President Barack Obama has arrived in Germany amid speculation that the brevity of the visit reflects a simmering row between Washington and Berlin. Squeezed in the middle of his trips to Egypt and France, and ignoring the German capital, the US president’s schedule focuses on the city of Dresden which was almost destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945.
Although there will be a brief meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, German requests for a more public address, a walk about in the now re- built modern city and the hope that Obama would include a more extensive round of talks were all refused. It is mooted that the US is disappointed over German criticism of its handling of the economic crisis, Berlin’s lack of commitment to the Afghan war effort and a reluctance to take in Guantanamo inmates. Obama will be visiting Buchenwald concentration camp and calling in at a military hospital treating US soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president is in effect at the start of a short World War Two memorial tour which culminates on Saturday at the 65th anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy.