• Bloomberg


Donald Trump doesn’t embody Western values in the way that previous presidents such as John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama did, according to Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the U.S. who now heads the Munich Security Conference.

“We are losing that symbol of the West that used to be undisputed, the president of the U.S.,” Ischinger said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “I can’t explain to my children that they should think of President Trump as the person that represents the values of dignity, of human freedom that the West stands for. That’s a serious problem.”

Ischinger’s comments come two days after the U.S. president gave his inaugural speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, during which he said that “Rocket Man,” as he refers to North Korean President Kim Jong Un, was on a “suicide mission” and that the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was “the worst deal ever” and should be revisited.

Ischinger said that he hopes Trump’s comments were just “hot air” and that any pullback from the nuclear pact would be a mistake and would make diplomatic efforts with North Korea more difficult.

“If the U.S. walks away from the Iran deal, this will be a major setback in various dimensions,” Ischinger said. “It will be a major setback for the role and credibility of the U.S. in international politics.”

Despite a more complicated trans-Atlantic relationship, Ischinger said Europe will need to find a way to work with the U.S., given the outsized role Washington plays in international diplomacy.

“We need the U.S. presence in Europe,” he said. “Even if we have serious rather fundamental disagreements, there’s no alternative to close cooperation and I think we will simply need to do everything we can to work as closely as possible with the U.S.”

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