Trump’s ‘America first’ policy ‘no answer’ to modern global situation – German FM

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump © Reuters
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy views are contradictory, and doubts the billionaire would be able to implement the changes he wants if elected.

During a speech on Wednesday, the Republican front-runner said he would introduce a policy of putting “America first” if he is elected as the next US president. At the same time, he also indicated that he would like America’s allies in Europe and Asia to pay their own way. 

“My foreign policy will always put the interests of American people and American security above all else. That will be the foundation of every single decision I will make. ‘America first’ will be the major and overriding theme of my administration,” Trump said. 

His comments were condemned by Steinmeier, who criticized Trump’s policy of leaving Washington’s allies to fend for themselves if they were not willing to pay more money for the military defense that the US provides. 

"I can only hope that the election campaign in the USA does not lack the perception of reality," Steinmeier said, as cited by Reuters. 

"The world's security architecture has changed and it is no longer based on two pillars alone. It cannot be conducted unilaterally," he added. 

Despite Trump’s wishes, the German foreign minister said he believes that the property tycoon would have difficulty changing the status-quo if he is elected president. 

"No American president can get round this change in the international security architecture," Steinmeier said, adding that this was why "'America first' is actually no answer to that." 

Steinmeier also accused Trump of being contradictory in his statements by calling for American interests to be put first, while at the same time looking for Washington to scale back its interests around the globe. 

"Those two things don't seem to fit together very well to me," he said. 

Steinmeier’s comments come after German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called Trump “a threat to peace” in March. Speaking to the German publication Welt am Sonntag, he said that Trump and right-wing politicians in Europe were a threat to “social cohesion.” 

"Whether Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders - all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development," Gabriel said, as cited by Reuters. 

He also slammed Trump’s isolationist policies for promising voters "a way back into a fairytale world,” adding that history shows that countries that opt for isolation have little chance to develop. 

"We have to make the effort to explain how we want to shape globalization in a fair way," Gabriel said. 

In February, Trump lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for admitting hundreds of thousands of migrants, saying the decision could lead to “the end of Europe.” 

Speaking to the French conservative magazine Valeurs actuelles, the real estate billionaire said the German chancellor had made “a tragic mistake with the migrants.” 

"If you don't treat the situation competently and firmly, yes, it's the end of Europe. You could face real revolutions," Trump was quoted as saying, according to Reuters.