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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

German official talks U.S. alliance, diplomacy

The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about U..S.-German relationships in Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer
The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about U..S.-German relationships in Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Joseph Konig.

One of German’s highest ranking officials warned against “the politics of fear” in the Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday.

On a day when millions of Americans across the nation headed to caucuses and primaries, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier argued that global cooperation and perseverance are the answers to security and prosperity concerns, not fear-mongering and isolationism.

“In Germany and in Europe, something is gaining momentum in our domestic politics,” Steinmeier said. “And to be honest, I am also seeing it here in the United States during the primary campaigns. It’s the politics of fear.”

In his 30 minute-long speech, the top diplomat in the German government quoted Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Secretary of State John Kerry. Hope Harrison, the associate dean for research in the Elliott School of International Affairs, moderated the conversation.

If you were too busy catching up on Super Tuesday results to attend, here’s what you missed:

1. Walls are ‘a very bad idea’

While Steinmeier did not mention any of the current presidential candidates, one point he made in support of globalization appeared to be a dig towards Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

“If you ask me, building walls is a very bad idea – no matter who pays for them,” Steinmeier said after disavowing politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who “call for retreat” and wish to “leave the world outside to deal with its own problems.”

2. Persevere in foreign affairs

Steinmeier focused not only on fear, which he defined as an “important human reflex” but a “terrible adviser in politics,” but also referenced “the politics of hope” as an alternative in American and European politics that is just as ineffective in foreign policy.

“In foreign policy, hope mostly doesn’t get you very far,” Steinmeier said. “In foreign policy, what you need above all is perseverance, perseverance even in hopeless situations.”

Steinmeier, who is a member of the Social-Democratic Party in Germany, cited the Syrian civil war and the ongoing European refugee crisis as issues the United States and Germany need to work together on.

“Diplomacy can bridge even the deepest of rifts,” Steinmeier said.

3.’The strongest alliance’

Steinmeier repeatedly praised the U.S.-German alliance, saying his talk was one of his few stops among talks with U.S. and UN officials.

“We have built the strongest alliance that either of us has ever had: The Transatlantic Alliance,” Steinmeier said. “It’s strong in terms of security. It’s strong in terms of economy.”

Steinmeier said the U.S. became Germany’s largest trading partner and German firms have created 600,000 jobs in the United States last year. He added that American influences in Germany include popular TV shows like Homeland and House of Cards, as well as supermarkets, Superman, and the Super Soaker.

“But not our Tuesdays, they’re just average Tuesdays,” Steinmeier said, referring to the then-ongoing Super Tuesday.

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