US News Opinion: AKK blows the US on the march - and nobody listens

12:50  31 october  2020
12:50  31 october  2020 Source:   dw.com

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Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the first German member of the government to propose a fundamental change in policy towards the US. That is daring and doomed to failure, says Michaela Küfner.

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No doubt: The re-measurement of the world - without the protective power of the USA - has long since begun. Also (even!) In Germany. Whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins the election on November 3rd: Four years of Trump have forced Europeans to think about what a world could look like without US leadership.

As the first member of the federal government, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer didn't just think it through in public. She also put on the table a complete strategic roadmap for realigning transatlantic relations.

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In the US , but also the broader West, there has been a much longer history and stronger culture for political pluralism. Like this story? Share it with a friend! The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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"eye level" for Germany and Europe

Kramp-Karrenbauer demands "eye level" and is prepared to pay an economic price for it. Radically self-confidently she demands from Washington that it must first of all show its allies in Europe "that it sees the defense of our interests and values ​​as a common project," and that it has "reached its limits in recent years". No matter how the election turns out, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer obviously does not expect that even a Democratic President Joe Biden will steer America back into the transatlantic waters of the Obama years. As a precaution, she also tells him that Germany is "unavailable for a disruptive political style".

Michaela Küfner ist Politische Chefkorrespondentin © DW / B. Geilert Michaela Küfner is Chief Political Correspondent

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That is why Berlin should no longer just remain a "strategic taker", demands the Defense Minister, but must also be a "strategic donor" itself. This can be understood as a swipe at Chancellor Merkel, whose political style is just as admired as it is decried as having no vision.

Kramp-Karrenbauer becomes in their demand for a "key role" for Germany - completely un-German - downright , specifically . Germany must "make it clear what we are prepared to pay a price for" and demonstrate to the Americans, who are increasingly critical of NATO, "that the Europeans themselves can act powerfully". Yes, in addition to increasing military spending, that also means more deployments abroad, but this is the only way for Europe to achieve the necessary "eye-level". Domestically, however, the call for more military engagement remains a courageous move into the poison cabinet.

Sacrifice economic interests

A joint trade agreement with the USA is also part of the price to be paid. The point is not to get a good "deal" for Europe, but rather to send a "signal" to "where it needs to be heard most urgently". She means China and Russia. So here a member of the federal government is signaling the willingness to sacrifice considerable economic interests for the strategic connection to the west of Germany and Europe - visible to the world and its own citizens.

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We 'll be keeping track of those polls here and trying to work out what they can and can't tell us about who will win the election. But it was a much more restrained President Trump on show and there was a much greater focus on the policies of the two candidates.

But this daring serve largely fades away. Although Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer puts the isolation and decoupling of the USA on the same level of threat to liberal trade as the "aggressively directed state capitalism of China". Imagine such a statement using the example of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper: It is unthinkable that such strong words would not immediately be understood as a change in policy. But in Washington only what Merkel says applies.

The silent Chancellor

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas softened shortly after his cabinet colleague's speech: After the election, "Washington would make proposals" and a new common understanding of the global "rules of the game" would be needed. But everyone knows, both the criticism and the ideas for a strategic realignment of transatlantic relations - all of this will remain non-binding office gossip at the German cabinet table as long as Chancellor Angela Merkel does not reposition herself. And it doesn't.

Because she knows that Germany, that Europe cannot afford that - "cannot stand alone on the world stage", as she openly stated in a speech at the beginning of the German EU Council Presidency. Your defense minister shares this analysis. But unlike Merkel, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants a public debate about how this could be changed. She wants to do this, even though, as the CDU party leader, she knows that her own party has no appetite for foreign policy as an election campaign topic ahead of the general election next year.

And so the booming silence from the Chancellery drowns out this attempt to even discuss a strategic realignment of Germany and Europe. And Kramp-Karrenbauer's remeasurement of the world will further measure the breadth and depth of the power-political gap that Angela Merkel will leave behind when she leaves the Chancellery for good in autumn 2021, as announced.

Author: Michaela Küfner

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