Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is Germany’s defense minister. Third, both America and Europe need to fully accept the realities of continued U.S. nuclear deterrence on the European continent. But on the eve of U.S. presidential elections, the German debate over the future of transatlantic relations is fractious. Why should it be impossible to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that gets rid of all tariffs and trade barriers between the two most important economic spaces in the world? We are in this together. Regardless of how deep our mutual frustrations sometimes may be — and regardless of who carries the day on November 3. This is especially important since the new global strategic map will ask Europeans to take on many more security challenges than before, especially in the wider European neighborhood. BERLIN — For people of my generation, the United States is, more than anything else, still the country of hope and horizons, of liberty and like-mindedness. In a world marked by increased power competition, the West will only be able to stand firm and succeed in defending its interests as long as it remains united. Europe remains dependent on U.S. military protection, both nuclear and conventional, but the U.S. will not be able to carry the banner of Western values alone. First of all, we need to continue the German (and European) military capability build-up that started five years ago and is increasingly bearing fruit. This is where the German defense debate will be the toughest. And that’s why, on this topic, we need to stay firmest. There is an overwhelming strategic need for strong transatlantic cooperation, both on our side in Europe, but also, I firmly believe, in Washington. There is no doubt in my mind that America needs Europe. The U.S.’s worth as a global power depends to a significant extent on whether its role as a protector of Europe remains credible. Given the coronavirus pandemic, which eats mercilessly into our budgets, this will be a very tough thing to get right. Germany‘s 2021 defense budget will see a slight increase over this year’s, despite COVID-19, and that is very good news. But the coming years will be tough. We must stay the course. Second, in order to give the West the joint economic firepower that it needs in today’s global competition over markets, rules, values, standards and influence, we should be ambitious about closing a U.S.-EU trade deal. Anti-American sentiment, which has always existed in our country alongside feelings of gratitude and closeness toward our ally, is on the rise and has become a notable force. Illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end: Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a security provider. But Europe must demonstrate to the U.S. that it’s not just a taker, but also a giver. We have to acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent. But at the same time, we must also realize that we need to spend and do a lot more to keep the peace, defend liberty, strengthen our values and reinforce the rules that we believe should be in force around the globe. Ahead of this historic presidential election, we must send a clear message to the U.S. that Europe stands ready to strengthen and defend our common Atlantic heritage. With an eye on another important election — Germany’s federal election in 2021 — let me therefore propose a set of policies that my own country, alongside its European partners, should pursue forcefully. Making a strong case for transatlantic relations these days is not always an easy undertaking — not only in Germany but also elsewhere in Europe. But the case must be made. For the U.S., this means that it needs to keep Europe under its nuclear umbrella for the foreseeable future. Germany, for its part, must urgently make the decision to stay inside NATO’s nuclear sharing program and assign the required budgetary and military assets quickly in order to remain a reliable nuclear partner. There is no real reason why Europeans should not be able to show more of a presence — and more muscle, when needed — in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Sahel. No other policy would give growth a bigger boost while also sending a clear signal to Beijing and across the globe that we stand ready to defend our values and our way of doing business.