EAST TEXAS (KLTV / KTRE) – With a new administration in the White House and the upcoming election of a new Chancellor in Germany, comes a natural reset in transatlantic relations.

While elections ultimately dictate short-term politics, cultural and historical ties between nations are less affected by politics.

Three East Texas residents with personal ties to Germany share their views on why this bilateral relationship should be viewed with greater significance.


Joseph Conflitti, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon at UT Health East Texas. Born to a German mother and an American father, he grew up in Fredericksburg, a community in central Texas known for its German heritage. As part of his professional studies, Dr Conflitti completed a fellowship at the Charite Hospital and Clinic in Berlin, Germany.

“Germany is such a powerful economic presence in the world and has been for some time. And they are also a democratic society like us. And that is why we are linked. They are hard working people, just like us. They are family oriented people and they want the best for their family just like us. I think it’s a really easy connection. And probably the majority of people in East Texas have an ethnic relationship with them. So it’s really kind of a family story for a lot of people. Even if you think you are Texan, you probably have some German in you. I think that’s one of the reasons, ”said Dr Conflitti.

“The other is economically that we get a lot from them and support each other. One trip I took, which was really cool was that I went to the Porsche factory there … and right next door was the Mercedes Benz factory. So there you say, “How many Mercedes Benz are here? And all the technology they’re helping with, I’m sure you’re using that today, which they helped develop. And all the precision manufacturing that was there. I think that’s one of the big reasons. But more than the economics, I’m sure most people have an ethnic connection to Germany.


Mareike Gay is a nurse practitioner in Sabine County. A German citizen, she grew up in northern Germany and came to the United States in 2002 to pursue her career in nursing and emergency medicine. Gay is married to an American and their family resides in Hemphill.

She says that differences in education systems have a big influence on how others view the world.

“In Europe, we are exposed to all of Europe, not just Germany. Americans are not diversifying in their thinking about what is going on in the world, politically, or any other topic related to the issue. I don’t know if they think they don’t need to know it or if they don’t learn as much in school about other counties. And I think that’s where it starts, in my opinion. I don’t know why but I think they should know what’s going on in the world because things are bad in all countries. Not just COVID-19, but everything in between. We have to support each other in anything.

Gay says she has also noticed differences in media consumption.

“When I was in Germany, I watched certain news channels. We receive news from all over the world. And there it is hard. You don’t get as much information about the challenges and challenges in each country. So it’s a loss for people to make them understand what’s going on in the world and maybe how it could impact America as well. “


District 19 representative James White (R-Hillister) represents Polk, Tyler, Jasper and Newton counties at Texas House. An infantry officer in the US Army, he was stationed with the Berlin Brigade in Germany from 1987 to 1990, at the height of the Cold War.

“Germany is one of them, a major economic trading partner for us. Many of our wood products are marketed with Germany. We have a cultural connection with Germany. Many East Texans are of German descent. Our best and brightest young men and women end up serving in Germany. It is a major ally of the United States. And you know, sometimes the allies don’t agree. Its good. I was in favor of what President Trump was considering, not necessarily severing our ties with Germany, absolutely not. Geographically, they are at a very critical location, a very strategic location in Central Europe. But with threats in different parts of Europe and different parts of the world, we need to look at our realignment of our forces. Maybe we have to keep some in Germany, but at the same time we have other national interests in other places. And what does it look like? So that’s one of the reasons, ”he said.

“And I’m just thinking of the current events of this demotion that we have done outside of Afghanistan. We are not conquered as a country. We are not conquering a country. We generally fight for the freedoms of others and we see this in our national interest. The unfortunate unfolding of the incidents in Afghanistan. Our national interest is centered on having allies and having strong allies on the Asian continent, on the Eurasian continent, in Europe, in South America, in Central America. Where we don’t have these strong allies, freedom doesn’t prevail and our national interests tend not to prevail, ”White said.

“The lesson is that as long as we don’t support our allies, we don’t think about how we disengage from countries, this can have serious ramifications for our national prestige, national interests and the future. , how we are perceived by other countries.

A new era in world politics begins as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s longest-serving elected leader, prepares to step down after more than 15 years.(KLTV / KTRE)

KLTV & KTRE presenter Lane Luckie covers the federal elections in Germany, which will determine the successor of longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel. Click here for more coverage of the impact it will have on relations with one of the United States’ closest allies.

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