Europe and the US have been sharing common values for decades, but the former shouldn’t count on American military assistance any longer and should look towards other power centers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has argued.
It is 30 years since the end of the Cold War revealed “a new narrative of global power distribution,” Merkel told lawmakers in Berlin. “There is a military and economic superpower, the USA,” which Europe has been tied up with “through a system of values,” she said.
Despite all the differences, “there is still the commonality between us,” the chancellor admitted, but warned against setting one’s hopes too high when it comes to the future of US-Europe ties.
The US won’t automatically be playing the role of Europe’s defender anymore, like it was during the Cold War.
Merkel added that “we must strengthen the transatlantic bond” and gradually move towards spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, exactly what the Trump administration wants from Germany and other NATO allies.
It is unclear if the appeal is a sign that Merkel is bowing to US pressure. Washington has consistently demanded that Europe’s leading economy ramps up its military spending, with the notorious US Ambassador Richard Grenell trying to push Berlin into Middle Eastern interventions or threatening to relocate Germany-based American troops to Poland.
The German chancellor has long advocated reducing Europe’s dependence on the US, at least in terms of foreign and defense policy. Last year, she said it’s time for European nations “to take their fate into their own hands,” while teaming up with French President Emmanuel Macron who also champions greater sovereignty for the EU.
Key members of the bloc are increasingly unhappy about the way the Trump administration handless a variety of issues, from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to dealing with China. Merkel, on her part, doesn’t seem to have established a strong personal bond with the US president.
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