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German president criticizes US stance at security conference

The Associated Press

MUNICH (AP) — Germany's president criticized the U.S. administration at a security conference on Friday for appearing to reject “even the idea of an international community.”

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier's comments were made in an opening speech at the Munich Security Conference, an international gathering of foreign and security policy leaders attended this year by the U.S. secretaries of state and defense.

Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, is independent of Chancellor Angela Merkel's government but the German president is viewed as a moral authority even though his role is largely ceremonial.

Steinmeier lamented “an increasingly destructive dynamic in global politics.”

“We are getting further year by year from the aim of international cooperation to create a more peaceful world,” he said. “The idea of the competition of great powers currently dominates not just the strategy papers of our times, it also marks the new reality around the world.”

He criticized Russia for making “military force and the changing of borders by force a political method again” in Europe. And he said that China “accepts international law only selectively, when it doesn't go against its own interests.”

“And our closest ally, the United States of America, under the current government rejects even the idea of an international community,” Steinmeier said. “As if everyone is thought of when everyone only thinks of themselves. ‘Great again,’ if necessary at the expense of neighbors and partners, at least it appears that way.”