A letter from Germany

Outsider thoughts on the events in the USA during the Trump reign and the events on Capitol Hill

I am a German. I have no say in anything going on in the USA, what I believe or not believe doesn’t need to play a role across the ocean. But, be assured, whatever you are doing over there in electing your US president plays a role in my life here and the life of my fellow citizens. For decades after WWII, what the USA was willing or not willing to do to protect Europe was of vital importance for the republic I am living in and there were numerous occasions throughout that time fellow citizens of mine were saved by USA taking action — like that air bridge to Berlin. You earned a lot of credibility and thankfulness over here. Although you as well played the mayor role in defeating Hitler, it was the aftermath of WWII that turned Germany toward the USA, the way, Germany was treated, as a loser of the war, and as a war criminal without comparison to anything else in human kind history. You can be proud of this really. You did a lot of good things to Europe, without your support the european union would not have happened.

Things have changed since then. Europe is no longer threatened by a communist invasion launched by the Soviet Union, as that ceased to exist. Its former allies are for the most part are part of the Europian Union now. With Russia remaining as a player carefully dealt with as it did not join the realm of democracies until now. So in general we could emancipate into something independent of the USA, but I believe there is no merit in doing so for both of us. Although we do not need as much the military shielding of the USA as we did during the Cold War, we are still connected in many ways.

Most of all, we are one of the allies USA calls upon. That was the case when things went unbearable in the Kosovo, it was the case when NATO attacked Lybia, it was the case when George W. Bush called to join the “coalition of the willing” to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Which we, like some other european nations, objected, Not that we did think of Hussein being a leader the world should wish for to be in place. He was a dictator cruel to the people he reigned without doubt. But because we believed that this would cause no relief of islamistic terrorism and crashes the regional world order — which the war against Iraq did. ISIS was the direct consequence of overthrowing the Baath regime in Iraq. As it has been former Baath party officials that founded ISIS, without any religious belief on their own, they were just using islamism to get young people as recruits. What they really wanted was another realm where they can exercise power. We followed into Afghanistan, however, with much debate going on here while our troops were acting over there. We still do not believe by mayority that the war in Afghanistan made any sense. The terrorists of 9/11 stemmed from Saudi Arabia, the safe spots for Bin Laden had been more in Pakistania than Afghanistan. True, for western standards the Taliban lack a lot to be acceptable regional rulers, but we weren’t there to export western life style by military means, which will never work, we were there to fight islamistic terrorism. I believe that failed totally. Now I understand that Trump believed the same. So at first glance I should be happy about him.

But this guy reigned in an irritating, unpredictable way. Which makes someone like me anxious about what will happen next? What mess this guy will throw us into? What mayhem will he cause in our local political debate asking us for this or that? Well, we passed four years of Trump without being asked to engage in another military adventure with doubtful merit, but we have reason to be frustrated otherwise.

Trump cancelled treaties. He cancelled a lot of them. He cancelled the INF, the Paris agreement, the Open Skies Treaty. The INF is way more important to Europe than it is to the USA: it limits the deployment of middle-range-atomic-missiles to protect Europe from becoming a local theater of nuclear war. During the demonstrations and actions within Germany to avoid the deployment of the Pershing II during the reign of Reagan and George Bush the INF resolution was the one we asked for. Not to deploy those weapons in a way that puts Europe alone under the threat. Cancelling that treaty was the most frightening move of Trump to me. I wished the US administration would have acknowledged that Russia violated this treatment for the simple reason that China is no part of it, deployed such weapons near the Russia border and Russia responded to this. But the self-proclaimed best deal-maker of the world did not find another resolution than kill this contract. I am still in fear.

Stepping out of the Paris agreement, the vow to reduce climate-damaging emissions, does as well hurt whole human kind on earth. That move is contrafactual, contra science, and makes it much harder for the world to avoid severe impact of climate change. And again I ask why the self-proclaimed best deal-maker of the world resort just to cancel a contract and not negotiating a new one. I am convinced that he really does not even get the problem.

The Open Skies Treaty is another thing providing safety to this planet. If you are allowed to survail people, folks or nations by flying over why kick that? I do not get it. I do believe that the only way to maintain peacce is to allow every side to look at another. There is no merit in hiding. Unless you want a first-strike attack on your enemy. Which I pray for this world will never see happening.

Last night, I tuned into NBC News for watching the electoral college vote counts to see the process unfolding and maybe understanding it. It doesn’t happen. Instead I was thrown into some kind of “Die Hard”-Movie to unfold. I stayed up throughout the night watching things evolving on Youtube, where several US news sources provided a live stream on the act.

I was frightened. I was really considering the options for a successful coup that may have been the end of what I witnessed. We know about coups within NATO. Greece had at least one. Turkey several of them. These are allies as well with disturbing potential (not really new for the case of Turkey).

The bottom line of all that is this: the USA is a super-power as everything that happens there on a political level has an effect on the whole world. A significant effect, So every time you choose your government, a whole lot of the world hold their breath to wait for the outcome, and not only adversaries of the USA are watching anxiously. Your allies are watching too. And depend. And rely.

Save your democracy. Please.

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Olaf Schlüter

Interests in and making a living of IT security. Physicist by education, believing in God since then, as the world appears to be optimized for supporting life.