It is over. Donald Trump has lost. After four years of chaos, the self-declared saviour of America failed to convince the voters in key states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to grant him another term. Their choice will have a significant impact on German-American relations. President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on nothing less than restoring the soul of the American nation.The new administration faces a raging pandemic and a troubled economy, much like the rest of the world. Nevertheless, Biden’s foreign policy will be substantially different from Trump’s. After years of troubled relations with one of America’s most important allies, Biden will have to try to re-engage with Germany. Berlin ought to be prepared.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) currently faces the biggest crisis since its inception in 1995. Events that appear as bureaucratic chess games threaten to risk the business rules of major trading nations around the globe. On 11 December, the Appellate Body, the committee dealing with WTO members’ appeals became incapacitated after its membership dropped from three – the minimum to take decisions on cases – to only one remaining adjudicator. New appointments have been blocked by the United States since June 2017. This effectively shuts down the body, because the minimum requirement for any decision is three judges. In a recent move, the U.S. government has placed a veto on any funding for the Appellate Body’s secretariat in Geneva, meaning that it will have to stop operating at the beginning of 2020.
“Aish, karama, hurriya” (Bread, dignity, freedom) was one of the most popular slogans during the 2011 rolling protests which became labelled the “Arab Spring”. This
. While London certainly has to end the uncertainty over its exit and avoid a no-deal outcome, from the EU side, Brussels should resist impatience, move beyond bureaucratic technicalities and think of Brexit and its impact on European defence and security as a strategic issue. Ultimately, ensuring continuous cooperation is in the interest of both sides.
North Africa matters to China. In strategic terms, it is part of China’s overarching political strategy known as the ‘Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation’.
Through its “Made in China 2025” industry strategy, China is making great strides to become the global leader in high-tech industries and manufacturing. The initiative was launched in 2015 as part of a government funded effort for Beijing to achieve its goal of surpassing the likes of the US and Germany to dominate global tech and automation by 2049
The WTO has succeeded to globally promote free trade and to economically integrate developing countries over the last 25 years. As a consequence, the WTO was probably the most successful approach in fighting global poverty in history. With the US as guarantor for a multilateral ruled-based trade order, the triumph of free trade and market economy seemed irreversible until recently. However, the US has apparently become sick of its role as ‘benevolent dictator’—not only in free trade but also in security aspects—and thus, it increasingly challenges what it has proclaimed for decades. In the light of this remarkable turnaround in US foreign policy, we must rethink the global order.
Ours is a time when even the most Atlanticist countries talk about Europe’s need for strategic autonomy, and when some of its leaders are realizing that “the times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over,” to use Angela Merkel’s words. So readers may have been surprised when they saw France’s president praise his relationship with his US counterpart, especially with this US president, who was instrumental at convincing Merkel that “we have to fight for our own future ourselves.”
But if Emmanuel Macron is taking great care of his personal relationship with Donald Trump, it does not mean that he dismisses France’s traditional pursuit of independence. Since his election, Macron has been rather consistent with his campaign references to De Gaulle. Beyond the displays of “bromance,” Macron had several occasions in Washington to make his differences clear, and he seized them.