US expert Rough in an interview: "Even without Trump many problems remained"

              US President Trump threatens an impeachment, in the coming year he could be voted out. But in Germany, one should not believe that in that case start again rosy times, says US political advisor Peter Rough. At the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington, he is an expert on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. With he spoke about tariffs, China, the two-percent target and of course In Europe and especially in Germany fear many automotive tariffs. Now it is said from Brussels that they would probably be postponed for six months. What is the purpose of Trump? Peter Rough: The threat has already motivated the German carmaker to invest in the US itself. That's the real purpose. That you not only impose tariffs on the tariffs themselves, but that you try to force more balance in the transatlantic trade. BMW, VW and Daimler have announced they will invest more in their US locations and create thousands of new jobs. Second, the US is involved in a massive trade dispute with the Chinese. If, with the economy getting a little weaker, an argument with Germany over the upcoming election campaign begins, it is not in Trump's interests either. Believe, there will be an agreement with China before the election in one year ? A first deal should be imminent. Or is Beijing waiting and hoping Trump will be voted out? Peter Rough conducts research at the conservative US think tank Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. (Photo: Hudson Institute) The Chinese play for time, but they are also under great pressure themselves. The Chinese growth rates have collapsed. And according to official figures, the unofficial ones are probably even worse. They're having a massive problem with their pork reserves because they've been rife with African swine fever. American exports would not be so bad for them. But they want to get as much out of the way as possible. There are still technical differences about this part of the deal, this Phase 1 deal. But that would probably be sealed, had the APEC summit in Chile been postponed, where Trump and the Chinese President Xi actually wanted to sign the outcome of the negotiations. But the big, tough questions about intellectual property theft and the structures of the Chinese economy remain a thick piece of work to be done. Would the TPP have been a better way to stem China? Most experts say that that would have been a great opportunity. At least a start would have been made to create a market in Asia to which the Chinese would have had to respond. On the other hand, it must also be said that not only Trump, but also his toughest Republican competitor Ted Cruz as well as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were against TPP. Politically speaking, it was not a popular deal. If many Germans are looking towards the United States, they're just a fool in Trump. Do you make it too easy? I think so. Because there are actually several levels of analysis. One focuses too much on the level of the individual, ie on the personal relationship of Trump and Merkel. I believe that the structural concerns of the US as well as the changes in world politics are at least as important. The US sees itself in competition with China, but also with other powers that want to undermine the Western world order. These include Russians at regional, perhaps global levels, Iran in the Middle East, North Korea in Northeast Asia. Hence the demand of the Americans for the Germans to protect the liberal world order more. There are just differences from the questions about Huawei to Nordstream. They would also agree with another president. They demand that Germany approach the US in order to represent the interests of China and Russia together. But has not Trump turned away? As for the procedure, yes, the US government has decided that it will negotiate bilaterally with the Chinese. But as far as content is concerned, the US is still pursuing the same goals as it did five or ten years ago, such as free trade. What could Berlin do? One could find a common line, such as the theft of intellectual property, in the expansion of 5G Networks and digital infrastructure and a common security policy in Europe. I believe there are areas where you could do more. One major issue is defense spending. Germany is committed to the two-percent target, the defense minister even encourages more foreign missions. Is this perceived in America and is this already a success of Trump's new foreign policy? The AKK speech was picked up by those who are following these things. I do not think that the ordinary citizen of the US has heard much of it. But the fact that there is now a debate in Berlin about one's own strategic interests and how one can empathize with them has already arrived in Washington. And unlike the von Leyen, which has often spoken of 1.5 percent, AKK never deviates from the two percent target, which is something you value. Whether this has anything to do with Trump or with Vladimir Putin in the Crimea, I do not know. But ultimately it is only pleasing. Also, the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 provides for moods. The US is against the project – but is not that just a transparent maneuver to sell your own liquefied gas to Germans? No, that's not the heart of the matter. Because many political currents in the US, which have absolutely nothing to do with the energy sector, are against the pipeline. It's more about geopolitical analysis. The American position is essentially shaped by discussions with the other Europeans, in particular Ukraine, whose representatives are often in Washington complaining about Nordstream. Our concern is that Eastern Europe will become more vulnerable to the pipeline and that Russia will gain considerable influence. Ukraine is trying to develop and would lose the important transit funds. Of course, the Americans would like to sell liquefied gas. But the consensus is broader, it's not just the energy lobby. There's an impeachment procedure against Trump, which will be voted next year – let's say Trump is soon history. What changes then? The style of politics would certainly change, there probably will not be another president like Donald Trump. He is simply unique. Some will try to adopt his style, but I doubt anyone will succeed. But the structural questions would remain open. And by the way, which many do not pay attention: The Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren supports the tariffs on steel and aluminum. With Peter Rough spoke Volker Petersen

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