Should Trump be re-elected
Republican security expert on the US election : "Trump's re-election would endanger the international order"
Kori Schake, 58, is the director of foreign and defense policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The Republican worked for several US governments, including the National Security Council of George W. Bush and the State Department. This interview comes from the 32nd issue of the Tagesspiegel newsletter "Twenty / Twenty", in which we report on the US election campaign. Click here for the free subscription.
Ms. Schake, you served as an adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008. In 2016 you spoke out against Donald Trump and are now calling for Joe Biden to be elected. Why?
In 2016, as a Republican, I voted for Hillary Clinton because I feared Trump's bravado would damage America's international reputation and relationships. And now I'm promoting Biden because those worries have become a reality. President Trump has damaged the reputation of our country and our partners, he has helped our enemies move closer to their goals. And it is a danger to our democracy: under it we are witnessing the disintegration of institutions and norms, it fuels violence against the media and spreads dangerous medical falsehoods. All of this is bad for my country.
As a foreign policy expert, what is your biggest concern if Trump wins on November 3rd?
Trump's re-election would convince America's friends in the world that he accurately reflects American attitudes. Our friends know us well, they understand that we sometimes make light-hearted decisions. But they trust in our ability to correct our mistakes. If Trump is re-elected, it will lead our friends to believe that we approve of his policies. That would jeopardize the international order that the US and its allies built after World War II and from which we all benefited greatly.
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What danger do you see for Europe?
Trump's re-election would drastically reduce the number of US forces in other countries. The President always argues that these are only there to protect others, not our own. Withdrawing our soldiers reduces our ability to fight shoulder to shoulder with our partners and increases the risk that our adversaries will harm our partners.
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What do you fear in economic policy?
Trump's second term would create an international economic order from which the United States would be excluded. The Europeans would try more and more to evade our currency in transactions, just like China and Russia. By politicizing government institutions that are supposed to be independent, the president is weakening the dollar as a reserve currency. In addition, the explosive rise in debt, which began under Trump even before the Corona crisis, is dampening confidence that the American economy is helping the dollar to maintain its value.
Who do you see close to the president who could exercise a moderating influence on Trump in a second term?
I fear that if Trump is re-elected, he will be even more convinced that he does not need anyone to contradict him, only those who carry out his will. People like the current head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, or other ministers. Not only will he have trouble recruiting good people, he won't even want to anymore.
If asked for advice, how should the European partners react if he would be re-elected?
Our allies understand that the president and his government are not the only points of contact. There's Congress, civil society, the states - there are so many ways to influence American politics. Our political system has many flaws. I would advise friendly governments to cooperate with those parts of our country that want something similar: in security policy, in climate change or in the defense of human dignity. There are many partners here who are interested in working together.
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