The German president took an indirect blow to US President Donald Trump on Friday when he accused Washington, China and Russia of fueling global mistrust and uncertainty with a "great powers" competition that could threaten a new nuclear arms race.
In his opening speech at the annual Munich Security Conference, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier regretted the three major powers' approach to global affairs and, without mentioning Trump, questioned his vow to "make America great again".
"Again great" – also at the expense of neighbors and partners, "quipped Steinmeier, a former Social Democratic foreign minister, whose statements on foreign policy bear authority.
As Foreign Minister in 2014, he was at the center of the so-called "Munich Consensus" when German heads of state and government said Berlin was ready to take on more responsibility in global affairs. Steinmeier expressed this point again on Friday, but not before he complained about the foreign policy approaches of Russia, China and the United States.
"Russia … has once again made military force and the violent movement of borders on the European continent a political tool," he said in a speech to be made at the conference opening.
"China … only accepts international law selectively if it does not run counter to its own interests," said Steinmeier.
"And our closest ally, the United States, is itself rejecting the idea of an international community under the current government."
The result is "more distrust, more armament, less security … up to a new nuclear arms race," he said.
In response, Germany should increase defense spending to contribute more to European security and maintain the alliance with the United States, recognizing that US interests are shifting from Europe to Asia.
He also called for a European policy towards Russia "which is not limited to condemning declarations and sanctions alone".
Europe must "strike a balance with China between the intensification of competition between systems and the need for cooperation".
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)