th century, during the interwar period, throughout the 1950s, and in the era of testy debates over nuclear missile deployment in the 1980s. However, neither anecdotal observation nor polling data, with their seductive appearance of precision, provide a complete picture of either the state or causes of anti-Americanism in Germany. The phenomenon can not be adequately grasped if the ideological expressions of its actors are taken at face value. The complexity of modern anti-Americanism and the current transformations in German society defy simple empirical observation or broad statistical data.The non-national Nation. Horace Kallen and Cultural PluralismJanuary 04, 2005The United States serves as counter-example to the European version of collective self-perception. In America, the accentuation of belonging to an ethnic minority does not endanger social structures but is part of a successful assimilation process. This specific and distinct form of ethnicity reflects, among other things, the American immigration history and is not associated with any potentially intolerant project of political hegemony. In America ethnicity functions as secular private religion, it is practiced as individual folklore in appreciation of the multipolar setup of the American society and its indefeasible tolerance imperatives. Horace Kallen was the most important interpreter of these tectonic shifts within U.S. society during the 1920's. His essays on Culture and Democracy in the United States can be read as an intellectual cartography of the American demythologization of ethnicity - a process that never took place in Europe.