What is the oldest face sculpture

Friday February 13, 2009

America is certainly the "Mecca" of think tanks, as one of the oldest "think tanks", the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., was founded in 1916. founded. One of the best known today is the Rand Corporation, founded in 1948.

The term think tank also comes from this time. It is estimated that there are currently around 4,500 of these organizations, half of which were not established until after 1980. The SP09 visited one of these think tanks on the fourth day of its trip to the USA. As part of an expert panel, the topic of "Non-Proliferation, Disarmament and Arms Control, Missile Defense Shield and Iran" was discussed at the Stimson Center (named after Henry Lewis Stimson, US Secretary of State 1929-1933 under US President Herbert Hoover).

In addition to numerous scientists, think tanks also contain many former representatives from previous governments who, “waiting for a new election”, develop concepts and ideas for a renewed appointment to a political office. The Americans self-ironically call this “running for appointment”. The advantage of such think tanks is undoubtedly the fact that experts from different areas meet there and have the opportunity to work “outside the box”. Not being involved in day-to-day political business and thus also in dependencies has a liberating effect on the development of ideas, concepts and strategies for overcoming challenges.

One of the challenges to be solved is the question of the future with regard to the START II treaties, which expired at the end of 2007, which was ratified by DUMA in 2000, but never officially came into force due to the termination of the ABM treaty by the Americans in 2002. The SORT (Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty) concluded between Bush and Putin in 2001 instead of Start III, which, contrary to the START treaties, relate to deployable, non-stored warheads and not to delivery systems, and which contain neither a detailed schedule nor verification mechanisms, also need to be further developed.

Here the new president - and that also in his speech in front of the Victory Column in Berlin - has already formulated goals. In addition to reducing bombers and carrier systems, he wants a system that simplifies the existing rules in the SALT contracts in order to achieve real reductions. The main point of discussion is likely to be the ABM treaty, which was unilaterally terminated by the USA and made a condition by Russia. Probably no solution can be expected before December 2009 and it is to be expected that the existing agreements will initially be fixed for a further 5 years. It remains to be seen to what extent both sides will converge in their positions on missile defense and the combined radar system intended by the Americans for the Czech Republic and the missile defense system in Poland.

In this context, the think tanks naturally also deal with the topic of Iran. Various currents can currently be identified, those of the ideologues, those of the reformers and those of the pragmatists. Depending on which forces come into play there, the future relationship with those in power will also develop. The last twenty years have been characterized by very changeable developments in this regard. Sometimes back, sometimes sideways, sometimes forwards. The new US administration has already signaled the importance of diplomacy for improving relations. After June you will see how this offer will develop. Certainly this will not lead directly to the establishment of bilateral relations, but the signal of willingness to talk is a first offer to break the ice between the actors.

The further program then took the delegation to the State Department of the United States. One week after the visit of the German Foreign Minister to his counterpart Hillary Clinton, the participants of the SP09 were able to discuss questions of German-American and European cooperation with representatives of the Foreign Ministry.

Of course, especially the transatlantic relationship and the improvement of the relationship, which had cooled down somewhat under the previous government in recent years, were the subject of the talks. Here, too - and I have already mentioned this several times in the travel report - the "wind of change" seems to have quickly taken hold and to be linked to high expectations on both sides. The aim is to “overcome the substantial and process-related differing views of the last few years”, says Claire Pierangelo, the responsible director of the Central Europe department. This of course includes the relationship with Russia, so that Vice President Biden should take place in a committed, cooperative manner and with the involvement of the NATO partners. "Press the reset button in Russia relations," said Vice President Biden at this year's Munich Security Conference. It is precisely at this point that the new line of thought of the American government becomes apparent - or at least the will to shape common challenges in a cooperative manner and taking into account other perspectives than the American one. There will therefore no longer be a separation between old and new Europe in the future. The new administration is determined to start the necessary dialogue. Past engagement was neither structured nor systematic in this regard.

