Ger­mans warned against anti-Amer­i­can­ism

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS - By Steven Erlanger NEW YORK TIMES

BRUS­SELS – Anx­ious about po­lit­i­cal trends in Ger­many that are sow­ing di­vi­sions with the United States un­der Pres­i­dent Trump, for­eign-pol­icy ex­perts have warned the in­com­ing Ger­man govern­ment that the trans-At­lantic re­la­tion­ship must be pre­served at all costs.

In a man­i­festo ti­tled “In Spite of It All, Amer­ica,” the Ger­man sig­na­to­ries said: “The lib­eral world or­der, with its foun­da­tion in mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, its global norms and val­ues, its open so­ci­eties and mar­kets, is in dan­ger” from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause of its “Amer­ica First” credo. But, the man­i­festo says, “It is ex­actly this or­der on which Ger­many’s free­dom and pros­per­ity de­pends.”

“If Ger­many wants to be an ef­fec­tive ac­tor in Europe,” the pa­per says, “it needs the United States.”

The doc­u­ment, pub­lished in Thurs­day’s edi­tion of the weekly Die Zeit news­pa­per, sug­gests that the govern­ment should con­cen­trate on the fun­da­men­tals of the trans-At­lantic re­la­tion­ship with the United States, like se­cu­rity, and avoid more con­tentious is­sues like trade and mi­gra­tion.

The man­i­festo warn­ing against bud­ding anti-Amer­i­can­ism is aimed at the Ger­man po­lit­i­cal par­ties ne­go­ti­at­ing with Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel to form a new govern­ment, and also at the So­cial Demo­cratic Party, now in the op­po­si­tion, which has crit­i­cized Trump.

“The mes­sage is de­signed to hit at those who think that Trump has fi­nally shown the real na­ture of Amer­ica, and that it’s time for the Ger­mans and French to free them­selves from trans-At­lanti­cism,” said Jan Techau, who is one of the sig­na­to­ries, di­rec­tor of the Richard C. Hol­brooke Fo­rum at Ber­lin’s Amer­i­can Academy and a for­mer head of Carnegie Europe.

“We are wor­ried about those, mostly from the left, who fi­nally feel lib­er­ated to break with Amer­ica, and we want to say that Amer­ica is more than Trump, there will be Amer­ica af­ter Trump, that our strate­gic de­pen­dence on the United States re­mains,” Techau said.

Thomas Kleine-Brock­hoff, who di­rects the Ger­man Marshall Fund in Ber­lin and was an ad­viser to the for­mer Ger­man pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck, said that he and the other sig­na­to­ries were con­cerned that a drift in Ger­man-U.S. re­la­tions that be­gan un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama could ac­cel­er­ate, es­pe­cially since the So­cial Democrats are weaker in op­po­si­tion af­ter years of be­ing in a coali­tion govern­ment with Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives.

With the far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many and the Left party also in Par­lia­ment af­ter re­cent elec­tions, deputies are more skep­ti­cal of the United States, more crit­i­cal of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and more pro-Rus­sia than be­fore, Kleine-Brock­hoff sug­gested – even if a govern­ment of the con­ser­va­tives, the lib­eral Free Democrats and the Greens emerges and re­mains At­lanti­cist.

“We ar­gue that Trump is not a symp­tom of a long-term trend in the United States aimed at the de­struc­tion of the mul­ti­lat­eral or­der, but that he is sui generis,” Kleine-Brock­hoff said.

While cer­tain trends may out­last Trump, he added, “even with iso­la­tion­ist ten­den­cies and an in­ward-look­ing elec­torate that doesn’t want to see in­ter­ven­tion­ist poli­cies, what won’t con­tinue is an Amer­ica run­ning through the world or­der with a wreck­ing ball.”

The man­i­festo, a rough English trans­la­tion of which was pro­vided to the New York Times, says that the United States re­mains an “in­dis­pens­able” part­ner for both Ger­many and Europe and keeps Ger­many em­bed­ded in the West.

The pa­per also sug­gests work­ing with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, es­pe­cially on se­cu­rity and en­ergy pol­icy.

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