By Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center
Special to Foreign Policy
Not since the end of the Cold War have U.S-German relations loomed so large in international affairs. Ongoing Russian intervention in Ukraine has been met with U.S. and European economic sanctions against Moscow. But Germany’s geographic proximity and commercial ties to Russia give Berlin and Washington different stakes in the confrontation. With NATO warning of a new Russian buildup in Ukraine and the approaching European Union decision in July on whether to continue its sanctions, there is an ever-present specter of a split in NATO over the long-term trajectory of the alliance’s dealings with Russia.
The centrality of the U.S.-German relationship in dealing with Russia was underscored by the back-to-back meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10 followed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on May 12.
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