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Josef Joffe

Articles by Josef Joffe

Sarkozy’s Conviction Is a Win for the Rule of Law

March 3, 2021

From France to America, democratic countries are affirming the fundamental principle of government by law, not by men (and women). That is the message of our time that should reassure the Cassandras who believe that despotism is on a roll.

HAMBURG – The harsh sentence handed down to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who was found guilty of influence peddling, confirms anew an ancient truth of politics. Even in the world’s most firmly entrenched democracies, corruption remains a curse.

The COVID Bubble

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Sarkozy’s Conviction Is a Win for the Rule of Law

Bertrand Guay/AFP

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Germany’s Empty Pipeline Logic

February 19, 2021

Although the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is only 100 miles from completion, the transformation of world energy markets since construction began implies that the project no longer makes economic sense. So why is German Chancellor Angela Merkel determined to see it through to the end?

HAMBURG – Nord Stream 2, the almost-finished pipeline running directly from Russia to Germany, is not really about securing cheap natural gas. It is about personal gain and these two countries’ national interest.

No Time to Waste

PS OnPoint

John Keatley 
Free to read

Impeachment’s Partisan Doom


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Merkel Minus Angela

January 18, 2021

Armin Laschet’s surprise victory in the CDU leadership contest makes him the front-runner to become Germany’s next chancellor, but it doesn’t guarantee him the job. Laschet will need to defeat Markus Söder, the ambitious and politically flexible leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party.

HAMBURG – The election of a European party leader – one of roughly 200 in the European Union – is normally not big news. But it is when the party is the strongest political force in the EU’s largest and richest country.

Merkel Minus Angela

Shan Yuqi/Xinhua via Getty Images

Saving America’s Public Pensions

PS OnPoint

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Who Will Succeed Merkel?

December 11, 2020

Germany’s Christian Democrats are poised to choose a new party leader, and that person is almost certain to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel when she steps down in September 2021. All three contenders must somehow distinguish themselves from their rivals while boldly campaigning for continuity.

HAMBURG – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has ruled the 71-year-old Federal Republic for a total of 50 years. When she steps down next fall after 16 years in office, it is safe to assume that another Christian Democrat will succeed her. Who will it be?

The Costs of Merkel’s Surrender to Hungarian and Polish Extortion

Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via

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Back to Liberal American Hegemony

November 12, 2020

Although Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election has been met with sighs of relief around the world, America’s European allies should not assume that its core strategic interests have changed. Still, Biden will bring a very different tone to US foreign policy, and, as the French say, it is the tone that makes the music.

HAMBURG – After four years of Donald Trump, his impending departure has sent hopes soaring. The Great Disruptor will be replaced by Joe Biden, an internationalist and institutionalist. He likes Europe and NATO, and, unlike Trump, he will treat America’s friends better than its traditional foes, including by honoring free trade. In the realm of security, he won’t clobber allies with threats

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Europe’s Futile Search for Franco-German Leadership

October 15, 2020

Recent foreign-policy differences have underlined the diverging interests of the European Union’s two most powerful member states. And even if France and Germany were to march in lockstep, a bloc of 27 states bound by a unanimity requirement will never be a strategic actor.

HAMBURG – For decades, France and Germany have been known as Europe’s ruling “tandem” or “couple,” even its “engine.” Together, they aimed to work to unify the continent. But, to pile up the metaphors, the French want to drive the jointly leased Euro-Porsche, while the Germans insist on rationing the gas money. As a long list of crises – from Belarus to Nagorno-Karabakh – now shows, the two countries are not following the same road map.

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