During the Trump administration, few places have recoiled with as much horror as Germany, once a vital friend that the White House now berates with open hostility.
But anyone hoping the U.S. presidential election in November would quickly reverse years of turmoil with Germany may be sorely disappointed, according to former U.S. diplomats, and officials and analysts in Berlin.
Trump has steered the transatlantic alliance into its worst crisis since World War II, these experts agree. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, may be unable or unwilling to turn back the clock to the more cordial days of 2016, when he was vice president.
"If Biden wins, everybody's going to cheer and say everything's wonderful," said John C. Kornblum, U.S. ambassador to Germany under President Bill Clinton. "But compared with 2016, he will be dealing with an entirely different world of issues and problems — and they aren't going to be solved just by him being nice."
Nevertheless, the U.S. election presents two drastically different visions of German's future.
Trump is about as unpopular there as anywhere on the planet. Many fear that if he is re-elected, he would not only trash what's left of Berlin's ties with Washington but deal a death blow to the concept of the West itself.
"This is the most important U.S. election in the history of Germany," said John M. Koenig, who led the Berlin embassy as chargé d'affaires for a year under President Barack Obama. "This means almost as much to the future of Germany as it does to the U.S."
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