Germany's new foreign minister, Heiko Mass, used his first official visit to Japan to unveil an interesting proposition, an alliance of countries committed to liberal democracy.
In Tokyo, Maas presented the Japanese leader with his idea for a new alliance between states. It could fill the geopolitical vacuum created by Trump. In the coming months, a network of globally oriented states is to be created that closely coordinates its foreign, trade and climate policies. "We need an alliance of the multilateralists," says Maas -- which is to say, an alliance that stands for the global rules and structures of the postwar order that Trump rejects. "It's better to bend than break" would be the wrong maxim in these times," Maas argues.
The outlines of the German government's new anti-Trump strategy are currently being sketched out. The German Foreign Ministry has been doing preliminary work on it for some time now. Maas's predecessor, Sigmar Gabriel, had already assigned the task of redefining the relationship with the U.S. in the period following the Republican president's election. In the planning division, papers had to be constantly revised to reflect the U.S. president's latest tweets.
But now a clear goal has emerged. If that hadn't been the case before, the Brussels NATO summit -- where the U.S. president threatened to withdraw from the Western defense alliance -- and his later description of the European Union as a "foe," cemented the conviction in Berlin, Brussels and Paris that alliances mean nothing to Trump. The U.S. has transformed from a "source of order" into a "destroyer of order," according to sources within the German government.Maas will, perhaps inadvertently, smoke out our hopelessly weak-knee'd prime minister, the Dauphin, Justin Trudeau. It's obvious that this alliance will not include the United States. The US is the main (but not only) reason Maas wants to forge this alliance. The whole point is to bolster liberal democracy. Trump will see this as an affront. He punishes those he feels have slighted him. What better way to hammer Canada than on NAFTA? Trump has Trudeau pegged. He's called our prime minister "weak" and that's arguably true, a rarity for Donald J. Trump.
At the Foreign Ministry, the idea of forming a network of Western-aligned countries "that stands for reason and adherence to the playing rules, and won't back down when faced with protectionism and egoism" is taking shape, according to Maas. "We need a strategy, and we need allies."
This is a critical initiative at an extremely critical moment in time and we've got the wrong Trudeau at the helm.