Ripple Effects of a Trump Win: The Nuclear Debate in Germany

Building a Smarter German-American Partnership

The ripple effects of Donald Trump’s election victory continue to expand around the world. “What if” questions have emerged in corners of thinking about alliances, treaties, and traditions which had marked U.S. foreign policy for decades. One particularly high profile question arose in remarks made by Trump with regard to his assertion that more countries, such as Japan, South Korea, or even Saudi Arabia, may need to develop their own nuclear weapons.  This has now generated some discussion in Germany as well as can be seen in the dueling debate captured in the two editorial pieces referenced below (in German). Germany has held a long-standing policy against any consideration of nuclear weapons and that is highly unlikely to change. But the fact that there is some public space being given to considering options heretofore deemed heretical is evidence of some disruption in the geopolitical environment in the emerging Trump era.

In favor of discussing security options, including nuclear rearmament: Nach Trumps Wahlsieg: Das ganz und gar Undenkbare (FAZ), by Berthold Kohler

Against nuclear weapons: Deutschland braucht keine Atomwaffen (Spiegel Online), by Gunther Hellmann, Carlo Masala, Frank Sauer, and Reinhard Wolf