10 episodes

The Zeitgeist delves into topics affecting Germany, the United States, and the transatlantic relationship. Hosted by AICGS President Jeff Rathke, the show welcomes guests from the policy, academic, and think tank communities, as well as in-house AICGS experts. Produced by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

The Zeitgeis‪t‬ AICGS | American Institute for Contemporary German Studies

    • Government
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

The Zeitgeist delves into topics affecting Germany, the United States, and the transatlantic relationship. Hosted by AICGS President Jeff Rathke, the show welcomes guests from the policy, academic, and think tank communities, as well as in-house AICGS experts. Produced by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

    Episode 38: Lessons for Dealing with Right-Wing Extremism in the United States and Germany

    Episode 38: Lessons for Dealing with Right-Wing Extremism in the United States and Germany

    Right-wing extremism has been on the rise around the world. The January 6, 2021 insurrection that attached the U.S. capital and the August 2020 protest in Berlin which breached the Reichstag building show not only the rise in support for conspiracy theories and extreme political views, but also the danger of militant extremists exploiting such mass mobilization on our democracies.

    On this episode, Jeff Rathke and Eric Langenbacher join former AICGS fellow Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor at the School of Public Affairs and School of Education at American University in Washington, DC and a longtime expert on radical and right-extremist subculture, to discuss the phenomenon of rising right-wing worldviews and extremist violence in the United States and Germany. How widespread are such sentiments in the populations today? What are the deeper roots that lead to the growing appeal of extreme political ideas in our societies? Are right-wing extreme movements learning from each other’s tactics? How are the U.S. and German governments dealing with these challenges?



    Host

    Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS

    Guests

    Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor, American University

    Eric Langenbacher, Senior Fellow and Director, Society, Culture & Politics Program

    • 33 min
    Episode 37: A Warming Trend for the U.S.-EU Partnership?

    Episode 37: A Warming Trend for the U.S.-EU Partnership?

    Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States has generated optimism about the prospects for renewing transatlantic relations after the cold front of the Trump years. As the United States moves to rekindle its partnership with the European Union, it needs to make combating the covid-19 pandemic its key focus while also facing up to global challenges like climate change and strategic competition from China. The Biden administration inherits a number of sticking points in the U.S.-EU relationship—subsidies to Boeing and Airbus, taxation of digital companies by EU member states, and U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. But new opportunities for cooperation are also opening up, especially if the two sides can balance short-term conflict management with long-term strategic priorities.

    On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AICGS’ Jeff Rathke and Peter Rashish discuss with David O’Sullivan, senior counselor at Steptoe & Johnson LLP and former EU Ambassador to the United States, steps that can help the transatlantic relationship make a fresh start with the arrival of the Biden administration. How should the United States and the EU work together to reform the WTO? Can they coordinate efforts to confront Chinese economic behavior while remaining engaged with Beijing where necessary? What could a transatlantic climate policy alignment look like? And can the United States and the European Union find a common approach to Internet platform companies?



    Host

    Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS

    Guests

    David O’Sullivan, Senior Counsellor, Steptoe and Johnson LLP

    Peter Rashish, Senior Fellow and Director, Geoeconomics Program

    • 30 min
    Episode 36: The Politics of Drones and the Future of Germany’s Defense Policy

    Episode 36: The Politics of Drones and the Future of Germany’s Defense Policy

    Germany has dramatically increased its defense spending since the wake-up call of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine – the 2020 defense budget is 40% greater than just six years prior. Does Germany’s vision for its security and defense role match those expanded resources? On the one hand, the German government has agreed with France to push forward on the next generation of defense systems in the air, the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). On the other hand, political disagreements within Chancellor Merkel’s Grand Coalition government have recently prevented the Bundeswehr from acquiring armed unmanned air systems (“drones”) — the Social Democratic Party refused to agree to the acquisition, asserting a need for further deliberation. What does this difficulty indicate about Germany’s defense challenges and political-strategic culture?

    In this episode of The Zeitgeist, AICGS President Jeff Rathke discusses the impact and implications of this development with Dr. Ulrike Franke, one of Germany’s leading experts on the impact of new technologies on defense and a Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. How do SPD’s misgivings over drones reflect its leadership’s shift on defense policy? How do other mainstream German parties including the Greens and the Christian Democratic Union see the use of armed drones? How will this affect Germany’s international relationships, including with France on the Future Combat Air System, in which armed unmanned systems will be an integral part? Will a new governing coalition in Germany after the upcoming federal election boost the country’s ability to modernize its defense policy and adapt to the changing way of war?



    Host

    Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS

    Guests

    Ulrike Franke, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

    • 34 min
    The Christian Democratic Union after Merkel: the Race for CDU Chairmanship and the 2021 Federal Election

    The Christian Democratic Union after Merkel: the Race for CDU Chairmanship and the 2021 Federal Election

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not stand for re-election when voters go to the polls on September 26, 2021. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is one of the most successful political parties in post-war Europe, and recent surveys of German public opinion show the CDU 15-20 percentage points ahead of its nearest rivals. Chancellor Merkel has been in power since 2005, making her the second longest-serving chancellor in post-war Germany. After the election, Germany will have not only a new chancellor, but likely also a different governing coalition. As her departure nears, Merkel’s legacy casts a long shadow over the CDU and the German political landscape.

    On this episode of The Zeitgeist, Jeff Rathke talks with Simon Schütz, journalist and AICGS non-resident fellow, about the race for the Chairmanship of the CDU and what the result could mean for the federal election in 2021. Will a new leader be able to maintain the CDU’s edge over its rivals? What could the next coalition look like? And what effect could a change in German leadership have on foreign and domestic policy?



    Host

    Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS

    Guests

    Simon Schütz, Journalist and AICGS Non-Resident Fellow

    • 36 min
    Berlin Wall: The View from the West

    Berlin Wall: The View from the West

    What happened in Berlin to make the fall of the Wall possible? And how did Western city officials react?

    • 29 min
    The German Approach to China and the Indo-Pacific

    The German Approach to China and the Indo-Pacific

    Amb. Petra Sigmund joins Jeff Rathke to talk about the German government’s vision for its relationship with China.

    • 42 min

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13 Ratings

13 Ratings

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