Make Europe Great Again

WASHINGTON/BERLIN |

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"

Already in the morning of November 9, when Donald Trump's election victory was announced, the Head Editor of "Zeit Magazine," Christoph Amend, twittered Chancellor Angela Merkel's revaluation to "Leader of the Free World." By November 11, the publicist Timothy Garton Ash expressed his agreement with this assessment in the British Guardian, noting that this designation is usually reserved for the president of the United States, but now it belongs to the German Chancellor.[1] On November 12, the New York Times ran the headline, "Angela Merkel May Be the Liberal West's Last Defender."[2] The revaluation of the German chancellor is usually based on the fact that already November 9, Merkel had conditionally offered Trump a continuation of cooperation - only on the basis of "common values." This statement was provoked astonishment around the world.[3] Foreign policy circles note that it is customary for Washington to place its cooperation with Latin American countries on the "conditions," that "values" be respected. So far, however, no head of the German government has dared to put conditions on its cooperation with Washington. The German Chancellor is now openly defying the USA, according to these foreign policy circles.

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."[4] 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.[5] The Guardian notes that, Germany may struggle to assume "America's status as the torchbearer for liberal democracy."[6]

Global Player

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.[7]) 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.[8]

Own Way

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.[9] 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.

Leverage

However, there is a consensus that Germany has to "ensure a unified European stance toward the United States."[10] This is necessary "to increase leverage over the US," according to a short analyses published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).[11] Even the EU's "most Trump-like leaders will find it harder to defend their national interests if they try to go it alone," the analysis continues. "To survive in Trump's world, they should try to make Europe great again."

For more on this subject see: An Essential Part of the West and Superpower Europe.

[1] Timothy Garton Ash: Populists are out to divide us. They must be stopped. www.theguardian.com 11.11.2016.
[2] Alison Smale, Steven Erlanger: As Obama Exits World Stage, Angela Merkel May Be the Liberal West's Last Defender. www.nytimes.com 12.11.2016.
[3] See An Essential Part of the West.
[4] Arne Delfs: Europe's reluctant leader inherits the world in age of Trump. www.chicagotribune.com 15.11.2016.
[5] Philip Stevens: Now Angela Merkel wears the west's mantle. www.ft.com 17.11.2016.
[6] Philip Oltermann: Germany daunted by great expectations as Obama passes baton to Merkel. www.theguardian.com 17.11.2016.
[7] See Superpower Europe.
[8] Merkel will sich erklären - erneute Kandidatur erwartet. www.heute.de 20.11.2016.
[9], [10] Thorsten Benner: Germany Can Protect the Liberal Order. www.foreignaffairs.com 16.11.2016.
[11] Mark Leonard: Europe, Alone in Trump's World. ww.ecfr.eu 09.11.2016.