Visit in the shadow of the Trump-turbulence


On his second trip to the U.S. as a foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, encounters a conversation partner with an open ear for foreign policy, while the country is at the same time domestic politics is in turmoil. Washington, Dagmar Engel.

Two are always better: Minister of foreign Affairs Gabriel with his counterpart Tillerson

There are better times for a German foreign Minister to travel to Washington. The US capital is still busy more than usual with themselves and their President – in contrast, Sigmar Gabriel, can’t arrive in the public perception. Especially as he can to elicit the investigations of the connection between the Trump staff, with Russia nothing: “these are internal Affairs of the United States.” But Gabriel stressed that Germany, that Europe is a large interest in a strong and stable America.”Everywhere, where the US international back, they leave a vacuum in the other.” Other, so the German says Minister of foreign Affairs, particularly China. Again and again he pulls out in Washington as an example the theme of “new silk road”: More than a hundred countries, but a country you will search in vain: the United States.

A few differences, many similarities

A plurality of outer core political topics want to discuss Gabriel with his interlocutors: The conflicts in the Ukraine and in Syria and the dispute with Turkey to the visiting rights of the stationed Bundeswehr soldiers. And he came out of the Meeting with very positive discoveries: Had a counterpart, Rex Tillerson provided at the beginning of his term of office, nor the attitude of its President, Donald Trump: “And what is it to please us, the Ukraine?”, Gabriel hit, this time on a well-informed and interested foreign Minister. Tillerson was concerned with him on the same page, particularly dealing with Russia. Of the fears that the US might relent in Ukraine conflict Russia, in order to get a better Deal, not much left.

Trumps still applies? “And what, please, the Ukraine to do with us?”

The issue of the NATO Budget, the positions are not the same, but they have been resolved, you no longer need to speak. The most serious differences of opinion in the question of how the Iran deal with it. For the USA, he is one of the main enemies, you are viewing the nuclear deal as a smokescreen, behind the terror support and human rights violations. The Europeans, however, the agreement as a means of Iran.

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Soft Power as a means of choice

At all Europe: Still no US government has distinguished itself by a particularly in-depth knowledge of Europe and especially the EU, and also in the case of this Administration, much of the diplomatic communication is to explain Europe and its decision-making processes. Again and again the German, describes the foreign Minister, in his speech at the Think-Tank CSIS (Center for Strategic International Studies) the same Problem: “Everyone wants to always talk with my country, because we are economically strong, but Europe is more than Germany and perhaps even France. Our partners should have a talk with the whole of Europe.”

To counteract the alienation, want Gabriel to put more emphasis on Soft Power, starting with a Germany-year in the United States in 2018 and a American of the year in Germany in 2019. More about each other, do not know know better, that only helps between young people, between members of the civil society. The principle also applies to Ministers: Between Gabriel and Tillerson, a trust begins to develop a relationship.

This, however, is still subject to the President: Who has to say at the end how much in American foreign policy? Rex Tillerson is also know to the public. He is completely against international practice, foreign Minister, meeting with the press. The would probably have been less restrained than his German counterpart, and would have questioned him to the unpleasant “internal Affairs”.