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A diminished presidency

If the money isn’t talking, no one’s walking. Can the Republicans block Barack Obama's foreign policy initiatives?

The Republican majority in Congress will affect Obama’s foreign policy too

By Martin Klingst

November 14, 2014

On Nov. 4, Barack Obama’s Democrats lost control of the Senate. In the mid-term elections, the Republicans also boosted their majority in the House of Representatives. The conservatives now have a majority in both houses of Congress. What will that mean for the foreign policy of the 44th President of the United States?

Practically nothing, according to conventional wisdom. The power shift is very bad news, we are told, mainly for Obama’s domestic agenda, chiefly the survival of his health care package and planned immigration reform. Foreign policy would remain largely untouched. During his last two years in office, the constitution and America’s political traditions will give the congressional majority little chance to leave its mark there.

As evidence, analysts point to Obama’s predecessors in office. Facing a hostile Congress, many sought their salvation in foreign policy. They climbed aboard Air Force One and jetted restlessly around the globe, from one crisis zone to another, from one mediation effort to the next, from state visit to state visit. Some achieved great things along the way and secured their places in the history books.

Read more: A diminished presidency

 

‘We need this free trade pact’

If the EU and US don’t set the standards, China will

By Elmar Brok

November 14, 2014

The EU and US are each other’s closest partners, both economically and politically. Yet our partnership needs more than continuity to thrive. The TTIP free trade pact is a unique opportunity of strategic dimensions, both economic and geopolitical. Together, the EU and US account for 57 percent of global GDP with 11 percent of the world’s population.

Our mutual economic clout permits us to maintain high standards, in goods and services, social welfare and consumer protection. Yet we also face global competition. If we fail to cooperate, we cannot hope to defend our prosperity in the world.

This is why the EU and US must stand together with equal partners for common values such as the dignity of all people and all our common interests. The free trade agreement would help strengthen our position. In association with the US, we Europeans want to take part in shaping the global economy in the 21st century, instead of leaving the task to other actors such as China.

Read more: ‘We need this free trade pact’

   

A win for life

Shortly before he crossed the finish line, triathlete Sebastian Kienle took a moment to stop and celebrate.

The triathlete Sebastian Kienle has won the Ironman in Hawaii – German athletes are now outstripping the Americans in the world’s toughest race

By Frank Bachner

November 14, 2014

Nirvana kicked in 20 centimeters before the end. His muscles burned, his heart was racing, his exhausted body had only gotten this far on sheer will power. Just one more step, a single step, and it would all be over. He could flop down to the ground, like a marionette that had had its strings cut. But he didn’t take it.

Because by taking it, he would reach the high point of this sense of elation – and things would only go downhill from there. He wanted to prolong this climax, this feeling of thrashing it out to the very end. And that’s why Sebastian Kienle stayed put. 20 centimeters away from the finish line, surrounded by cheering fans and photographers taking one picture after another. A man whose gaunt face was etched with a haphazard jumble of pain, elation, exhaustion and relief: what a picture!

Then came the step, finally, the unsteady gesture of a lean body, and Sebastian Kienle from Bretten in southern Germany was officially part of a legend. He was now a true Ironman, ennobled by the victory on Hawaii. Only the one who wins on the world’s most famous triathlon course, who finishes the world’s toughest sports contest in first place, is a true Ironman.

A 2.4 miles sea swim, 112 miles cycling into a wind that can blow you right across the street, then a 26 miles and 385 yards marathon in intense heat through a landscape of volcanic rock – that is the Hawaii Ironman. “Winning there is the crowning glory of your career,” said Kienle. “No other race attracts such media attention. And of course in the end it all serves to bolster its iconic status.”

Read more: A win for life

 

Happy Birthday, Freedom!

Current Issue

Let’s drink a toast, let’s have a party, let’s light 25 torches of freedom! 25 years ago on November 9, the Wall that imprisoned Berlin died, and freedom was reborn.
This is a birthday party in print. You’re invited!

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