The Atlantic Expedition concluded with a farewell dinner at Soho House and a conversation with Dr. Klaus Scharioth, former German Ambassador to the United States and State Secretary of the German Foreign Office and currently Dean of the Mercator College for International Affairs in Germany, and with Christoph von Marshall, Tagesspiegel Correspondent in the United States.
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(1) Dr. Klaus Scharioth – Former German Ambassador to the United States
“Why am I worried about the new US administration?”
– Dr. Scharioth has never seen a situation like today and we are witnessing an intense fight for attention and influence-
Two Sphere of influence:
- The Cabinet
- He feels positively about Rex Tillerson, and better about the new security advisor, McMaster
- Vice President Pence made a solid speech Munich, but didn’t take questions. This indicates that he may be fighting for influence with the President and wouldn’t want the fallout for answering incorrectly.
- Those surrounding Steve Bannon
- Bannon seems to adhere to William Strauss – and seems to believe that there will be a big war, which may not be a bad thing in the coming years; democratic system is broken, therefore it must be destroyed and then built again.
- Scharioth believes these problems can’t be solved by one nation and we need a multilateral system and people who understand how these systems work.
– During election trump said “I accept the vote, the result if I win, if I don’t win let’s see…if I don’t win Hilary should go to jail” – this is against democracy.
– Questions whether Trump is fully committed to the values of the elected (i.e. Human rights, rule of law etc).
– Trump does not understand the necessity of the multilateral system and the necessity of finding solutions within the multilateral system.
– Free trade comments by trump have proved reason for concern.
– Dr. Scharioth fears that Trump does not have a real grasp on the EU and why all American presidents have supported the union in the past. He also does not seem to understand that America could win and have others win as well.
– Dr. Scharioth deeply believes in the American capability to self-correct, no other country has shown the ability to do this.
There are four reasons why America and Europe will work closely together:
- Values of enlightenment
- Politics and security
- Trade – investment streams – more than 50% of all American direct investment goes to Europe and almost 60% of investment in America comes from Europe
- Science and Technology – Europe and America make up for 70% of research and innovation. – extremely close university relationship between Germany and the United States
– In addressing Carolyn’s question regarding whether it is a hindrance that America has been married to the same constitution since it’s establishment? He believes that some of it is outdated, but as far as the values are concerned the American constitution is a masterpiece and cannot be surpassed
– Dr. Scharioth expressed that he was impressed with the judiciary and the media in the United States, however less impressed that most media gave the most attention to Trump during the election, and believes the media played a role in getting the attention to him, and therefore his election.
– In addressing Martha’s question on how political establishments should be engaging in populism: Dr. Scharioth believes the phenomenon of populism is not new, but we always thought the United States would be immune. In a globalized world everything is connected to everything.
-In response to Defense presentation:
– would not use world semi-permanent in regards to NATO forces, “they are all on rotation, none are permanent”.
– Regarding NATO forces, he thinks:
– promised 2% of GDP and there should be follow through here.
– need humanitarian aid, development aid, money to spend on refugees.
– don’t talk about spending for just defense, but spending for international security.
– In response to TTIP:
- Thinks TTIP was the first effort at a deal of a new generation (key was to try and create common tariffs and norms
- One of the reasons it failed the first time), believes these norms and standards are the most important.
- He believes TTIP should be placed “into the freezer” and then reevaluated in a few years.
(2) Christoph von Marshall – Tagesspiegel Correspondent in the US and book author
– Believes it was improbable that Donald trump would win.
– Trump served as a voice that some people were missing in politics.
– Believes people feel more represented in this election then in the past (but these will be the people disappointed two years from now).
– The far-right and far-left are almost identical in their rhetoric.