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On my way home from #MSC2019 - and reflecting on the debates, speeches and informal meetings of the past four days in Munich. Let me share my very personal summary - w/ a focus on the transatlantic partnership. Last year, I was quite pessimistic... 1/
So let me start with a bit of good news. In our #MSCreport, we asked who would pick up the pieces of a disintegrating global order. At least rhetorically, the Europeans and representatives of other like-minded liberal democracies have underlined their willingness to step up. 2/
Most attendees agreed that Chancellor #Merkel gave one of the best foreign policy speeches of her career. She really hit a nerve in the audience. Merkel forcefully argued that "all of us" had to pick up the pieces together. 3/
US VP Pence who spoke after her represented a completely different approach, praising his dear leader's achievements several times and basically telling the European what to do. Did not go down to well with the audience. Most heard adjective: tone-deaf. 4/
This was the most striking observation at #MSC2019: While the @MunSecConf conference hall is rather small venue, it was large enough to fit two different worlds. There weren't just tensions between #Merkel and Pence's speeches, there was a complete disconnect. 5/
This does not bode well for the coming months and years. The Germans in particular are at loggerheads with the Trump administration over a range of issues: Nord Stream 2, NATO's 2% goal, China, trade and tariffs, migration, climate change, Iran etc. #MSC2019 6/
Of course, it's easy to blame it all on the Trump admin. But this is neither helpful nor the only possible way to look at it. While the German speakers talked about multilateralism and institutions, many international guests wondered why that didn't apply to #NordStream2 ... 7/
...or defense spending goals. Many spoke of German self-righteousness as another big problem that continued to harm the West. People in Germany (even in office) have not realized yet how crucial Berlin's leadership will be in the coming years. 8/
While Berlin's international partners generally overestimate German power and influence, most Germans tend to underestimate what others rightly expect of them. Indeed, we haven't heard many concrete ideas for how to step up. For the most part,... 9/
...the world now knows what the Germans don't want and what they don't like about the Trump administration. Yet, it is unclear how we are going to solve these disagreements. Too many still seem to believe they can just outwait Trump. But these issues won't go away. 10/
And given our dependency on the US, it is rather doubtful whether it is a wise strategy to confront Washington across the full range of contested issues without making concessions on some policies where the US has a point. 11/
If #NATO crumbles, #Germany will pay much more than two percent of its GDP for its defense.
And what does the "schwarze Null" (a balanced budget) help us if the EU is ouf of balance?
This is clearly not the right time for politics as usual. #MSC2019 12/
In the end, it comes down to a few hard choices. At the MSC kick-off, @fromTGA talked about the need for a European #Weltpolitikfähigkeitsverlustvermeidungsstrategie. 13/
Cynics might argue that the Germans continue to pursue a #Weltpolitikvermeidungsstrategie, i.e. a strategy to avoid world politics. Given that the "liberal international order" was Germany's perfect habitat, in which the country thrived... 14/
...this is not at all surprising. But we need to come to terms with a completely different strategic environment, in which all major pillars of German foreign policy are under pressure (see: link.springer.com/chapter/10.100…). #MSC2019 15/
While the #MSC2019 participants rightly loved @JoeBiden's speech who told them that "the United States will be back," the US will come back differently. And it may take longer than many in Europe hope. 16/
As the speeches in Munich demonstrated, there is just no one else who will pick up the pieces for us in the meantime and put together an order that the Europeans would feel comfortable in. #MSC2019 #MSC2019 17/
Of course, Germany can't do it alone. But without Germany throwing its full weight behind the EU, there is not much hope. "Who else if not you?" - is what I heard several times. So, let's roll up our (Euro hoodie) sleeves and get to work. #MSC2019 18/
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