The United States "will never be the same" now that Donald Trump is the Commander in Chief, according to Sigmar Gabriel.
Germany's highest-ranking diplomat was addressing foreign policy experts at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum when he issued a stern warning to the global community to be wary of America's new approach to international affairs.
"The U.S. no longer sees the world as a global community, but as a fighting arena where everyone has to seek their own advantage."According to a German newspaper Deutsche Welle, Mr. Gabriel directed much of his criticism at the United Nations for failing to acknowledge the current global trend that is seeing a sharp rise in populist leadership. There is a "desire for order and clarity" amongst members of the global community, according to Gabriel, and Western countries have failed in what he classified as "very ambitious" strategies to end the conflict in Syria.
"At no time during the last seven years did the West achieve a reasonable balance between its very ambitious goals [in Syria] and its very limited willingness to invest."The foreign minister went on to say that "Germany can no longer simply react to U.S. policy but must establish its own position." He also believes that "even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the US will never be the same."
Of paramount concern, according to Mr. Gabriel, is the fact that "nobody has turned towards the European Union" in the wake of Trump's America withdrawing from the international political stage. The diplomat is concerned that it is a symptom of the E.U.'s inability to find common ground in areas where there are aligned values. Some members, he says, are treating the bloc "as if they have a second one in their pocket."
To illustrate his point, Mr. Gabriel referred to the ongoing tensions in the Ukraine as an example of the European Union's reluctance to act decisively, or, at the very least, place pressure on the United Nations to intervene.
Moreover, the 58-year-old diplomat warned that Europe "could stand right now in front of a new nuclear arms race" if the E.U. did not take measures to protect and defend its progressive ideals.
The conference in Berlin took place before President Donald Trump had announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel by moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the ancient city. The announcement has prompted harsh criticism from leaders worldwide who fear the step could spark a war between Israel and Palestine.
Despite speaking before official news of President Trump's decision, Mr. Gabriel took the opportunity to clarify Germany's stance on the matter.
"There are signs that America is going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Without having reached an agreement with Europe on this subject, we all know what the repercussions to that may be."As far as Germany is concerned, he said, the "solution to the Jerusalem question can only be found through direct contacts between the two sides. Anything that could exacerbate the crisis is counter-productive."