Hello from Deutschland! The G20 summit is happening today and tomorrow in Hamburg and I happen to have just arrived in Berlin, Germany. Between the jet lag and getting settled into my new place, it’s been kind of a hectic week.
I will be here for the next year as I am a 2017-2018 Bosch Fellow. Each year, the Robert Bosch Stiftung (a private European foundation) selects 15-16 mid-career Americans to bring to Germany to learn more about the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and Germany. I’ll be here for the next year studying German, learning about German government and institutions, and helping strengthen ties between the U.S. and Germany. (If you know someone who might be interested in this sort of program — please pass along the link to the application process! Next year’s application closes in November.)
It’s a heck of a time to be here! I hadn’t even get off the plane when a German let me know her thoughts on the current administration. “I’ve lost respect for America,” she said.
I guess that bluntness cultural difference is accurate.
However, I’ve also been encouraged by how much I have heard from Germans and those connected to the German government in regards to learning more about Middle America. (I hope I’m a good ambassador for flyover country over the next year!)
The G20: Hamburg
The G20 begins today in Hamburg. The “Group of 20” is the meeting of the 20 largest world economies. A press officer from India’s government had this great graphic explaining who makes up the G20:
I kept seeing on the news the location of Donald Trump’s “villa.” I didn’t realize until today that he is staying in the German Senate Guest House because, according to Buzzfeed, his staff forgot to book a hotel.
The G20 is definitely being framed as a showdown between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Trump. The New York Times has an interesting piece entitled “Merkel knows she has to deal with Trump, the question is how?”
I think the situation between our countries is much more nuanced than that. From what I have heard here, Trump and Merkel are talking just as much as previous presidents. Several high level cabinet members have already been to Berlin. I think one of the interesting things to watch will be governments, like Germany, going “around” Trump. As in, contacting cabinet leaders, state governors and city mayors.
Protests last night in Hamburg turned violent with protestors throwing rocks and bottles and at least two cars were burned. A lot of the news coverage has been on the violent parts of the protest – which are certainly an issue and has focused on the anti-globalists. However, I was watching German 24-hour news coverage last night and it seems there were also some peaceful protests involving anti-war/anti-nuclear protests. One was a dance rave and another appeared to be a “yoga for peace” demonstration. My German is still a little shakey, but it seems a majority of the coverage is dedicated to covering the police response. The Berliner Zeitung seems to have a list of all of the protests happening — some which are BYOB. (You’ll need to hit the “translate to English” button in your Chrome browser if you don’t speak German.)
There also was a “Global Citizen” concert last night featuring Coldplay and Andreas Bourani — famous for this catchy German pop song which roughly translates to “Here’s to us”:
Here are some good German outlets to follow who have English language versions:
The Kansas City Star has a write-up about Senator Jerry Moran’s town hall. So does Politico. From what I’ve read online and on Twitter, it seems like it was a very positive experience for all involved.
Politico also has a story about Claire McCaskill’s town hall as well.
Finally, I treated myself to the “illegal in the U.S. because the toys are too small” German Kinder Egg. (Germans find it rather perplexing that these are illegal in the U.S., but that guns are legal.) Here’s my unwrapping of the candy:
Note: Deutsche Welle reports an adjusted version should soon be available for sale in the U.S.
Happy Friday, All!