Despite such efforts to reassure allies, concerns remain that the US has taken an isolationist turn. The Trump administration has failed to fill numerous international positions, proposed cuts to the State Department’s budget and seen several members of its diplomatic corps resign.
On May 28, German Chancellor Angela Merkel plainly expressed her view that America is no longer a reliable international partner. In a noteworthy speech in Munich, she recast Trump’s “America first” doctrine in a European light, saying that “we Europeans really must take our fate into our own hands”.
Germany in the lead?
Though it’s likely a temporary vacuum, American withdrawal from the international stage may present an opportunity for countries to play a larger global role, defending the liberal world order while the United States is on a break. Merkel’s pointed response to Trump’s wavering signals on NATO and the Paris accord suggests that Germany may be among them.
But it seems unlikely that even a large and economically strong European country will be able to wield international influence across the many areas the US has traditionally dominated. To become a truly global player, Germany would likely need to leverage the power of a supra-national platform such as the European Union.