WIf Donald Trump were just a pensioner babbling to himself while fishing in Florida, then you could say: Oh God, that Trump. But this man is on his way back to the White House. His re-entry would also have consequences for Europe that one does not want to imagine, but must. Of course, painting is not enough. Germany must finally prepare rigorously for the fact that the backbone of its security could break away from military attacks and political blackmail.

This backbone consists primarily of the commitment of the superpower America, enshrined in the NATO treaty, to view an attack on an ally as an attack on itself and to act accordingly. No other ally of Germany has as great military power as the USA; No one else is putting up the protective umbrella of deterrence with nuclear weapons over Germany.

Germany is more dependent on his persuasive power than it has been for decades. Unlike the Soviet leaders after Stalin, Putin is not satisfied with the status quo in Europe. He wages conventional wars of conquest under the explicit threat of using his nuclear arsenal.

These threats were not without effect. The German government is trying its best not to do or even say anything that could lead to an escalation of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine. The West is therefore not participating in the defense of the invaded with its own troops, which would be permissible under international law. Berlin's refusal to deliver Taurus missiles to the Ukrainians is also justified by the fear that Putin could then strike even more brutally, conventionally or even nuclear, against Ukraine or against NATO states.

Putin's deterrence is working

While Putin is successfully deterring the West from using all its might to help the invaded Ukraine, NATO's deterrence structure is in danger of collapsing. Deterrence only works if the potential attacker knows that the other side would have the means and the will to inflict unbearable harm even after an attack. Since the first American declarations about “extended deterrence,” there have been doubts as to whether the Americans would really be prepared to wage a war with nuclear weapons in defense of their allies that could end in their own destruction. But no one has yet had the credibility of the Americans Security guarantee for the Europeans as shaken as the former and possibly future President Trump.

He had already made it clear during his first presidency that he was not interested in the fate of Europe and that he considered NATO to be a waste of money. His strategic stupidity seems to have increased in the three years in which his thoughts revolved around revenge and return. Leaving Europe to Putin would not make America stronger. Before he was confirmed as a candidate, Trump ordered the obedient Republicans to block support for Kiev. With his most recent statements, he gave Putin carte blanche to do whatever he wanted with NATO members.

Trump is a shrill symptom of America's turning away

But the Scholz government still seems to be counting on the fact that things won't get that bad because maybe the Atlanticist Biden will remain president or Trump won't eat as hotly as he cooks; Germany is now meeting the two percent target. Anyone who depends on a braggart like Trump who is hungry for fame is playing American roulette with German security. In addition, Trump is not a unique problem case. It is the most striking symptom of a general turning away from Europe by America, which even a President Biden in his second term in office would not be able to stop.

The Scholz government can therefore no longer bury its head in the sand and hope that the Trump nightmare will be over when it pulls it out again. The Europeans must massively upgrade conventionally without any further delay. But they must also have nuclear forces capable of restoring the balance of terror in Europe, which America is disrupting in a way Moscow never dared hope.

Why has Scholz still not responded to Macron's offers to talk about whether and how Germany could slip under the (much smaller) French nuclear umbrella? Because Le Pen already said that if she became president, Berlin could forget about it straight away? The traffic light, it seems, doesn't even want to start thinking about an alternative nuclear deterrent because it fears that in the end the last taboo of German security policy will have to fall: giving up its own nuclear weapons.