The End of the Western World (as we know it): German Responses to Global Challenges
Germany defines its foreign policy being based on two pillars: being a part of an integrated Europe and belonging to the Western World. For decades, America and Europe have remained closely connected politically, economically, and culturally. This close working relationship, however, now risks coming to an end, or getting substantially weakened. When asked to identify his "biggest foe globally right now," President Trump put the European Union on the list, along with China and Russia. Not only deeds but already words have far reaching consequences for Germany in a number of respects. The course addresses the question whether "The Western World" is coming to an end and discusses root causes and possible implications. As the course unfolds, we will cover a number of timely topics, including the future of NATO and why multilateralism matters, how an open society can survive the rising tide of populism, how migration is changing demographics and politics on both sides of the Atlantic, and the prospects for finding political solutions to climate change. We will even address German and European approaches to dealing with digitization and the protection of private data. The course will be discussion based, and include a number of illuminating studies; our goal is to increase students' understanding of the major challenges facing the decades-old American-European alliance and how Germany is dealing with them. Students will need no prior knowledge of Germany and the European Union. Knowledge of the American perspective is welcome but not required.