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For Germany, Trump is an Opportunity for a Look in the Mirror

The article below was written by IWP student Tobias Brandt and published by The National Interest

Instead of panicking over the U.S. president, Berlin needs to fix the disastrous state of its military and return to a reasonable foreign policy.

Like most international observers, Germans were aghast when Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in 2016. The state of shock that set in afterwards can still be felt today. In 2018, Germans appear to have lost faith in the transatlantic relationship altogether. Even political elites believe that the relationship is not going to survive four years of Trump, let alone eight. Regarding the question of which leader was the greater threat to world peace, 79 percent of polled Germans chose U.S. President Donald Trump over the Russian president Vladimir Putin. The matter seems settled, the United States simply can’t be trusted anymore.

To be fair, Donald Trump does present a challenge to the international order, especially to institutions like the WTO, as well as security and trade agreements. Furthermore, his brash rhetoric and tweets are often inexcusable and not worthy of the office he holds. There are, indeed, serious flaws in his thinking. Believing Putin when he says Russia did not interfere in the American election, against the counsel of the American intelligence services, does not magically improve U.S.-Russia relations. Free trade has been crucial to America’s economic success, and trade wars are not easy to win. And maintaining properly-functioning alliances with like-minded countries (as opposed to blatantly disrespecting them) is, actually, in America’s interest. The common commitment to democratic republicanism underlying NATO, for instance, functioned as a bulwark against totalitarianism, to name just one example.

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