After a two-year break, the United States of America has an Ambassador in Germany again. Amy Gutmann arrived with a big delay. It was not her fault.
Berlin, February 18th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Not even the Republicans in Congress are denying Amy Gutmann’s qualification for the job as U.S. Ambassador to Germany. But they did delay her confirmation, for reasons that did not have to do with her. Now, the 72-year old political scientist and former President of the University of Pennsylvania, is here.
German Jewish Origin
Her nomination by President Joe Biden, whom she knows well, was announced on July 2nd, 2021. She immediately informed her colleagues and the students at ‘Penn’: “I cannot overstate what a meaningful and extraordinary honor it is to be nominated by the President for this important position of service to our country”, she wrote. “As the daughter of a German Jewish refugee, as a first-generation college graduate, and as a university leader devoted to advancing constitutional democracy, I am grateful beyond what any words can adequately express to President Biden for the faith he has placed in me to help represent America’s values and interests to one of our closest and most important European allies.” Nobody could have delivered a better wording.
Amy Gutmann’s father was a German Jew. In 1934, he had to leave Feuchtwangen, his Bavarian hometown, and flee Nazi Germany. The United States denied him asylum, which is why he went to India, where he set up a metal factory. During a trip to New York, he met his future wife Beatrice. A year later, today’s Ambassador Amy Gutmann was born.
She presented her credentials to Germany’s freshly reelected President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday. “I am honored to have presented my credentials to President Steinmeier today, and to be accredited as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany”, she stated afterwards. “I will begin my tenure as Ambassador by joining the U.S delegation to the Munich Security Conference.”
Professor Gutmann also announced she would go back to the United States briefly. “I am proud to be the first woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador in a unified Germany, and look forward to deepening the transatlantic relationship in the years to come”, she added.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump had sent Ambassador Richard Grenell to Berlin. His time in the German capital was not really easy, for anyone, including himself. From his perspective, the Germans did not play ball on too many issues, while they believed he behaved more like a bull in a china shop than like a diplomat. The relations between the German government and Grenell reflected that between former Chancellor Angela Merkel and Donald Trump.
With the Biden Administration, things improved substantially. In this regard, Amy Gutmann will have an easier job than Grenell. But there are still disagreements. One of them, it is about the North Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, might be resolved ‘automatically’ in the ongoing Ukraine crisis Russia is causing. The West’s response to any Russian invasion into Ukraine is the main subject of the Munich Security Conference Ambassador Gutmann is scheduled to attend.
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