The Economist observes the changes in diplomacy between Washington and Germany in the last several years, and anticipates stronger ties in the years ahead:

“Berlin is the new Paris,” says a senior American official; that is where the “tough conversations” now take place. The tone of opinion columns can be merciless. “Germany by itself has enough economic leverage with Iran” to stop it from enriching uranium, thundered a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Europe; but for mercenary reasons it is not using it.

Germany’s inhibitions are the product of history, trade and tensions within the grand coalition government, which awkwardly yokes Ms Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union to the Social Democratic Party (SPD). It does not help that Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an SPD leader and her main political rival, is also the foreign minister. Still, both think Germany has a special role in oiling the wheels of international diplomacy, serving the interests of its allies even if they do not always appreciate it.