Current Events and U.S. Diplomacy
Though most of these relationships are positive and peaceful ones, there are some relations that are not so good. This is especially apparent with US relations with many Arab countries in the Middle East. This relationship culminated with the twin tower attacks on 9th September 2011 by Arabic terrorists, and the US response to the attacks by invading Afghanistan, and later on Iraq, in order to quash any terrorist groups intent on attacking the USA.
One country whose diplomatic ties have seen developments since the cold war ended with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 is Germany. During the cold war, the Berlin Wall separated east and West Germany, and by extension separating Eastern and Western Europe. Therefore, Germany was in the midst of all the chaos that marked the cold war decades. The two separate parties had completely different ideologies, and this difference split Europe between those two camps, hence a physical separation in form of a wall was built to separate them. After the fall of the Berlin war, most countries changed their political ideologies to those of Western Europe. Germany, which had been split into two, had difficulties settling into being one large country with Western Europe ideologies, especially concerning democratic rule. The reason for this was due to the fact that the elements that advocated for socialist and communist rule were still resisting the inevitable change that was prevailing in the country. However, in the end, the western ideologies and democracy prevailed (Stiftung, 2003).
Germany’s cold relations date back to the Second World War when the two countries were indifferent camps. USA allied with Britain and other countries to end the Nazi rule in Germany and brought the Second World War to an end. After the fall of the Berlin wall, the USA was a very significant force in ensuring that peace was brokered between the two former camps of eastern and western Germany. Furthermore, the US retained a large number of its military personnel in Germany after the end of the cold war to protect its trade, educational and other institutional interests in the country. This was, however, a friendly agreement between the two countries. When the USA invaded Afghanistan after the September 2001 attacks, Germany sent troops to back up the NATO forces in bringing down the middle eastern country, which was seen as protecting the terrorist attacks mastermind Osama bin Laden and other terrorists operating under the A Qaeda emblem. However, the relations between USA and Germany turned sour when the then German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder refused to back the USA in invading Iraq, opting for more diplomatic and peaceful solutions to the problem. This problem was neutralized when the US-backed Angela Merkel became chancellor. Recently, the relations between the USA and Germany have had tensions again after a series of secret documents from the US embassy in Germany were leaked to the public by Wiki leaks. In these documents, information passed between the US embassy in Berlin and the USA painted a bad picture of the leadership in Germany, especially of the current chancellor, labelling her names. Furthermore, the leaked information criticized nearly the whole German cabinet and leadership, with very few pro-American members left untainted (Norton, et al., 2011). However, the USA and its ambassador in Germany immediately went on a public relations cleaning campaign to clear the air and deny the allegations, terming them malicious with an intention to harm relations between the two countries which had been allies for long.
The relations between Germany and the US have been fairly friendly since the world war two when Germany surrendered to the British allies after the USA joined the latter. After the war, the US embarked on the Marshall plan, together with its allies United Kingdom and France in a bid to help rebuild the war torn Germany. However, the differences in views with the Soviet Union, which controlled the Eastern part of the country led to the split of the country into the western and eastern parts. After the fall of the Berlin war the USA continued to support Germany as a whole, rather than only the Eastern part. Germany and the USA are allies who collaborate on a lot of things including military and security operations, education, culture and in trade. The US and Germany enjoy friendly and mutual cooperation in most things they do. This has seen tremendous benefits enjoyed by both countries, courtesy of this friendship. Under these circumstances, leaders from both countries keep it in their best interests not to do anything that would ruin this relationship, hence destroy the immense benefits drawn from each other, including not implementing policies that would lead to such situations by either of the countries.
One country that the USA has always had cold relation with is Cuba. Though it is an island country bordering the USA to the south, the relations between the two countries have been at best hostile. Cuba has always been accusing the USA of trying to impose its rule and ideologies on Cuba in a bid to control the island. The USA on the other hand accuses Cuba of abusing human rights and imposing communist rule on its people (Gott, 2004). These relations have been strained since Fidel Castro took over power in 1959. Since then, the US has imposed strict policies, embargoes and sanctions against Cuba, and has gone to the extent of labelling Cuba a terrorist sponsor state (Gott, 2004). Cuba and the USA do not see eye to eye on anything, and Cuba has condemned most of the USA’s policies internationally, least of all US’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Although both countries have mutual interest in each other, they can not seem to agree on anything, and previous attempts to end their cold relations have been futile.
In both countries, Cuba and Germany, differences in ideologies led to the conflicts that deteriorated their relations. However, unlike Germany which accepted the US’s plan to help rebuild the war torn country, Cuba has on many occasions turned down any attempts of aid by the USA. For instance, Cuba has refused any lease payments of the Guantanamo Bay by the USA terming the US occupation of the island a breach of its sovereignty. Even in times of difficulty, the US and Germany have found amiable ways to sort out their differences. On the other hand, the USA’s relations with Cuba seem destroyed beyond repair.
In the past, the USA dealt with countries it had difficulties with by imposing travel bans, trade sanctions and/or embargoes. However, in the world today where countries have strong interdependencies on each other, especially in terms of economic interdependence, such measures are harsh and hurt even the countries imposing such actions (Brenner, 1988). The USA has therefore resulted in using diplomacy and mediation in such cases, using the harsh methods only in very severe cases of relations being hurt. This diplomatic approach has been helpful in solving many international relations, between the USA and other countries. The results have been positive and beneficial to all parties involved.
Brenner, P. (1988). From confrontation to negotiation: U.S. relations with Cuba. USA: Westview Press.
Gott, Richard (2004). Cuba: a new history. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. p. 13.
Norton, M. B., et al. (2011). A people & a nation: a history of the United States. Boston: Wadsworth.
Stiftung, D. (2003).U.S. – German economic relations : conflicts, cooperation, harmonization ; Washington, D.C., March 24-25, 2003 ; conference hosted by the Dräger-Foundation, Lübeck, the DIN Group, Berlin, the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, D.C. Berlin: Beuth.