Kori Schake, 58, is director of foreign and defense policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The Republican has worked for several US governments, including George W. Bush’s National Security Council and the State Department.
Mrs. Schake, you served as an adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008. In 2016 you spoke out against Donald Trump and are now calling for the election of Joe Biden. Why?
In 2016, as a Republican, I voted for Hillary Clinton because I feared Trump’s bravado would damage America’s reputation in the world and its global relationships. And now I’m promoting Biden because those concerns have become a reality. President Trump has damaged the reputation of our country and our partners, he has helped our enemies move closer to their goals. And it is a threat to our democracy: underneath we witness the breakdown of institutions and norms, it fuels violence against the media and spreads dangerous medical falsehoods. This is all bad for my country.
What’s your biggest concern if Trump wins on November 3?
Trump’s reelection would convince America’s friends in the world that he accurately reflects American views. Our friends know us well, they understand that we sometimes make light-hearted decisions. But they rely on our ability to correct our mistakes. If Trump is reelected, it will lead our friends to believe that we approve of his policies. That would jeopardize the international order that the US and its allies built after World War II and from which we have all benefited enormously.
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What danger do you see for Europe?
Trump’s re-election would result in a drastic reduction in the number of US troops in other countries. The president always states that these are only meant to protect others, not our own. Withdrawing our soldiers decreases our ability to fight shoulder to shoulder with our partners and increases the risk of our opponents harming our partners.
Kori Schake is Director of Foreign and Defense Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington Photo: promo
What are you afraid of in economic policy?
Trump’s second term would create an international economic order from which the United States would be excluded. Europeans, like China and Russia, would increasingly try to get around our currency in transactions. By politicizing government institutions that are supposed to be independent, the president is weakening the dollar as a reserve currency. In addition, the boom in debt, which began under Trump even before the Corona crisis, is dampening confidence that the US economy is helping the dollar maintain its value.
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Who do you see close to the president who could exert a moderating influence on Trump in a second term?
I fear that if Trump is re-elected, he will be even more convinced that he doesn’t need anyone to argue with him, only those who do his will. People like the current Chief of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, or other ministers. Not only will he struggle to recruit good people, he won’t even want to.
How should European partners react if he is asked for advice, if he is re-elected?
Our allies understand that the president and his government are not the only points of contact. There is Congress, civil society, the states – there are so many ways to influence American politics. Our political system has many flaws. I would recommend befriended governments to work with those parts of our country that want something similar: on security policy, climate change or the defense of human dignity. There are many partners here who are interested in working together.