In This Review

Amerikanische Wechselbäder
Amerikanische Wechselbäder
By Marion Gräfin Dönhoff
Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1983, 319 pp.

"America, hot and cold" would be a rough translation of the title of this collection of leading articles from Die Zeit, written over the last 32 years by Germany's foremost liberal editor and ever perspicacious observer. In the 1950s she celebrated America as a model; since 1971, she has viewed us with mounting apprehension, deploring especially the moralizing indecisiveness of President Carter and the harsh ideological stance of President Reagan. An Atlanticist and a friend of the United States, Marion Dönhoff is also committed to détente, or at least to a realistic policy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union that would seek to contain or reduce existing conflicts and the arms race. At bottom she sees U.S. foreign policy perpetually oscillating between messianic moralism and Realpolitik, as exemplified by Kissinger. These brilliantly written articles mirror America's travails as a world power and tell us much about ourselves and about European perceptions.