With England and the U.S. having been effectively sidelined, Germany emerges our next best hope

After Trump’s visit to the NATO headquarters in Belgium a few days ago, where he referred to the Germans as “very bad” for their trade practices and chastised his fellow heads of state for “not paying what they should be paying” on defense, I wasn’t all that surprised to see our long-time allies beginning to push back. I was, however, struck by how blunt German Chancellor Angela Merkel was this past weekend, when she said to the German press, “The times when we could fully rely on others have passed us by a little bit, that’s what I’ve experienced in recent days.” [German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel later echoed Merkel’s comment, adding that the U.S. was “dropping out as an important nation.” He went on to add, “Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones, and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts, is putting peace in Europe at risk.”]

Trump, as you probably could have predicted, responded by doubling down on his claim that the “very bad” Germans had been taking advantage of us.

Yes, our leader has apparently not only chosen to ignore the unanimous finding of our nation’s 17 intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our election, but he’s attacking those allies who, until recently, were aligned with us in standing up to Russian aggression.

Merkel, perhaps in response to Trump’s most recent Twitter storm, walked her comment back a bit earlier today, stating that “The trans-Atlantic partnership is of outstanding importance.” She then went on to add that she “merely meant to note that in view of the current situation there are more reasons… for us in Europe to take our fate into our own hands.”

Sean Spicer, for what it’s worth, also tried to gloss it over today in his White House press conference, saying that Trump’s relationship with Merkel is “fairly unbelievable.” I thin, however, we can all see what’s going on. Donald Trump, whether purposefully or not, is distancing us from our most trusted allies.

As former NATO envoy Ivo H. Daalder told The New York Times today, “This seems to be the end of an era, one in which the United States led and Europe followed” “Today,” he went on to say, “the United States is heading into a direction on key issues that seems diametrically opposite of where Europe is heading… The president’s failure to endorse Article 5 in a speech at NATO headquarters, his continued lambasting of Germany and other allies on trade, his apparent decision to walk away from the Paris climate agreement – all suggest that the United States is less interested in leading globally than has been the case for the lat 70 years.”

And, whether by design or not, all of this works to the advantage of Putin and Russians, who have long wanted to drive a wedge been the United States and its European allies.

So with post-Brexit England leaving the European Union, and Trump doing everything in his power to distance us from the other members of NATO, it looks as though Germany has taken on the job of global defender of liberty and democracy.

And I know it’s little consolation for those of us living under the shadow of Trump, but it would appear as though our President is bringing the people of Germany together in a way previously thought impossible. Here, in evidence of this, is recent footage of Merkel’s chief German rival, Martin Schulz, taking her side against Trump.

So, with the United States effectively abdicating its role as the leader of the free world, the baton has been passed to Germany… Here’s hoping they’re up to the task.

For what it’s worth, it looks like they’re off to a pretty good start, telling us today that they don’t want to have us anywhere near their upcoming election… And who can blame them, considering what happened here.

One last thing, it’s also been suggested that perhaps some of Trump’s anger toward Germany is due to the fact that their intelligence community has stepped up efforts in recent weeks to unravel Trump’s finances, especially as they relate to Russia, sharing whatever information the find with U.S. investigators… One can only hope.

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  1. Lynne
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Re: “Donald Trump is distancing us from our most trusted allies. “

    One of the patterns of abuse you often see is an abuser isolating the victim from their friends and families. Pretty soon America will be trying to hide a black eye

  2. M
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    That very analogy had occurred to me as well, Lynne. Let’s hope we can get away before it’s too late.

  3. Meta
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The Atlantic: “The Death Knell for America’s Global Leadership”

    Since 1945, American leaders have based policy on two facts: a zone of cooperation encompassing democratic, rule-of-law states; a zone of completion between the group of democracies and other groups on this planet. Within the zone of cooperation, the usual frictions and disagreements of international life were to be managed by rules, especially trade rules, adjudicated by neutral arbiters. The ultimate expression of national power—military force—would be put utterly beyond the realm of things to be contemplated. But even such less-extreme manifestations of sovereignty as intelligence gathering would be done collectively, as if in this area the five closest democracies—the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—almost formed one government.

    The national egoism that had inflicted so much suffering before 1945 would be suppressed on a new vision in which international politics would come to look more and more like domestic politics….

    Under the slogan of restoring American greatness, they are destroying it. Promising readers that they want to “restore confidence in American leadership,” they instead threaten and bluster in ways that may persuade partners that America has ceased to be the leader they once respected—but an unpredictable and dangerous force in world affairs, itself to be contained and deterred by new coalitions of ex-friends.

    Read more:

  4. Kim
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    In case you missed it.

    Trump’s special animus toward Germany is stupid and dangerous: http://slate.me/2roFq1v

  5. M
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    And then there was this.

    Trump’s reported exit from Paris climate deal signals end of the American Century http://thkpr.gs/ec5ee0742f8a

  6. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Given Trump’s disregard for international trade agreements, a Germany-led-EU, along with China & India, will find it easier to impose CO2 tariffs which might otherwise be limited by bodies like the WTO and other “free trade” agreements. If Trump had pulled out of Paris but was otherwise committed to the current international free trade regime, he’d have stronger tools to avoid tariff-based punishments for failure to cooperate. Abandoning or reopening those agreements for negotiation lets other countries play hardball while protecting their competitive advantage by developing & deploying future-proof tech and infrastructure. Stepping back from Paris is a bad economic move for the US.

  7. site admin
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Scott, for your analysis. It’s much appreciated.

  8. site admin
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s also worth noting that Germany gets a reported 85% of its electricity from renewables.


  9. Jcp2
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how turning to Germany is going to help us st all. How is Germany going to help us deal with race and being black in America? How is Germany going to help us with health care reform and the opioid epidemic in rural America? Why is it so important for US to be the leader of the free world? It’s ironic that other countries that many of us desire the US to be more like, such as Canada, Sweden, or Denmark, have never aspired to be world powers, content to bask in the shadow of American military and economic dominance. Maybe that’s why they can devote more energies to looking after internal affairs.

  10. stupid hick
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    “That very analogy had occurred to me as well, Lynne. Let’s hope we can get away before it’s too late.”

    I don’t like your conclusion that Americans should escape, when it is Trump who deserves to be cast out.

  11. Meta
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The New Yorker: “The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world.”

    While most of Europe stagnates, Germany is an economic juggernaut, with low unemployment and a resilient manufacturing base. The ongoing monetary crisis of the euro zone has turned Germany, Europe’s largest creditor nation, into a regional superpower—one of Merkel’s biographers calls her “the Chancellor of Europe.” While America slides into ever-deeper inequality, Germany retains its middle class and a high level of social solidarity. Angry young protesters fill the public squares of countries around the world, but German crowds gather for outdoor concerts and beery World Cup celebrations. Now almost pacifist after its history of militarism, Germany has stayed out of most of the recent wars that have proved punishing and inconclusive for other Western countries. The latest E.U. elections, in May, saw parties on the far left and the far right grow more popular around the Continent, except in Germany, where the winners were the centrists whose bland faces—evoking economics professors and H.R. managers—smiled on campaign posters, none more ubiquitous than that of Merkel, who wasn’t even on the ballot. American politics is so polarized that Congress has virtually stopped functioning; the consensus in Germany is so stable that new laws pour forth from parliament while meaningful debate has almost disappeared.

    Read more:

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