A View from the United States: Unwilling to Let “the End of History” Go
From the US perspective, the era of “the end of history” is over. America is internalizing that and increasingly determined to concentrate on great power competition. This will mean focusing its efforts on ensuring China does not dominate Asia and ultimately beyond, a demanding objective that will shape everything America does, regardless of the party in power. In this light, America needs a Germany that shares this concern, and is willing to contribute to that effort, particularly in Europe.
A big part of the problem from the west side of the Atlantic is that, in ways that inhibit such alignment, Germany appears unwilling to let “the end of history” go. This reluctance leads to an abiding, almost visceral discomfort about anything smacking of realpolitik among many Germans. This in turn makes it difficult to have candid, frank discussions with them about clear, hard-nosed strategic priorities, tradeoffs, and bargaining in light of the pressing challenge from a rising China. This is not a European problem for Washington: France, for instance, has no problem talking in these terms.
German leaders, meanwhile, dwell on purported crises of multilateralism, the rules-based international order, and shared values across the Atlantic. These are the challenges a country fixates on if it is trying desperately to hold on to an international order that seemed to prevail in the 1990s, an order that was uniquely favorable to Germany. But this international order..
Read on pages 102-104