Sudha David-Wilp is the regional director of the Berlin office and a senior fellow. She joined GMF’s Berlin office in September 2011, where she oversees GMF’s outreach to the Bundestag and engages with the media as an expert on relations between Germany and the United States.

She has written commentary for Foreign Policy, Axios, der Tagesspiegel, and CNN and has been featured in interviews on Bloomberg News, the BBC, NPR, ZDF, and ARD. Before moving to Berlin, she was the director of international programs at the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress in Washington, DC for nearly eight years. At the association, David-Wilp was responsible for congressional study groups and international programs for current members of Congress and senior congressional staff. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, with a major in international relations and a minor in writing seminars. She received her Master’s in international relations from Columbia University. 

Media Mentions

But there is also a growing realization in Germany that it can’t be business as usual with China. This turning point for Germany has made clear that they can’t necessarily just follow this idea of ‘change through trade’ and not think about the hard power issues involved with trading with autocratic powers.
I think the German-American partnership is strong and adapting to the new geopolitical realities. The U.S. government is very happy about the German decision to turn the tide, but also knows that things take time.
Translated from German
This may be a signal that this kind of cover can’t last forever. Those sort of transactions may not be something that Germany can depend on for the future. The United States also wants to encourage Germany to act in coordination with its European allies, without Washington needing to join in.
Washington is still looking to Berlin as the lead military power in Europe. It is an opportunity to take stock
Those sort of transactions may not be something that Germany can depend on for the future. The United States also wants to encourage Germany to act in coordination with its European allies, without Washington needing to join in.
Germany came through at the last minute. But it was obvious that it was very skittish to put itself forward.
Scholz had a lot of pressure within his own party about getting dragged into the war. And then I guess there is also a genuine fear about what this would trigger on the part of Russia.
Germany is a team player. It wants to be in the mix, wants to help, but is somewhat reluctant to take the lead, even within Europe.
Someone like Boris Pistorius could have the leverage, with the chancellery, to really make a difference.
Ever since the Zeitenwende speech it has just been a series of mishaps. Lots has been promised but when you look at what has actually been delivered it is underwhelming and we’re coming up to the six-month-anniversary of the war. There is a lack of communication skills and a lot of hesitancy.
Russia's war against Ukraine has already put the fight against climate change on the back burner. If you look at Germany, for example, the economics minister Robert Habeck just had to recently announce more use of coal to power the German economy since the natural gas from Russia is being weaponized.
In a matter of a week, political taboos about military spending to relations with Russia have fallen to the wayside. Germany is putting money where its mouth is to strengthen defense capabilities, and is braced to isolate Russia even at a cost to its own economy.
Everybody knows where [Former German chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder stands, everybody knows where he is getting his source of income from. More interesting is how Scholz and the SPD choose to navigate relations with Russia in the future.
[Putin’s] aim is to damage Germany’s credibility among its partners, whether its the United States or EU partners. Perhaps it’s working.
The point is: Scholz can't come empty-handed. He has to change the status quo. Instead of being very taciturn, which is his style, he needs to come to Washington w/ a clear message why Germany is on board w/ the western alliance in this crisis vis-à-vis Ukraine.
The big difference with the past is that this is a coalition formed the very choice of three parties. The last two election cycles ended in a grand coalition because of an inability to formulate an alternative, this time it is not like that, it is not a coalition of last resort. The desire for transformation, modernization and progress is what brought these three parties together.
Translated from Spanish
The bigger challenge is, of course, you know, managing the coalition. He has to make sure that he can keep sort of the young revolutionaries in check within his own party and make sure that this coalition of seemingly strange bedfellows stick together for the long haul to make sure that these goals are met in terms of modernizing Germany.
This coalition was really a choice — the parties wanted to do this, and work it out, and all had something to gain from doing it. It wasn’t, as in the past, a government of last resort.
It’s undeniable that she’s given Germany a lot of soft power. Undoubtedly she’s elevated Germany’s image in the world. When she first came onto the scene in 2005, a lot of people underestimated her, but she grew in stature along with Germany’s role in the world.
This centrism is another trait [Olaf] Scholz shares with Merkel. She always governed from the center and I think he will also try to do that if he does become chancellor, but it will also depend of course on what coalition parties demand.
Germans prefer continuity, but if nothing changes it is understood that the country will lose its competitive advantage and ultimately its reputation as an economic powerhouse. This new three-way coalition is novel and aims to usher in transformation within Germany on many fronts whether it be weaning itself off coal by 2030 or investing in digital infrastructure.
Linder can’t afford to be intransigent after he refused to enter into a coalition in 2017 – this is his last chance. And as far as the Greens are concerned, they feel that the climate emergency leaves them no choice except to govern as part of a coalition.
The Greens can be happy that they've improved in terms of results since the last election cycle, but they definitely did not fulfill expectations. Baerbock didn't meet the moment. At one point, the party was leading the pack, there were far greater expectations for them.
This is a generational change after 16 years of one person in power, I think for that reason alone, Germans are very unsure about who would be the proper successor to Angela Merkel.
"[Angela Merkel] has left a very fragmented political landscape in Germany, so it looks like it's going to take three parties to form a majority for the next government. So the small parties, the Greens and the FDP, are sort of banding together to call the shots for the next government.
After four years of cringing and ducking during the Trump years, there's certainly shock about the messy withdrawal in Afghanistan.