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Germany

How Germany Can Profit From Trump's Protectionism

Trump has threatened to levy punitive duties on German car imports. Companies like VW, Mercedes and others need to take that seriously, and come up with a Plan B.

Inside a German car factory in Leipzig
Inside a German car factory in Leipzig
Nikolaus Doll and Philipp Vetter

BERLIN — Trump had barely finished his oath of office when staff members posted a page on the White House website spelling out the new administration's "America First Foreign Policy." The "America First" focus, the text explains, will also apply to U.S economic policy. Bad news for America's trading partners, including Germany, with its export-orientated auto manufacturing industry.

The new president, it appears, does not intend to back off from the threats he uttered during his campaign. The White House website states, for example, that "President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA." NAFTA is the free trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada that prohibits punitive customs duties on imports from the participating countries. But it is precisely these punitive duties that Trump keeps announcing.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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