US involvement in Europe
Pistorius calls Trump’s possible re-election a “catastrophe”
November 28, 2023, 6:21 p.m
Former US President Trump wants to run for re-election. In the event of a victory, Defense Minister Pistorius sees black for transatlantic relations. Europe can then no longer count on the USA when it comes to defending against the Russian aggressor.
Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has warned of far-reaching consequences for US engagement in Europe if Donald Trump returns to the White House. This case would be “a catastrophe,” said Pistorius in Berlin. If the incumbent US President Joe Biden is re-elected, it would be “significantly better”. But even under Biden, it is “foreseeable that the United States will shift its focus and attention more to the Indo-Pacific.”
“If they do that, they will probably not be able to maintain their engagement in Europe at the same level,” said Pistorius at the Körber Foundation’s Berlin Foreign Policy Forum. This means that the Europeans within NATO will have to take on more responsibility “at the latest (…)”.
Trump already had a difficult relationship with the European NATO partners in his first term in office. He initially even described the military alliance as “obsolete.” Later he regularly criticized the Europeans for insufficient defense spending and accused Germany in particular of allowing itself to be protected from Russia at the expense of the USA.
Pistorius: Europeans must deepen arms cooperation
With a view to greater defense cooperation between Europeans, Pistorius said that this must also focus on creating compatible systems. One lesson from the Ukraine war is that there shouldn’t be too many different types of weapon systems. He couldn’t say how many different types of 155 millimeter caliber artillery ammunition there were. “We can’t afford that if we have to fight together on the eastern flank in an emergency.”
The initiative for European air defense (ESI) initiated by Chancellor Olaf Scholz also showed that there is no weapon system in Europe to defend against long-range missiles. That’s why Germany ordered the Israeli Arrow 3 system.
Pistorius admitted that this had led to discontent with France. French President Emmanuel Macron was of the opinion that there was enough time to develop such a system in Europe because there was no acute threat. “One can argue about the assessment,” said Pistorius. “We say we are at least so threatened that we can’t wait ten years until we develop something.”