German Poll: Trump a bigger Challenge than N. Korea, Russia or Syria

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

A public opinion poll on German foreign policy carried out by the Koerber Foundation for its annual Berlin Forum has a bombshell finding:

Germans are more disturbed about Trump and see relations with him as a bigger challenge than relations with North Korea, Russia, or than the Syrian Civil War. Only immigration is seen as a slightly more difficult challenge by Germans than dealing with The Orange One. Coming just after Trump in the degree of challenge he represents to Germany is Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan.


When asked which country was most or second most important to Germany, nearly two thirds or 63% said France.

The US came trailing after with only a plurality at 43%.

Emmanuel Macron is more important to Germans than Trump, and seen in a positive light while Trump is seen as an obstacle at an obstacle course.

But even more striking, the Germans are so over the British, who are pulling out of the European Union. Germans think Russia (11%) and China (7%) are both more important to their nation than Britain (6%).

Not only is France more important than the US in the eyes of these German respondents, but 90% want *more* cooperation with France. 78% want more cooperation with *Russia*. (So the Germans are just like Trump himself?) And 69% want more cooperation with China.

Only 61% want more cooperation with the United States under Trump, and fully 34% actively want *less* cooperation with Washington.

It’s official. Trump is the skunk at the party.

52% of Germans think the relationship between the US and Germany is “somewhat bad.”

Remember I said that Erdogan comes second after Trump as a challenge for Germany? Well, some 74% want to end accession talks about Turkey joining the European Union. They want to end any special relationship with Ankara over the way Erdogan has been behaving. And remember, they find Trump more of a challenge than they do Erdogan.

Germans overwhelmingly see their security future as entangled with a joint European Union security force; only 9% see it as connected to the United States. If Trump was trying to make NATO hated in Europe, he appears to have succeeded.

Germans don’t want a big foreign policy role. But they do think they have a role to play in the Middle East.

The most important conflict where people think Germany should be actively promoting a resolution is ISIL (46%). But 21% want to help resolve the outstanding issues in the Syrian civil war, and 15% want to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.




Related video added by Juan Cole:

German police use water cannons on political protesters

5 Responses

  1. Germany needs a solution to the Syria / Iraq wars in order to stop the flow of refugees and start repatriating the large percentage of refugees who have not qualified for political asylum. If you add Refugees & Turkey & Syria you arrive at 49% of the people who are concerned. If you add ISIS and Syria you arrive at 67% of the people who are concerned.

    The German main stream press has consistently portrayed Trump as a monster, crazy person and fascist, very much in line with CNN, the NYT or the Washington Post. So negative opinions are very much prevailing. Of true concern is the non-relationship in evidence between Trump and the German government. Merkel as well as most leading German politicians openly supported Hillary during the 2016 election and continue to denigrate him. In a rare feat the German government has now managed to alienate the leadership of the US, Russia (who is also China’s most important ally), Turkey, the UK, Poland and much of Eastern Europe, as well as Greence and much of Southern Europe.

  2. Indeed Trump has fulfilled the Kremlin’s wet dream of creating a rift in NATO and helping to weaken the EU. As a lot of Germans have quite problematic memories about Russia’s intention towards Western Europe and are scratching their heads about American foreign policies since Bush jr., the Orange One has become the perfect example of what not to like at this point in history. Especially as in the collective memory of Germans the times of hyper-inflation and several econmoic crisis before WWII are only dormant and they see in Trump a man who could set the house on fire through his policies of giving Wallstreet a free reign again. Germans believe they are living in “interesting times” – and they don’t like it a bit.

  3. This poll shows why Merkel has such a hard time staying in power at the moment. All her policies directly contradict the publics wishes.
    Merkel wants to stay as buddy-buddy with the USA as much as possible and she favors a very confrontational approach towards Russia. She also wants to stop Macron’s european reform ideas at all costs and certainly is not happy about the loss of her most important allies when it comes to austerity policies: The tories in the UK.
    Also she will try to hold on to her idiotic ‘refugee-deal’ with Erdogan, no matter how criminal Erdogan behaves.
    I’m afraid she will weasel her way into another term, though.

  4. It’s no surprise Germans think France important to them, they have since Bismark, that’s why they have tried to grab it periodically. I wonder what would be the response to the same question asked of the French. The US itself would have a place on most nations’ list of concerns with or without Trump. Aside from all the military activity, Americans are largely oblivious to the economic implications to Europe, particularly Germany, of their liberal distribution of sanctions, specifically with Russia and post-JCPOA Iran. Germany is to be the end-point for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline across the Baltic Sea planned to deliver 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Europe, and US expressed fears of it dangerously harming the economy of Ukraine and over increasing Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy cut little ice since the alternative is to bring the stuff across the Atlantic in tankers. I suspect Trump is focusing a degree of per-existing unease. Previous Presidents were able to employ sleight of tongue to obscure such commercial intentions, Trump doesn’t even bother.

  5. sitting up here in Canada, I’d have to agree with the Germans. the big problem is Trump and the U.S.A. Don’t view N. Korea as much of a problem and neither do my friends and family. we don’t think N.K. will toss the first bomb, but rather Trump.

    Turkey ought not to be able to join the E.U. they simply are too dangerous and weird these days, well their President is.

    As a Canadian I’d rather see stronger ties with Central and South America, Japan, Europe. Don’t trust China or Russia although they are important especially that Russia sits across the Artic from us.

    Once NAFTA is flushed by Trump, Canada will most likely pursue more trade with China, carefully. The U.S.A. will return to what it once was, a poverty stricken country with an isolationist attitude. The elimination of the Dodd Frank leg. will hasten the American demise.

    Germany is much better off re arming itself along with the other European countries because no one can count on the U.S.A. for anything with Trump in office. He has no real concept of what war is. Even if the dropped him in the middle of a battle field I don’t think he understands what it is all about.

    France and Germany are large countries and they need to have their military ready to deal with anything and everything because Putin still has delusions of tzarism.

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