Panting into the cold night air, the Berlin Thunderbirds are training hard, steam rising from their helmets and padded shoulders.
American sport, culture and, many would say, values pump through the veins of Germany. Which is why numerous people here – including the players tackling one another with enthusiasm – also are keeping an in depth eye on the upcoming US presidential election. “You’re quite sort of a bystander,” says Christoph, a quarterback. “You haven’t any influence but within the end it does influence you.” to walk under reddening trees through the tiny market which stands on Berlin’s Kennedy Platz is to urge a glimpse of how closely Germany and America are bound, how deeply rooted the transatlantic relationship. Beyond the stalls full of pumpkins and flowers, looms the impressive stone edifice of Rathaus Schoeneberg where, nearly 60 years ago, John F Kennedy told a wildly cheering crowd packed deep into the neighboring streets, “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”). Ute, who was a toddler at the time, pauses as she buys fruit to elucidate why today there’s so little enthusiasm among Germans for the present American commander-in-chief. “For my generation – born after the second war – Americans were an excellent example of freedom and democracy. That’s ended with Trump.”
President Trump – who once claimed he’d charmed Angela Merkel – remains deeply unpopular in Germany. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that Germany rates the US president particularly unfavorably.
For her part, the German chancellor has never warmed to President Trump’s style or his politics. She was openly dismayed by his dismissive attitude towards NATO, his withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate change, and his rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement. A simple guide to the US election How is Donald Trump doing in the polls?
The lack of personal chemistry between the leaders has been in stark contrast to the relationship Mrs. Merkel developed with Barack Obama. It’s no secret in Berlin that the government has struggled to replicate the same level of co-operation with the Trump administration. But Mrs. Merkel won’t be dealing with the White House for much longer. Germany is looking ahead to its own significant election. Norbert Roentgen, who chairs the German foreign affairs committee, is one among the candidates hoping to exchange Mrs. Merkel when she stands down next year. “The four years of the Trump presidency have meant that everything, very fundamentally, has been called into question. The very existence of NATO, the predictability folks policy . it’s been an interruption which we’ve not seen since war Two.” What’s happening within the Merkel-Trump G7 photo? What does the US contribute to NATO in Europe
He, like many in Berlin, fears that another term for President Trump could do irreparable damage to the transatlantic relationship. “We are concerned. I’m totally convinced that the prospect of another four years wouldn’t only mean that we’re getting to see more of an equivalent , but I’m quite certain we might see an acceleration of everything we’ve experienced. “Because then President Trump wouldn’t be under the pressure to be re-elected. He would be unshackled.”