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The U.S. Elections: Germany Looks Across the Atlantic with Anxiety and Hope

  • November 05, 2020

Plus, the German foreign policy establishment is familiar with Biden’s advisers since many of them worked for former U.S. President Barack Obama and for Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. “There are excellent contacts,” said Peter Wittig, former German ambassador to the U.S., on the German broadcaster RTL. Nils Schmid, a foreign policy expert with the center-left Social Democrats, says that if Biden were to win, he expects “a strong signal to Europe” right at the beginning of his presidency.

The EU and the “Trump Regime”

Röttgen of the CDU tends to agree. “One thing would change immediately: We would once again treat each other sensibly.” But Röttgen also warns that areas of conflict will remain no matter what, specifically mentioning Nord Stream 2 and U.S. demands for more defense spending in Berlin. Still, most foreign policy experts in Berlin believe that the challenges would be much smaller with Biden in the White House.

Jürgen Hardt, another foreign policy expert with the CDU, said on German television that he has recently been assured by his Republican counterparts in Washington that Trump would take a different approach to foreign policy in his second term. Trump, he says he was told, wants to go down in history as a “good president.” Hardt, though, said on the show that he “wasn’t convinced.”

Former SPD chairman Martin Schulz, who ran against Angela Merkel in the last German election, was more pointed in comments made during DER SPIEGEL’s election night coverage. Trump, he said, “doesn’t give a shit” about international relations. Schulz, who was also president of European Parliament for many years, said that if Trump were to win, Europe would have to “come closer together” and “defend itself from the Trump regime.”

European unity, though, is anything but a given these days, as could be seen on Wednesday afternoon. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, a right-wing nationalist, prematurely congratulated Donald Trump on his election victory. “It’s pretty clear that American people have elected @realDonaldTrump @Mike_Pence for #4moreyears,” he wrote on Twitter.

The German right-wing populists with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party agreed. AfD foreign policy specialist Armin-Paulus Hampel said the atmosphere within the party on Wednesday afternoon was cheerful and relaxed at the prospect of four more years of the incumbent.

Proving that even in the German parliament, there are those who support Donald Trump.

Icon: Der Spiegel

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