The world, as it has existed since World War II, is over. If that wasn’t already clear, it’s being hammered home by statements coming from the White House and from what were, until very recently, America’s closest allies.
In an interview with Fox News, Donald Trump didn’t stint on his support for brutal authoritarianism.
Reporter : He is a killer.
Trump : He’s a tough guy. When you take over a country, a tough country, tough people—and you take it over from your father—I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 who could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.
Reporter: But he’s still done some really bad things.
Trump: Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.
How did Kim Jong Un secure his place on his father’s throne? By removing anyone who might have made the slightest possible claim to inheriting it. That meant poisoning or shooting his half-brother, his uncle, his nephew, his aunt, his uncle’s sister, his uncle’s sister’s husband, his uncle’s sister’s husband’s brother, and his uncle’s sister’s husband’s brother’s sons. Then he started executing officials. Down to the assistant minister of agriculture. That’s the man who Trump doesn’t just understand, but admires.
Which makes it no wonder that America’s erstwhile allies, on returning from the disastrous G-7 summit, are finding themselves forced to cast off relationships and shuffle allegiances that have safeguarded both Europe and America for over seventy years. Nowhere is this more painfully clear than in a speech delivered on Wednesday by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Maas: The world order that we knew, and had become accustomed to, no longer exists.
Rather than looking to the United States as an ally, Germany is—with agonizing reluctance—realizing that America is simply no longer that country. There are few speeches as sad, and as pit-of-the-stomach hard to hear as the one delivered by the German foreign minister.
Maas: The US was long the leading power among the free nations. For seventy years, it was committed to freedom, prosperity, and security in Europe.
A few days ago, I stated we must respond to the decisions made by the US with appropriate countermeasures. The fact that a German foreign minister has to say this is something that, to be honest, I wouldn’t have thought possible for the longest time.
However, the Atlantic has become wider under President Trump.
Instead, Maas lists three forces that are tearing apart the world: Chinese expansionism, Russian militarism, and Donald Trump’s America. And behind them all, he sees a torrent of “populism, nationalism, and chauvinism” that is terrifyingly familiar to Germany.
The G-7 may not have formally expelled the United States. But they don’t have to. The United States is doing that for itself. NATO may not show America the door. They’ll simply understand that we can’t be trusted.
While the rest of the world works to build buffers against Trump’s actions, the United States is moving—quickly—into an axis of authoritarianism. Joining with those countries and leaders that Trump admires as the “tough guys.” Those who couldn’t just talk about shooting one person without harming their political chances, but could actually shoot thousands. Or starve millions. Because politics, or at least democratic politics, is no longer a concern.