Donhoff, Marion
June 1979
Foreign Affairs;Summer79, Vol. 57 Issue 5, p1052
This article focuses on the mutual uneasiness in the relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and the U.S., as of June 1979. Inasmuch as the American détente toward the East has deteriorated, the Soviet Union must try to keep détente alive elsewhere. Besides, the Soviet leaders feel that they have not gained all that much from détente with the U.S., neither their hopes for technology nor their illusions about credits have been fulfilled. Both ended with the Jackson-Vanik Amendment linking most-favored-nation trade status for the Soviet Union to emigration. Most people in Germany, however, praise U.S. President Jimmy Carter for his courage, and claim that no other statesman would have dared to put his political reputation on the line in order to bring Israel and Egypt together. This kind of spontaneity on his part may be the other side of the coin for which he is often criticized in this country, namely that he lacks a consistent concept of foreign policy. Other differences between Germany and the U.S. have centered on specific issues of economic and monetary policy, approaches to nuclear energy, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization weapons systems. Another serious controversy, which erupted in 1977, concerned nuclear energy and specifically dealt with the conflict between the nonproliferation policy of Carter and a proposed sale of a reprocessing plant by the Federal Republic to Brazil. Obviously relations between the U.S. and the Federal Republic have been strained more acutely and more lastingly over the problems of new weapons systems, although a real controversy between the U.S. and the Federal Republic has erupted only over the neutron bomb. As far as medium-range missiles are concerned, the debate at present is still taking place within the governments of the two nations, rather than between them.


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