Rhodes, 5 October 2018: Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister until 2005, underlined the necessity of the United States of America remaining part of the multilateral world. Speaking at the 2018 Rhodes Forum, Fischer expressed the opinion that the American body politic beyond the president and the immediate White House team still shared a sense of international responsibility and still shared Western values. “The Trumps will come and go”, Fischer said, reminding the audience that “we had the same experience in other cases”.
The ex-Foreign Minister left no doubt, however, that the Donald Trump presidency is putting a heavy strain on the established world order. Confronted with the first isolationist US president since the pre-World War Two era, the world is experiencing the vacuum that a retreating United States is leaving behind. Fischer hinted that he doesn’t see China or Russia as ready to fill the gap. Thus, he flatly denied the claim by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, that Russian military intervention in Syria in support of the legitimate government was a contribution to multilateralism.
In Fischer’s opinion, multilateral policies require common values, so multilateralism should not be mixed with “just any foreign policy”. He sees the key problem in the overdue adaptation of existing multilateral structures to the changes the world has undergone. At the time of his birth 70 years ago, the UN had some 50 members – today, around 200 countries make up the General Assembly. And yet, the basic procedures remain the same. Alongside Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, the