February 06, 2015

CNAS Press Note: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Visit to the White House

Washington, February 6 – In advance of Monday’s visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House, Center for a New American Security Senior Fellow Julianne Smith and Bacevich Fellow Jacob Stokes have written a new Press Note explaining what President Obama and Chancellor Merkel will discuss and what issues they need to address.
The full Press Note is below:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in Washington on Monday amid a sea of international challenges. During her most recent visit in May of last year, much of the conversation was focused on the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Germany, which had soured in the wake of the Snowden revelations. In addition to focusing on hot button issues like Russia and events in the Middle East, the Chancellor was seeking reassurances at the time that the U.S. would revisit surveillance practices that involved close allies like Germany.
This time the agenda will feel and look different. While Russia was no doubt part of prior deliberations, the West now faces an inflection point. With violence in eastern Ukraine on the rise and worries that efforts to forge a political settlement have failed, the West must decide where to go from here. Chancellor Merkel and French President François Hollande visited Kiev yesterday, and both will visit Moscow today. President Obama will want to hear firsthand Chancellor Merkel's insights from those trips. President Obama and Chancellor Merkel will then need to examine a menu of options that include ramping up sanctions, providing the Ukrainians with lethal assistance, and reinvigorating efforts to broker a ceasefire. All options carry risks.
Iran will also require the two leaders' attention. The U.S. Congress has decided to stand down on its push towards more sanctions for now. But pledges to return to that agenda in March give the West a fairly small window to make real progress in negotiations with Iran. The two leaders will also likely discuss counterterrorism cooperation in the wake of theCharlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
Finally, U.S. and European efforts to broker a transatlantic trade deal is yet another pressing topic. The Obama Administration essentially has one year left to make real progress on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Given the number of stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic that still need convincing, reaching a deal before Obama leaves office may prove difficult.
Ms. Smith and Mr. Stokes are available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at nurwitz@cnas.org or call 202-457-9409.


  • Jacob Stokes

    Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Jacob Stokes is a Senior Fellow for the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, where his work focuses on U.S.-China relations, Chinese foreign and military policy, East Asian ...

  • Julianne Smith

    Former Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Julianne (“Julie”) Smith is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy, where she coedits “Shadow Government.” She is also a senior advisor at WestExec Advisors, an adjunct senio...