Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Time for Tough Talk with Trump

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    President Donald Trump’s investiture on Friday could bring about radical changes in global politics; Germany and Europe should therefore change the tone with the U.S. and assert themselves on the global stage.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was Germany’s Defense Minister from 2009 to 2011, and as such he worked closely with NATO, which Mr. Trump recently called “obsolete.”
    • He currently resides in New York and is the chairman and founder of venture capital firm Spitzberg Partners.
    • In a recent interview in a German paper, Mr. Trump heavily criticized the European Union and Chancellor Angela Merkel and went on to threaten to slap a 35-percent import levy for BMW cars imported from Mexico.
  • Audio

    Audio

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51st Munich Security Conference
Mr. zu Guttenberg, who now lives in the U.S., believes Donald Trump is a man who has more respect for self-assertive counterparts. Source: Getty.

With just a few hours to go before President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has called on Berlin to ditch what he called its “passive, wait-and-see” attitude towards the United States and nurture “a culture of responsibility” instead.

In a guest column in German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, published Friday, the former conservative politician said Mr. Trump’s rise was a time for the German government to “be prepared to do more.”

Mr. zu Guttenberg is a former rising star of German politics who resigned from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet in 2011 amid accusations that he had plagiarized large sections of his doctorate thesis. He has since moved to the U.S. and built a career as a trans-Atlantic specialist in New York, where he followed the American election closely.

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