If an American politician were to comment on a European election so directly and specifically as German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel did on the U.S. election yesterday, the outcry would reach all the way to the UN where resolutions of censure would probably be introduced.
But this is America we’re talking about — the world’s whipping boy. So Gabriel, whose comments about Donald Trump are not only risible but ridiculous, will no doubt be cheered across the continent for his meddling.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has criticized leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as a right-wing populist whose political views pose a threat to peace and prosperity.
The comments by Gabriel, economy minister and leader of the Social Democrats, are the clearest sign yet that ruling politicians in Europe are increasingly worried about the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections.
“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 told Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
Gabriel said that Trump and France’s Le Pen were promising voters “a way back into a fairytale world” in which economic activity only happened within national borders but that history has shown such isolated economies have no chance to develop.
“We have to make the effort to explain how we want to shape globalisation in a fair way,” Gabriel said.
Politicians in Germany and elsewhere in Europe have watched as businessman and reality TV star Trump has moved from long shot to front-runner of the Republicans seeking the party’s nomination ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Trump has described German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy towards refugees as “insane” and predicted it would cause rioting in Germany.
Both Wilders and Le Pen have been dubbed “fascists” by the socialist press in Europe, when the truth is, they are arguably more liberal than Trump on some issues. But compared to the socialists who are criticizing them, they are far to the right.
It’s no accident that the parties they represent are growing. The EU is closer to coming apart than at any time since its founding. There is a real chance that Great Britain will exit the EU, throwing Europe into a chaos it probably can’t survive. And Poland, the Balkans, and eastern Europe are in total revolt over being forced to take in Middle Eastern refugees.
This situation makes Le Pen and Wilders look like prophets.
As for Trump, it’s not likely he will upend the international order, nor take the U.S. into war. Gabriel’s comments are evidence that the European elites understand as little as their American counterparts about Trump and his pull on the voters.