By Winfried Gruetzner, Hamburg
Doesn’t it give you, like me, the creeps when you look at a photo of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the front page of the WELT, one of Germany’s three leading newspapers?
Putin and Erdogan demonstrate power, incalculable and dangerous. And where is a western antipode?! Donald Trump even announced his plan to withdraw from NATO in case he wins the election, although it’s our strongest partnership with regard to our security. He would frivolously weaken the proven solidarity of our democratic alliance—disastrous. A horror vision for all who believe in a free world!
International experience and understanding is also required when it comes to economics, for example among the G7 partners, the world’s seven largest industrial nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States). Can you imagine Donald Trump with his one-sided economic arguments, enriched by his unreal homemade facts and figures (like Barack Obama as “the founder of ISIS” or a wall at the Mexican border paid by Mexico), participating in the range of the other G7 representatives (Trudeau, Hollande, Merkel, Renzi, Abe and May) in common responsibility trying to find balanced solutions to a complex international cooperation? But this question is a rhetorical one anyways!
Since I first came to the United States soon after World War II as a 20-year-old student in 1954 (on invitation of the Boy Scouts of America), I have been following the presidential elections in the U.S. with particular interest. All of Barack Obama’s predecessors were more or less reliable leaders of a strong military nation—sometimes though a bit too “military” (Vietnam, Iraq). In Europe, we have fond memories of John F. Kennedy’s unforgettable and remarkable speech in Berlin in June of 1963, during which he proclaimed in front of the iron curtain: “Ich bin ein Berliner!” Great, but long ago.
We now urgently need a strong western equivalent again. And a gleam of hope has been ignited—as reflected on the cover photo of the WestView News in its December 2015 issue (my copy as usual provided by my daughter who lives on West 11th Street).
Especially as the UN unfortunately doesn’t represent much more than a paper tiger, we all need a strong personality as president of the most powerful western nation. We need a global player at the head of the United States!