The Consequences of a Trump or Biden Win for Germany
This is part of our series on the policy implications of the 2020 U.S. presidential election for U.S. allies—you’ll find the rest of the series HERE.
Transatlantic Policy Implications of the 2020 U.S. Election
Few countries have a greater interest in the U.S. presidential election than Germany. Its relationship with the United States is of such existential importance that the outcome is likely to have a bigger impact on the future direction of German foreign policy than the country’s own elections in 2021. It is the moment when Berlin will have to make a strategic decision.
Trump has criticized Germany repeatedly and on an array of issues. Yet, his most persistent criticism has come in areas that are not new points of contention: Germany’s insufficient defense budget, its vast trade surpluses, and its dealings with China.
These issues are all long-standing (security spending and trade imbalances) or represent widely held and bipartisan views in Washington (the future relationship with China). On all of them there are good reasons for German policymakers to be at least receptive to the U.S. position.
Nobody should expect any quick fixes in the U.S.-German relationship during a Biden presidency. Yet it would offer a window of opportunity to put the relationship on an adjusted— and maybe more mature—footing.
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