Is China or Russia more dangerous

Steinmeier accuses China, Russia and the USA of dangerous selfishness

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At the Munich Security Conference, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused the USA, China and Russia of endangering the international order through selfish actions.

Each country should put its own interests above those of all others, is the motto of US President Donald Trump, Steinmeier said on Friday in his speech at the opening of the Munich Security Conference. "As if everyone was thought of when everyone was thinking of himself." This is also at the expense of the US partners. He cited the American blockade of the World Trade Organization as an example of old ways of thinking. “This is not a new way of thinking, but a relapse into the thinking of the day before yesterday. And it's extremely dangerous. " Steinmeier committed himself to the goal of the NATO countries to spend two percent of their own economic output on security. A disintegration of the EU is the greatest danger for Germany.

The Federal President accused Russia of annexing Crimea without considering international law. "It has made military force and the violent shifting of borders on the European continent back into a means of politics." Uncertainty and unpredictability are the result.

China, on the other hand, has become an important player in international institutions through its rise. "At the same time, it only accepts international law selectively where it does not run counter to its own interests," criticized the Federal President. "His actions against minorities in our own country upsets us all," he said, referring to the reports of the mass imprisonment of Muslim Uyghurs. Thinking and acting like this hurt everyone, warned Steinmeier. If everyone seeks their own security at the expense of others, this leads to “more distrust, more armament, in the end less security”. He spoke of a “destructive dynamic”.

In this situation, Germany and the EU would have to do more, warned the Federal President, following on from a speech given by his predecessor Joachim Gauck in Munich in 2014. "Germany must contribute more to the security of Europe, also financially," said Steinmeier shortly before the EU special summit on EU finances from 2021. The Federal President also committed himself to the goal of the NATO countries to reduce defense spending to two percent of economic output to increase. "I consider the effort to achieve it right and necessary." The SPD politician was foreign minister at this meeting in 2014. In the grand coalition, the SPD is questioning this goal, even if the defense budget has risen steadily in recent years. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had also called for greater German involvement in a Reuters interview.

Study: Confidence in NATO is falling

The image of NATO has deteriorated significantly in France, Germany and the USA. US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron had previously questioned the value of the transatlantic alliance.

At the same time warned against only looking at the military. Otherwise one could “arm oneself to death” worldwide. Even if everyone in Europe were to spend significantly more than two percent, this would not stop or even reverse the erosion of the international order. "We cannot compensate for the loss of diplomacy, the pillars of our security architecture, arms control treaties and international agreements with tanks, fighter jets and medium-range missiles."

Precisely because the global “Pax Americana” threatens to collapse, Europe must react to this “enormous shift in the spheres of power and influence”. "It has to find its own balance with China between intensifying system competition and necessary cooperation and has to take the many other strong partners in Asia seriously," warned Steinmeier. The EU must start more initiatives like the Berlin Libya Conference in order to contain the conflicts on the fringes of the Union. He cited the Sahel region as examples, but also the Gulf region with the conflict over the Iranian nuclear program.


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