Punitive Tariffs Are "A Very Ambivalent Instrument"
The United States is relying on sanctions, most recently against Mexico. Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff of the German Marshall Fund considers these "trade weapons of economic warfare" to be dangerous. Their increasing use would undermine the power of the United States in the long run, said the transatlanticist to Deutschlandfunk.
Jürgen Zurheide: The visit of the U.S. secretary of state, the trade dispute, and everything that is currently going on between Europe and the United States, between Germany and the United States—that's what we want to talk about with Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff from the German Marshall Fund. Good evening!
Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff: Good evening!
Zurheide: Let's start with what happened in Berlin today. If, after a visit by the U.S. secretary of state, it is said that the conversation was moderate and that it was obviously considered important to mention something like this—what kind of evaluation do you make from that?
Kleine-Brockhoff: Yes, what I experienced there today was a friendly dithering around. After the German chancellor presented a counter-proposal to American Trumpism to the students at Harvard yesterday, the next day her foreign minister and she herself, by the way, will have to clarify the practical issues further in conversation with Pompeo—and they are still there, and they are controversial. And it's not bad at all that you play a bit on it and don't remain silent but accompany it with this dithering around. Because how could it be otherwise? Should the two say that they argued about essential questions? That would perhaps also not be helpful.
Zurheide: How is the Merkel speech perceived in the United States? Now we can also reach you near Berlin, but nevertheless: What did you hear there, how does it work? I mean, Trump should actually be hitting the ceiling, as we know him.
Kleine-Brockhoff: Yes, it is a divided country. And this speech says a lot about the German-American relationship. There were 20,000 people in the Harvard yard and they enthusiastically cheered Angela Merkel, as if she were America's opposition leader. And if tomorrow she were the Democratic candidate, she would probably shoot up in the polls, because she embodies what moderate Democrats in the United States think. Also, this must not be misunderstood with what the American elites think because she was there at Harvard.
For the German-American relationship, you always have to keep that in mind when dealing with Trump, you don't even have to deal with half, not even with a third, but with a certain part of America. And Mrs. Merkel was addressing a large number of the remaining Americans during her speech, meaning she spoke to this other America.