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Germany's Praktisch Foreign Policy

Germany's Praktisch Foreign Policy

The Trump administration’s transactional, shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy has put many of America’s allies on edge and forced them to reconsider long-held assumptions about who they call friend and foe. In Europe, it’s encouraging Germany to diversify its foreign policy relationships and act more boldly on the global stage.


Consider the latest developments:

  • Last weekend, Vladimir Putin arrived in Berlin for his first visit to Germany since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Putin and Chancellor Merkel discussed Syria, Ukraine, and the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
  • Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who not long ago accused the German government of “Nazi practices” – has been invited for an official state visit in the fall. Merkel has expressed an eagerness to help Turkey, which is highly reliant on Germany economically, as it contends with mounting domestic economic trouble.
  • Berlin has also been actively making overtures to Beijing in an effort to shore up the support of its largest trading partner.

But this pragmatic approach to foreign policy has its limits. Berlin’s new single-issue “friends” – Russia on energy, Turkey as a hub for Syrian migrants, China with its massive domestic market – are hardly a substitute for a wayward United States. Germany wants to become less reliant on Russian gas, not more. And while Merkel favors continued trade with China, her government has also enacted restrictions on foreign investment aimed at addressing concerns about China’s growing influence over German businesses. Who knows how long Erdogan will play nice.

For countries in a deeply interconnected world, it’s always good to have a wide assortment of friends. But relationships sustained by interests as opposed to values can fall apart quickly. Interests can change overnight; values tend to be more durable. So while Germany and others eagerly seek out new partners, they will struggle to permanently fill the void left by the US.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

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On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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Watch Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

A new war breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not a new conflict. They've been fighting over contested territory that used to be a part of the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region. It was taken by the Armenians. It's a mostly Armenian enclave in terms of population. It's been contested since that military fight. There's been ongoing negotiations. The Azeris a number of months ago tried some shelling. They got pasted. This time around, it's war and for a few reasons.

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Join us tomorrow, September 29th, at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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