Trump undercuts White House messaging in critical remarks about Germany's trade surplus
- Author: Julie Sanders May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 20:51
Tension between Germany and the United States intensified Tuesday with President Donald Trump accusing the longtime U.S. ally of hurting the USA financially. His administration has previously accused Germany of manipulating the euro, creating a trade surplus with the US.
The comments follow criticisms of the US from both of Germany's ruling coalition parties, including directly from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"Others", in this case, seems to be a euphemism; Merkel was clearly talking about the USA, according to The Washington Post.
He also appeared to respond to Mr. Trump's conduct during the G-7 summit of rich countries over the weekend.
She said the existing Western alliance had been threatened by the current U.S. presidency and Brexit, meaning Germany could no longer fully count on its biggest allies.
Trump flipped traditional US foreign policy upside down on his tour through the Middle East and Europe, coddling Middle Eastern leaders with questionable human rights records while demanding traditional European allies pay more for their defense.
"Transatlantic ties are of paramount importance to us. but the current situation gives more reasons for.us to take our destiny in our own hands", Merkel told an election rally in Munich, stressing that "Europe must become a player active in global affairs".
President Trump lashed out at Germany early Tuesday, promising to reduce the trade deficit with the country - and get it to pay more for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its military.
"But many examples show us that at the end of the day, one can only bring peace and stability by developing economic perspectives and hope for the young generations, certainly not through military spending alone", he said.
Where Europe's relationship with the USA during the Cold War and in its immediate aftermath had a strong emotional component, Merkel's comments suggest she now sees them as more "pragmatic and transactional", said Sylke Tempel, an expert with the German Council on Foreign Relations.
"The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over", she told the rally in Munich.
"My husband worked very hard on this trip and I am very proud of him", she said.
"Our economic partnership is still below its full potential", said the Prime Minister who is here on the first leg of his 4-nation tour.
President Donald Trump took to social media to blast Germany, a key US ally that he asserted was unfairly benefiting from trade and the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).
"Very few people would know that Bundesliga has a widespread following in India", he said in his speech after the two countries put pen to paper on several key MoUs and agreements that included youth development.