A failure by some Western leaders, notably Chancellor Merkel, to welcome the new President appropriately risks driving him into the arms of those like Vladimir Putin whose interests are antithetical to our own. They should learn from the example of Hillary Clinton in putting the needs of our nations first.
After Donald Trump’s victory Angela Merkel issued a thinly veiled warning: “Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position. On the basis of these values I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation.”
If the values identified are really now under threat in the United States it is more important than ever that other Western leaders are able to influence the new President. Grandstanding from the German Chancellor will only aggravate him. This could even push him closer to Vladimir Putin, who shows no compunction in congratulating Donlad Trump. A wave of populism is sweeping the West, at least some of it is very unpleasant. But attempts to forestall it through disdainful preaching have manifestly failed.
Hillary Clinton made it clear in her concession speech that the new president must be given the chance to govern. The Democrats have understood the greater game (in their case the nation, in ours the world). The British Prime Minister Theresa May has shown similar wisdom, giving a swift and neutral message of congratulations to the President-elect. Other leaders ought to follow this example.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, said: “Donald Trump’s presidency represents an opportunity rather than a crisis for Western leaders. But in order to ensure that, they will need to salute the rank, even if they dislike the man, and ensure he is welcomed into the fold of collective leadership.
“Hillary Clinton has shown the way in the USA, and Theresa May has followed in the UK. Chancellor Merkel’s waspish comments however show exactly the wrong way to proceed. Bad actors like Vladimir Putin will be only too happy to embrace Trump. We must ensure we do so first.”