Scott Horton interviews Fritz Stern in Harper’s:
German-American relations have seen their ups and downs over the last fifty years—I can still remember Helmut Schmidt complaining bitterly about Jimmy Carter’s unpredictability—but I can’t remember a time when German confidence in its trans-Atlantic ally was ever quite as low as this. Recently we even had Schmidt suggesting in an interview with ‘Die Zeit’ that given the choice between the Bush White House and the Putin Kremlin, the latter seemed safer and more predictable. A shocking statement. Do you see an easy path to the restoration of good relations between Berlin and Washington once George W. Bush is gone? What do you see as the flashpoints for the relationship now?
[Stern:] I doubt that the bilateral relationship on the governmental level will ever be as close again as it was during the cold war or even as it was right after September 11. Germany has to consider its European links and, increasingly, its links to Russia and Asia. The prerequisite to better relations would have to be the de facto abandonment of American unilateralism.