How do US presidents talk?
Germany's picture of the US President : America is bigger than Donald Trump
Is that the ruse in history? She gives us Germans a US president who arouses disgust. And so confronts us with the insight of how much Trump moves in world politics and how little we do.
While the American judiciary is once again showing the world what depraved characters Donald Trump surrounded himself with on the way to the White House, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is calling for a “balanced partnership” with the USA, “in which we create a counterweight, where red lines be crossed, be exceeded, be passed". One could ask: Has the relationship not been balanced so far? Germany often takes opposing positions, from the Iraq war to climate policy.
Not the moment to break away from the US
Maas puts it in such a categorized way because the real problem is not the practiced US politics, but the contradiction between the pragmatic course of the government and the emotional way in which the public talks about Trump's America. Maas, like Chancellor Merkel, does not dare to counter the seductive fallacy that this is the moment to break away from the USA.
The US despisers got the president in Trump, about whom they gladly warned. He lies and manipulates. His campaign manager Paul Manafort has been in jail for several years. He evaded millions of dollars in taxes, kept secret accounts abroad, made a lot of money from propaganda about Russia. Trump's attorney Michael Cohen admits that he kept millions of dollars a secret from the tax, committed loan fraud - and, on Trump's instructions, paid hush money to a porn actress and a playboy girl who allegedly had affairs with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant in order to win the election to rescue. In doing so, he and the president would have broken the campaign finance laws.
Immediately, the hope germinates in Germany that now it will be dicey for Trump, perhaps impeachment threatens. This is typical of the small escapes into wishful thinking with which Germans have responded to Trump's election for a year and a half. Trump stays. According to constitutional tradition, a president cannot be charged with criminal charges during his term of office. The only option is impeachment, a political process that the House of Representatives initiates by majority vote and ends with impeachment if two thirds of the Senate vote in favor. It is unrealistic.
Making Europe more capable of acting
Yes, Trump is an imposition. But America is much bigger than him. Even under this president, the USA will remain an irreplaceable partner for Europe. French President Macron said this unabashedly. Why don't Merkel and Maas say it just as clearly? The justified outrage about Trump can serve as valuable energy, provided it is steered in a constructive direction: making Europe more capable of acting. It will be tedious enough.
Maas is calling for a lot of right things, higher defense spending and independent European payment systems. But he associates it with false promises. In the conflict over the US sanctions against Iran, Europe will not persuade corporations like Siemens, Mercedes and BMW to prefer the Iran business to the much larger US market. Yes, Europe needs more weight, but not against the USA, but in alliance with them.
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