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The below paragraph appears in today's article “Obama über Trump: ‘Letzten Endes ist er pragmatisch’” from Der Spiegel:

Trump hatte im Wahlkampf die Nato-Beziehungen mehrfach infrage gestellt. Obama versuchte nun, zu beruhigen: Er sei zuversichtlich, dass es keine Abschwächung in den Binnenbeziehungen des Militärbündnisses gebe, sagte er in Washington. Und: Trump habe im Gespräch großes Interesse am Erhalt der strategischen Kernbeziehungen geäußert.

In the italicized portion of the second sentence gebe is used to convey the future tense – this is clear from the context (the point of the sentence is not that there is no weakening of the relationships among the NATO members now, when Obama is still president, but that there will be no such weakening, of which Obama is sure, after Donald Trump has been sworn in as president of the USA in January 2017).

But grammatically, would it not be better to use geben werde to convey the future tense in place of gebe? And is gebe at all suited to convey the future tense in Konjuktiv I?

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    Or maybe "geben solle" – Beta Nov 15 '16 at 20:57
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Using the present tense for geben is a typical futuristic present. The fact that the entire indirected speech is in the subjunctive mood is entirely independent of this.

So, if Obama’s statement were reported in direct speech, it could have been:

Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass es keine Abschwächung in den Binnenbeziehungen des Militärbündnisses gibt.

This already uses the futuristic present. As the article uses indirect speech, this entire statement is put into the subjunctive mood.

But grammatically, would it not be better to use geben werde to convey the future tense in place of gebe? And is gebe at all suited to convey the future tense in Konjuktiv I?

Using geben werde would have been fine and certainly clearer, but using gebe is as valid as the futuristic present in general, which is the predominant way to express future events in the German language.

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    I like to add German present tense can always mean future events when there isn't a modal particle as gerade inserted. This is quite the opposite from the English use, where the progressive form may be used for futuristic present, too. – Janka Nov 15 '16 at 22:32
  • @Wrzlprmft Just to clarify: Are you saying that "Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass es keine Abschwächung in den Binnenbeziehungen des Militärbündnisses gibt." can mean both the present and the future, depending on the context? Under some other imaginary circumstances Obama could have well been saying that "there IS no weakening...". But in this particular situation he's, of course, saying "there WILL BE no weakening..." And the sentence you provide can mean both, depending on context, right?? – Eugene Str. Nov 15 '16 at 23:00
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    @EugeneStr.: Yes. A sidenote: But in this particular situation he's, of course, saying "there WILL BE no weakening..." – I don’t know the original quote but since English also has the futurustic present, it is conceivable that Obama said “there is no weakening” in the given context. – Wrzlprmft Nov 16 '16 at 6:44
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While some languages (e.g. French) strictly require future tenses for anything concerning the future, German does not. In fact, in most contexts the information ‘something is happening in the future’ is given by other words, by the meaning of the sentence as a whole, etc. In these cases, using a werden to indicate future tense is perceived as superfluous and the future tense marker is often omitted.

Wir gehen morgen ins Kino. (Morgen as the future context giver.)

Es gibt Bierbraten zum Abendessen. (The entire sentence giving future context.)

Der Winter kommt. (Simply doesn’t make sense in present tense unless Winter is a person.)

Likewise, it is very hard to interpret whatever Obama said as being presently happening. Thus, it automatically becomes a future-like interpretation rendering all further future markers superfluous. This of course carries over into subjunctive usage and a mere gebe is used rather than the logically correct (but not necessarily idiomatic) geben werde.

There is no difference in the ability of a verb to convey future, whether it is in indicative or subjunctive mood.

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