The Enemy in the White House

This U.S. president was never a partner; he is an aggressive opponent. It is time to treat him accordingly.

Vladimir Putin acts covertly. The Russian president is controlling a cunning disinformation campaign. The goal of this secret operation consists of destabilizing the populations of Western countries, discrediting their institutions, creating a rift in their societies, influencing their elections and eventually causing the fall of liberal democracy. However, more than a few people stubbornly believe that Putin is blameless and that any word to the contrary is a nefarious fabrication by Western secret services. Is it all just a conspiracy theory?

In any case, Donald Trump’s intentions are clear for everyone to see. Ever since he took office, Trump has led a destructive campaign against multilateral agreements of all kinds. This man does not care about foreign policy; he considers it an instrument to further his inward-looking nationalist “America First” ideology. He views cooperation as a weakness. The U.S. withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council is the latest proof.

Trump acts in plain sight. Now, the American president is also running his perpetual disinformation campaign against Germany. This is how he justifies his morally bankrupt refugee policy to the U.S. population. The heartbreaking scenes at the southern U.S. border, where crying children are separated brutally from their parents, people who have made the mistake of seeking a better life for themselves and their family in the United States, have elicited disapproval even from Trump’s diehard supporters. His zero-tolerance policy is a PR disaster, which he is now trying to minimize by any method, including attacking Germany.

The American president has exploited the local coalition crisis over the refugee policy to carry out unprecedented interference. In a tweet full of downright schadenfreude, Trump claimed that the German people are turning against their leaders and that crime has sharply increased. According to him, Europe has made the mistake of letting in millions of people who have changed its culture drastically.

Not only is this also a lie, but the man who wrote it has been brutally attempting to destroy everything that has been painstakingly built since World War II with respect to the political culture of coexistence between different peoples.

In a second statement, Trump repeated his lie about the crime increase in Germany and added another claim, alleging that officials do not want to report these crimes. Trump’s tweets read like they are straight out of a fearmongering Pegida* speech.

By now, the world has already been worn down by Trump’s antics. But jadedness must not lead to normalization and the acceptance of Trump’s aggressive insolence. The unsubstantiated allegation according to which the federal government and state officials deliberately lied to the population about the true extent of local crime should not be endured without consequences. Stoking the anger of citizens is simply an open attack perpetrated by a foreign power on this country’s government. This White House is directly attempting to destabilize Germany.

Angela Merkel has reacted with too much restraint in the face of this threat. The chancellor merely made reference to the latest statistics on crime that were made public by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, stating that they speak for themselves. They actually show that crime has slightly decreased. Moreover, if there is a German politician who cannot be accused of embellishment in such a matter, it is Seehofer.

No, this U.S. president was never a partner; he is a bitter opponent. We should finally start treating him accordingly. Summoning the U.S. ambassador and issuing a formal protest can only be the first step. Relations with this administration should be reduced to a minimum. Nor is it necessary to keep faking friendliness. Germany and the European Union should put an end to all polite restraint in their public assessment of this government. The communication lines with America must not be completely shut down, but they cannot amount to anything more than a thin thread. We have known for a long time that the United States can no longer be relied upon under Trump. By now, it is clear that we must protect ourselves from him.

*Editor’s note: Pegida is the German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, a right-wing, anti-Islam German nationalist group founded in Dresden in 2014.

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