The German Foreign Minister Heiko (SPD) Maas can also see positive things from the term of office of the outgoing US President Donald Trump.
- In a few days, US President Donald Trump is due to vacate the White House to make room for Joe Biden
- In retrospect, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) can also see positive things from the term of office of the outgoing US president
- In the interview he talks about Germany’s relations with the USA and about expectations of the upcoming president
A few more days, then vacate Donald Trump the White House. Joe Biden will lead the United States as the new President. Foreign Minister says what that means for Germany Heiko Maas in an interview with our editorial team.
Mr. Maas, what were the positive things about Trump’s term in office?
Heiko Maas: Despite all the foreign policy disagreements, I can think of two areas in which Trump did something positive. For one thing, that’s in Afghanistan, where we have direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban for the first time. We must now continue to accompany them with the aim of safeguarding what we have achieved there as well as possible. To do this, we must not take the pressure off by prematurely setting a withdrawal date.
The other great achievement is certainly inclusion diplomatic relations between Israel and some Arab states. We disagree with some of Trump’s Middle East policy, but after years of stagnation something has started to move. This opportunity must be used to address the pressing issues in the Middle East peace process.
Still, are you happy that Trump is leaving?
Maas: I am happy when Europe is no longer counted among the USA’s greatest enemies in the same breath as Russia and China in the Oval Office. Because from our point of view, the USA is and will remain our most important partner outside of Europe. And of course we’re glad that Joe Biden is back in the USA Paris Climate Agreement, wants to lead into the World Health Organization and the Vienna nuclear agreement with Iran. If we want to solve global problems from corona to climate change, we need more international cooperation. The USA has been missing here in recent years.
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What does Germany and Europe have to expect from Biden?
Maas: Biden has made it clear that he sees the partnership with Europe as a strength and not a burden for the US. That does not mean that we will agree on all issues. For topics like Nord Stream 2 there will possibly be further hard discussions. But we can at least count on important decisions to be discussed among the allies – and on promises to be kept.
We have the same values and interests on key strategic and geopolitical issues: human rights, free trade, the rule of law. When we act as a team, we can also like against states China and Russia enforce our beliefs better. We are ready to do more to achieve this and have also developed a number of proposals with our European partners.
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Where does Europe have to become more independent?
Maas: Europe finally needs more guide show in the world. In the last few years we have already taken on more responsibility in areas from which the US has withdrawn, not only militarily but also diplomatically. Of course, we have a leading role in our own neighborhood, for example in Libya and the Sahel.
We want to continue on this path, also in terms of a fair transatlantic burden-sharing. We don’t expect the US to go back to its former role World policeman to return. But even where Europe takes the lead, we will achieve more if we have the US on board. Also interesting: Donald Trump: This is how the US President wants to stay in office
Do you think a Trump comeback is possible in four years?
Maas: I don’t want to speculate about that. In any case, I wish the USA that in the coming years it will succeed in filling in the domestic political rifts and the social ones polarization to overcome. Incidentally, this is an issue on which we also have to do homework in Europe. The last few years have shown how much damage populism can do to us too.
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