“The state of American hegemony has definitely ended already, but not everyone in Washington seems to have noticed or accepted that. In Europe only the most lunatic pro-Westerners are demanding for more American acting and presence on the continent. Countries like Poland or the Baltic states are the last lapdogs of Washington. The world is changing every day and becoming more and more multipolar and diverse in its different concepts. That is a good development. Not for Washington of course,” Manuel Ochsenreiter, Editor in Chief of German monthly newsmagazine ZUERST, told Tasnim.
Following is the full text of the magazine.
Tasnim: According to a recent article published by the Washington Post, “Long-term trends show that China is catching up to the United States on just about every conceivable capability metric. Short-term trends show the European Union is a more potent regulatory power and the United States has become more isolated on questions of, say, aviation regulation”. At the same time, serious international relations scholars have argued that US hegemonic power is nearing its end. What are your thoughts on this?
Ochsenreiter: Washington experiences since the collapse of the communist block the painful process of the creation of real global multipolarity. For the neocon strategists in the US administration, this development is a real nightmare. In the past, they felt so almighty and powerful, that they described US foreign politics as “world inner policy”. In the early 1990s, Washington was convinced that the world would be more and more a unipolar, Americanized planet, with “Western values” even in the very last corner of the very last little island in the Pacific. Countless Western analysts embarrassed themselves with future scenarios with a mild but also severe US hegemon.
The state of American hegemony has definitely ended already, but not everyone in Washington seems to have noticed or accepted that. In Europe only the most lunatic pro-Westerners are demanding for more American acting and presence on the continent. Countries like Poland or the Baltic states are the last lapdogs of Washington. The world is changing every day and becoming more and more multipolar and diverse in its different concepts. That is a good development. Not for Washington of course. But why should we care about Washington?
Tasnim: North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui on Saturday berated US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his comments describing North Korean behavior as “rogue” and warned that Pyongyang’s hopes for talks with Washington are fading. North Korea continues to test missiles and US President Donald Trump insists the two nations have good ties. Despite all differences, Trump says the tests are nothing to worry about. Why?
Ochsenreiter: President Trump seems always to be good for a surprise. He changed diplomacy completely, that annoys especially his Western and European allies. We shouldn't forget that not so long time ago Trump called Kim the “rocketman on a suicide mission”. Hysterical Western journalists and so-called “experts” were forecasting even nuclear war scenarios between North Korea and the US. In the end, Trump and Kim were shaking hands. This style of politics is extremely nerve-racking for the Europeans – who honestly simply are disgusted by the US since Trump was elected president. If you like Trump or hate Trump – one doesn't get around some truth facts: Despite his often very aggressive rhetoric, he is the first American president making a deal with North Korea and even meeting the North Korean leader in person. No Obama and no Clinton would have had the guts to do so, George W. Bush would have rather bombed as well.
Tasnim: The US has decided to create an international patrol coalition to secure the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, urging its allies to join it. A number of countries, including Germany, France, and Japan, have turned down Washington’s request. European defense ministers have thrown their support behind a UN-led naval force, not a US-led one to protect key shipping lanes, though the idea is not meant to secure Hormuz. It seems that the divide between the US and its close allies is growing. What do you think?
Ochsenreiter: The “split” between the US and her European allies is more a “technical debate” – but not a general misunderstanding. Also, the European powers are in favor of an international patrol mission – just not under the leadership of the US. The behavior of Washington´s ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, makes it very easy to refuse the US offers. Grenell is trying to push and to blackmail the German leadership to join the US mission. The Europeans want instead of a European mission in the Street of Hormuz – what is still a very problematic operation since it won't lead to any peaceful understanding but to a direct provocation and confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In all these debates we shouldn't forget one important point: This will be an anti-Iranian patrol mission, right in front of the Iranian coast.