We are now one and a half years into the Trump presidency and diplomats around the world are learning how to adjust.

So what does the domestic instability in America look like to Europeans right now? How has diplomacy with the United States changed since January 2017? How are America’s allies in Europe interpreting this unique moment of US history?

Prudence Siebert
German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth speaks to Command and General Staff College students and faculty Sept. 16 in the Lewis and Clark Center’s Marshall Auditorium.

I put these questions and more to veteran German diplomat Klaus Scharioth. He has served in the ministry of foreign affairs since the 1970s. He was the German ambassador to the United States from 2006 to 2011, spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations. He is now a professor of practice at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Ambassador Scharioth is a member of the board of directors of Humanity in Action-Germany.

We kick off with a conversation about the ways in which the day-to-day practice of diplomacy with the United States has changed since Trump took office. We then have a wider discussion about the evolving nature of transatlantic relations and how the fundamental worldview of Europe is clashing with that of the Trump administration.

I recorded this conversation a couple of days ago and one thing that has stuck with me was the Ambassador’s emphasizing that America’s capacity for self-correction is among its most widely admired attributes in Europe. The implication here is that the outcome of the Mueller investigation will have a profound impact on America’s image abroad.

This is a great conversation that offers a European perspective on the intense and unfolding political drama here in the United States.

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