The picture of the situation that Wolfgang Ischinger draws at the beginning of the Munich Security Conference could hardly be more gloomy. The danger of a military confrontation between the US and Russia is as high as since the end of the Soviet Union is no longer, warns the former diplomat and organizer of the three-day political summit meeting. The mistrust between the military leadership in Washington and that in Moscow was “abysmal”.
Under President Donald Trump, the US “increasingly tried not only to threaten with weapons, but actually practice the use of weapons to enforce their own interests.” The times when the country was a “great regulatory force”, something of a “world policeman” – over.
“The danger of misunderstanding, think of the events in and around Syria, think about the events in and around North Korea, the risk of miscalculations, of unwanted escalatory maneuvers is greater than I remember them over the last 30 years “says Ischinger.
Under Trump, Washington is fueling conflict
He does not have to be more specific. Everyone at the security conference may have read, for example, Trump’s Twitter message from January 3. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un Kim has just stated that his “nuclear weapon button is always on his desk,” Trump wrote. “Will anyone from his impoverished and starving regime please inform him that I, too, have a nuclear weapon button,” said the US president. “But he’s much bigger and more powerful than his, and my button works!”
Provocations like this, or even Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, confirm those who feared the worst when Trump took office about a year ago. An America that fuels conflicts rather than working on solution strategies, an America that is backing down its support for development aid and the United Nations as part of America’s First Policy. All of this is reality at the beginning of 2018.