Europe and the United States must stand united in “the new cold war with China” regardless of the outcome of the US election in November, says German head of transatlantic relations Peter Beyer in an interview with AFP.
Some five weeks before the presidential election in the United States, the German coordinator of relations with the United States and Canada insists that the two partners share more interests than differences.
“Europe and the United States must come together to face the enormous challenge posed by China,” he said in this interview in Berlin. “The new cold war between the United States and China has already started and will shape this century.”
After four years of recurring friction between US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues such as Iran, NATO, world trade but also the climate, Peter Beyer does not hide that Germany would find it easier to work with Joe Biden, the Democratic White House candidate, if elected in November.
“I certainly wouldn’t have the naivety to say that ‘if Biden wins it will be great, it will be the start of a golden age,’ he continued, however.
“The contentious issues won’t go away overnight, but with Biden the transatlantic friendship would become more reasonable, calculable and reliable again. “
For Peter Beyer, on China or Iran, Americans and Europeans have “similar interests, sometimes identical”.
“This is why I am frustrated that we cannot find a common denominator at the moment” on certain subjects such as support for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight against global warming and control of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
He nevertheless insisted that a possible re-election of Donald Trump would not implode the Western world, in particular because of close cooperation with Congress and many American states.
“Not everything will be dark if there is a Trump 2. But it won’t be better either,” he said.
“It is essential to know who sits in the White House. But that cannot dominate the transatlantic friendship. Washington and in particular the United States are not only made up of the Oval Office ”.
Decades of cooperation since the war between the former allies has cemented “so-called old-fashioned values” such as “freedom and democracy, peace and prosperity”.
“It’s important to remember that it was the Americans who taught us these values and we are always grateful to them,” he continues.
Conversely, the system in China is marked by “a dictatorship, the lack of press freedom and human rights, digital surveillance, (attacks) against the Uyghurs, Hong Kong, the environment. .. ”.
Beyer, member of Angela Merkel’s Conservative Party (CDU), also assures us that her party will have to tackle these important issues when it appoints a new leader in December.
The elected official should then be the candidate of the conservative camp in the legislative elections of 2021 which will end 16 years of power of Angela Merkel.
“Whoever wins, he will have to confront these themes.”
Security and defense issues will also be important as Trump, who has been relentlessly critical of NATO, plans the withdrawal of 12,000 US troops stationed in Germany, 9,500 compared to 25,000 currently.
“I don’t think a Biden administration would completely reverse this plan, but I also doubt he will pursue it with the same vehemence,” Beyer said.