Current problems of Europe

«American rollercoaster»: The evolution of US–Germany relations from 1989 to 2019

А.В. Белинский, Ю.В. Никуличев

Belinsky Andrey Victorovich – Ph.D. in political sciences, senior researcher, Department for the problems of European Security, INION RAS. Nikulichev Yury Vladimirovich – Sc.D. in cultorology, leading researcher, Department for the problems of European Security, INION RAS.


The article explores the evolution of US–Germany relations from 1989 to 2019. The methodology of the research employs historical and empirical analysis, as well as event-analysis of the relations between the two states during this period. The authors underline that in the process of unification of Germany in the 1989–1990 the paramount role was played by the US, which, in contrast to France and Great Britain, fully supported the politics of Chancellor G. Kohl. The end of the Cold war and the collapse of the USSR led to the strengthening of the Germany’s position in international relations, as well as to a change in priorities in US foreign policy. The first serious crisis in the relations of the two states took place in 2002, when the administration of J. Bush accused Iraq of developing bacteriological weapons and supporting terrorist states. The German political circles, together with France and Russia, condemned the US intervention to Iraq in 2003. The Iraqi crisis hugely complicated relations between Washington and Berlin, but at the same time demonstrated that they could be restored very quickly. During the years of B. Obama administration, German political elites nourished great expectations for the re-loading of US–Germany relations and the return of former confidence between the two countries, but the main vector of the US foreign policy at that time shifted to the Asia-Pacific region, where China began to pose a main challenge to American hegemony in the world. The «America First» politics of the current American administration is very unpopular both with the political circles of Germany and the German public. The article shows that recently there have been serious disagreements between the two states in such questions as military spending within NATO, the prospects of the «Nord Stream-2» and the protectionist policy of the Trump administration. To conclude, Germany is visibly decoupling itself from the US and becomes more and more assertive in its foreign policy.


German unification, USA, Germany, Gorbachev, Iraqi problem, peacekeeping operations, NATO, the EU, Libya, «Nord Stream-2», Trump.

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