Of course, many individual measures are necessary for this. The representatives of the Foreign Ministry also see it this way and have high expectations, particularly of the upcoming NATO summit in April. In addition to the need to deal with a strategic concept for the alliance that is adapted to the challenges, particular importance is attached to the success of the alliance in Afghanistan. Recognizing that it is not the military focus, but rather only a holistic and comprehensive approach that seems to promise success in Afghanistan, the Americans are turning to a European view of things. Germany, as the engine for the networked holistic approach, is a key partner for the alliance, according to representatives of the Foreign Ministry.

The Americans also describe the European efforts with regard to the further development of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) as profitable and fruitful for the relationship with the United States. Efficient and close cooperation on these issues will also deliver results from which all parties can benefit. The aim must be to come to jointly accepted decisions in the individual committees, instead of arguing without result about the decisions made in each case. Joint consultations and talks and the prominent importance of diplomatic relations are of great importance. A new climate can already be felt here and an improvement in cooperation can be seen. The general trend is positive - also and especially with countries whose relationship with America was considered to be rather burdensome.

Whether North Korea, the relationship with China, the Taiwan question or even Iran. There is growing awareness that, despite all the differences in the assessment of factual issues, only a policy oriented towards sustainable solutions for both sides will be promising. Of course, the topic of the peace process in the Near and Middle East could not be left out.

The Americans are ready to take on a leadership role in dealing with the conflict if necessary and are hoping for the help of other nations, not least the other members of the Middle East Quartet, to implement the road map. After this information-rich day, there was a final meeting with the German Ambassador in Washington D.C., Dr. Klaus Scharioth, on the program.

A better date for this conversation at the end of the travel week in Washington D.C. the organizers of the trip could not have chosen. Ambassador Dr. In his lecture, Scharioth summarized the most important objectives of the new US administration from a German point of view and thus enabled the seminar participants to reflect on the diverse impressions and information of the past few days. The following eight topics are at the center of the future work of the new president and his government team:

  1. The current financial and economic crisis as the currently dominating challenge. The number of unemployed, which has risen by 3.6 million in the last twelve months, including 1.3 million in the last six months and another two million expected in the next two months, roughly shows the dimensions of the crisis. The "stimulus package" approved after much discussion of nearly US $ 780 billion for the next 10 years and the associated jump in the budget deficit will initially put a strain on it before it will have its hopefully positive effects.
  2. A concept for a sustainable climate and energy policy with a focus on renewable energies, especially solar and wind, should be completed by December 2009. Contrary to the past, the USA wants to take a leading role at the next climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Unlike his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, Obama will only discuss his ideas in Congress in order to enter the negotiations with agreed positions that can also be enforced in America.
  3. The question of disarmament, mentioned elsewhere in the travelogue, is another topic on the agenda of the new president. The aim here, albeit probably only in small steps, is the further reduction of nuclear weapons and, in addition, rapprochement with regard to the treaties concluded with Russia.
  4. One of the first measures by directive order, the order to close Guantanamo by the end of 2009 at the latest, has received widespread recognition. So the goal has been formulated - the only question now is how to get there and which questions need to be answered in order to fulfill the assignment.
  5. The subject of Iran and the offer for talks last made in Munich give hope that the situation will improve, even though the Iranian foreign minister's reaction at the conference was cautious.Whether the first talks take place before or after the election is up to the president to decide.
  6. Another dominant topic is still the situation and development in Afghanistan. The intention to move from a purely military approach to a comprehensive and networked approach while contributing to efforts to build, expand and stabilize a viable government for the whole of Afghanistan and to the process of “winning hearts and minds” is encouraging. All of this is to be done in close cooperation with the Allies and is renewed evidence of the new way of thinking in the White House.
  7. Obama's letter to the Russian President and his offer to “put all topics on the table” is an expression of the statement made by Vice President Biden in Munich to “press the reset button”. A first practical step on the part of the Russians is the declaration of intent not to station any Iskander missiles (SS 26 stone) in Kaleningrad.
  8. And not to forget the aforementioned topic of the Middle East Peace Process, in which America wants to build up pressure on both sides to restart the “paralyzed process”. To do this, however, a viable government must first be constituted in Israel.

The “Washington Week” ended with this informative lecture and the Amtrak Acela Express 2220 drove the following day from Washington D.C. after visiting a number of museums such as the Air and Space Museum or the National Gallery. to New York the second stop of this year's USA trip of the SP09.