On July 11, 2018, President Trump upended the early talks of a NATO summit in Brussels when he claimed that Germany was “controlled by Russia,” shortly before appearing next to Vladimir Putin and claiming that he didn’t “see any reason why” Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election. Later that day, Trump did his least to undo the damage in a press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel, saying, “We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.”
Apparently not: According to a new YouGov poll, Germans consider the American president to be more dangerous than Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Of those surveyed, 41 percent said that they considered Trump a greater threat to world peace than any other head of state; Kim Jong-un came in second with 17 percent, followed by Putin and Khamenei with 8 percent, and Xi with 7 percent.
The poll helps reveal the harm the Trump administration has done to America’s reputation with one of its closest and most important allies. But as New York contributor Jonah Shepp notes, there’s reason for the administration’s damage to U.S. stock, and reason to think its effects will be long-lasting:
For decades, the free world has operated under the assumption that the United States will act as its leader, using its might to advance not only its own interests but also those of its kindred nations and the international community writ large. Under Trump, the world is finding that we can no longer be trusted to engage in consultation, deliberation, or dialogue of any kind. Instead, we do whatever we want (or whatever he wants) with no real concern for the impact our decisions have on other countries, be they allies or adversaries.
When other countries behave this way, we have a word for it: We call them rogue states. How long will our allies put up with this behavior before they simply stop believing a word we say? And how long will it take to repair that damage after the Trump era is over?