WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – Foreign policy experts are calling for the EU’s concerted effort in opposition to a future USA governed by Donald Trump. According to the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a unified European stance is necessary to increase “leverage” over Washington. If the US President-elect ignores Europe’s interests, Europe should consider going its own way in global policies, writes a German author in the leading US foreign policy periodical. It may be necessary “to consider whether to develop a European nuclear umbrella.” These demands began to be heard after liberal Western media and members of the foreign policy establishment had declared Merkel the new “leader of the free world,” and characterized outgoing US President Barack Obama’s visit to Germany as “passing the baton” to Berlin. The Federal Republic of Germany is setting out to take on “America’s status as torchbearer of liberal democracy.” “It is befitting for Merkel to speak in the name of what we have been calling the West, for the past seven decades,” according to the business press. Journalists describe the predominant attitude in Berlin already as being “the guardians of the international post-war order.”
“Leader of the Free World”
Passing the Baton
Merkel’s willingness to enter confrontation with Trump is being widely praised among the liberal establishment on both shores of the Atlantic; while outgoing US President Barack Obama’s visit to Berlin is now being interpreted as a “passing of the baton” to the new “leader of the liberal West.” “There are “other liberal leaders in Europe,” says Daniel Hamilton, executive director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, but Merkel is “the most prominent.” London’s Financial Times alleges that Germany sees itself as “the guardian of the postwar international order” so disdained by Mr. Trump. The German capital has also showed a “resolve” to refuse to pay fealty to the future president, if necessary. “It falls to Ms Merkel to speak for what during the past seven decades we have known as the west,” the journal writes. The Guardian notes that, Germany may struggle to assume “America’s status as the torchbearer for liberal democracy.”
Germany’s promotion – verbally at the moment – to become the “liberal West’s” leading power, comes at a delicate moment for Berlin. The clout of EU’s armed forces is not yet sufficient to seek global leadership – particularly following the imminent British withdrawal. In addition, the EU has been riddled with serious crises, with no solutions in sight. Berlin is trying to consolidate the European Union with large-scale military projects, thereby laying the groundwork for a more aggressive global policy. Politicians in Brussels are already speaking in terms of a “Superpower Europe.” (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) Berlin is pleading for a leading role in the West, while calling on the EU to finally close ranks and on the USA not to stand in Germany’s way. Merkel is “absolutely decided, willing and ready to help strengthen the international liberal order,” according to Norbert Roettgen, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag. However, “this is only possible, if we cooperate in Europe and if the transatlantic alliance supports us.” The West must be “reinvented.” Even though “the chancellor” is “a cornerstone of the Western political concept by acting as a global player,” however, “US participation and support” are necessary.
German-European think-tanks have already begun to give their advice in the struggle for leadership. In his article for the main US foreign policy magazine “Foreign Affairs,” the Director of Berlin’s Global Public Policy Institute, Thorsten Benner, wrote that in addition to the normal government contacts, Berlin should deepen its ties with Republicans in the U.S. Congress, who, to a certain degree, can control Trump’s foreign policy. If Trump is determined to undo key multilateral agreements, Europe can signal that it is prepared to go its own way. To “protect the West’s reputation,” one must expose “abuses of liberal democratic principles, including those committed by the United States.” If Trump proves serious about abandoning U.S. defense guarantees, “European states may be compelled to rethink their nuclear postures.” “Berlin will need to consider whether to develop a European nuclear umbrella based on French and British capabilities.” The article does not expound on whether French nuclear arms will be sufficient once Britain withdraws, or if other countries, which do not yet have nuclear weapons, would have to contribute.