Is Trump the wrench America needs

Trump's climate disaster

Berlin. If you look back on the first trip abroad by US President Donald Trump, a few pictures get stuck. For example the recordings from the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday. Trump is making his way through the group of heads of state and government to the front row. In front of the cameras, he rudely pushes the Prime Minister of Montenegro aside, who then smiles back in shame like a schoolboy that has been slapped. The message: “Get away! I'm the boss here. "

Same game during the final meeting at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily on Saturday. The Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, host of the top meeting of the heads of the industrialized countries, gives a speech. His counterparts have their headphones on and are listening. Just not Trump. He sits with his arms crossed and stares in front of himself. An open snub. Muscle games, showing off: the polterer from Washington acted like the elephant in a china shop at NATO and the EU. And he enjoyed the role. For the home audience, especially its regular Republican electorate, the photos are intended to signal one thing above all else: “I've shown it again to the wimp in Europe and the rest of the overseas.” What is left of Trump's nine-day visit?

The shrunken west

At least since the fiasco at the G7 summit in Taormina it has been clear: Trump's battle cry from the election campaign - “America first” - is becoming the guideline. Regardless of whether it's climate, trade or refugee policy: Washington doesn't care about international agreements like the climate treaty. In the G7 final paper, the Americans committed themselves to the fight against protectionism and to advocating a multilateral trading system. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) booked this as a partial success of Taormina. But this verbal admission is basically worthless. Trump relentlessly railed against the successful German export industry.

Merkel has understood that Trump only thinks of the domestic political gallery. Every foreign policy appearance is choreographed down to the last detail so that it can score points at home. Before her first visit to Washington in mid-March, she was a little more optimistic. It is now clear to her that the partnership with America has cracked, the trust and predictability of earlier days are gone. “The times when we could completely rely on others are long gone. I've seen that in the last few days, ”she said on Sunday at a party event in Munich.

With the new political orientation of the USA, the community of values ​​in the West is gone. At the height of the Cold War, democracy, freedom of expression and assembly, and the rule of law were ideological cornerstones in the transatlantic relationship. The West saw itself as a counter-model to Soviet communism. Even if there were always tangible differences of opinion between America and the “old world”: The bond with Europe was never broken. The USA saw itself as the leading power of the West. Under Trump, state egoism is the trump card in America. The real West today consists primarily of Western Europe. Here democracy, free trade and the idea of ​​a balanced multilateral policy are upheld.

The new Europe

The EU has functioned more badly than well over the past ten years. In the financial crisis, Greece and refugee crisis, the community was paralyzed for a long time. In view of the spread of illiberal autocratism in states like Russia, Turkey, China and, more recently, the USA, all hopes are now on core Europe. The founding states of the EU - Germany, France, Italy and Benelux - must distinguish themselves as dynamic forces for democracy and free trade. Merkel and the new French President Emmanuel Macron are condemned to give the community new impetus.

Merkel's role

It was probably never the Chancellor's dream to appear as a global player. But the dissolution of the global order with the western leading power America force Merkel to do so. She is now not just a key player in the EU. The Chancellor is also at the forefront when it comes to solving the Ukraine conflict, rescuing the international climate treaty or defusing the refugee crisis.

G20 summit in Hamburg

The summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the 20 industrialized and emerging countries on July 7th and 8th in Hamburg will be a major international challenge for Merkel this year. You have to combine diplomatic sensitivity and assertiveness.

Should the Americans withdraw from the climate treaty, the Chancellor will have no choice but to promote the fight against global warming with the rest of the world. Without the USA, these are at least the countries that account for 86 percent of CO2Cause emissions. The free trade campaign is another Herculean task. The Chancellor has no illusions here. After Trump's extra tours, China is not the ideal alternative - she knows that. The Chinese head of state Ji Jinping may appear as the smiling standard-bearer of the market economy. The fact is, however, that Beijing pumps its own companies full of subsidies and blocks access to its own market with a multitude of bureaucratic regulations.

Merkel defined the partnership with Africa as a core element for the G20 summit. Their calculation: The creation of more political stability on site opens up the chance for more prosperity and reduces the pressure of refugees. The West African states of Niger, Mali, Chad and Mauritania have offered to fight Islamist terrorist groups with their own armed forces. However, you need money to do this. The Chancellor will work to loosen up the international funds for this.


With the crude unilateralism of US President Trump, the world is becoming even more complicated and unpredictable. The classic West with the leading power of the USA no longer exists. Trump wants to stay out of the international conflict settlement to a large extent, which gives political actors such as Russia, Turkey or Iran more leeway. In terms of free trade, both America and China are failing as beacons - even if Beijing claims the opposite. Only one hope remains as a driver for democracy and a market economy: Core Europe with the avant-garde Germany and France.