West Germany: Old Anxieties

Washington and Bonn at odds

The U.S. is indecisive and unpredictable. The President rarely consults his allies, and when he makes a major foreign policy decision he ignores their sensibilities. That, during most of Jimmy Carter's tenure in the White House, was the plaintive refrain from Bonn. It was why West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, though personally uncomfortable with Ronald Reagan's conservatism, welcomed the change in U.S. leadership. Is Schmidt satisfied now? Well, not really. One of the reasons, paradoxically, is that Reagan is displaying some of the firmness that Carter lacked, but it is not the kind that Bonn...

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