News / Europe

Euro Crisis Likely to Dominate Kerry's Talks in Berlin

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy (C) on arrival at Tegel International Airport in Berlin, February 25, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy (C) on arrival at Tegel International Airport in Berlin, February 25, 2013
Michael Scaturro
With the crisis in Syria topping his agenda, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Berlin late Monday on the second stop of his first foreign trip since taking over at the State Department.

His visit to Germany -- following his first stop in London -- will be short, but significant.  Kerry is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and, later, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. But the Syrian crisis will not be high on Lavrov's list of things to discuss with Kerry, said analyst Stefan Meister of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

"These deaths of Russian children in the United States will be the key issue in these meetings. It is very emotional right now in Russia," Meister said.

John Kerry's First Overseas Trip As Secretary of State

  • Traveling from February 24 to March 6
  • Visits Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar
  • Kerry has described the trip as a "listening tour"
  • Will meet with senior officials and leaders, as well as U.S. embassy staff
  • Talks will be wide-ranging, from Syria to missile defenses
According to Meister, the death last week of a three-year-old Russian boy, apparently at the hands of his adoptive American mother, has shelved all other issues in the U.S.-Russian relationship.  Meister thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is using the tragic event to score domestic political points. 

"The Russian leadership, the Putin regime in its third term, is very much under pressure.  His ratings are going down.  People are very unhappy with corruption and the end of any modernization in Russia.  And that is why the Putin regime uses foreign policy issues to gain legitimacy for its own system," he explains.

Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013
x
Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013
Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013
Meister said European policy makers see the U.S. "reset policy" towards Russia as effectively over ... but that what comes next is unclear.  He suggested lack of domestic interest in the Syria conflict also is stalling any Russian action.

"Nobody cares about Syria in Russia," he said. "This is not a topic there like it is in Western countries, where we see people dying on TV everyday."

As for Kerry's choice of Europe as his first stop, European Council on Foreign Relations Berlin-based analyst Olaf Boehnke said it is being viewed favorably in London and the German capital. 

"For the last 12 months, we had a debate on the 'pivot' to Asia, and what it means for Europe. And some of these complaints were emotional," said Boehnke. "Sort of like 'The United States fell out of love with Europe' - but now, by appointing Secretary of State Kerry, as well as Chuck Hagel, this was a clear signal towards Europe that we are not forgotten."

Boehnke said he thinks German policy makers were happy when they learned Kerry's second stop would be Berlin.  According to Boehnke, political commentators say Kerry's meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would likely include a discussion of the ongoing European economic crisis and reform efforts.

Kerry's 11-day tour includes visits to Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Karen Hudes
February 26, 2013 5:47 AM
As chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Kerry knows very well what will dominate Kerry's talks in Berlin: Germany is repatriating gold from the NY Federal Reserve because the US is defying the Bretton Woods Development Committee's (188 Ministers of Finance) efforts to bring the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development into compliance. As chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Kerry did the same thing by putting conditions on the US contribution to IBRD's capital increase. The World Bank's 188 country shareholders are required to correct IBRD's internal control lapses. For eight years Congress has been trying to increase integrity in oversight and accounting at IBRD and indeed in the international financial system itself. Did Kerry develop amnesia when he became Secretary of State?


by: Hal G Mayer from: Palm Springs, USA
February 26, 2013 12:20 AM
Yes, it is sad that a Russian boy, perhaps at the hands of his caretaker. It should not happen to anyone, Russian or not.

But the editors of this article are doing us all a dis-service by mentioning it. There are much more important matters to discuss between European government officials and the US Secretary of State.

Let's not stir things up where not necessary.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid