Trump v Merkel

Relations between Washington and Berlin have gotten cool in recent years, and yesterday Berlin had to assert it's independence from the U.S.

Germany will define its own security standards for a new 5G mobile network, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, after Washington said it would scale back data-sharing with Berlin if China’s Huawei was allowed to participate.
Michael Grosse-Broemer, a conservative leader in parliament, said Germany was competent to address its own security, adding, “There is no need for pointers from the U.S. ambassador.”
...His threat to slap sanctions on German firms involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline also proved counterproductive, shutting down potential critics of the project as German politicians are reluctant to be seen as bowing to U.S. pressure, experts said.

“Political smoothness is not his thing and he’s proud of that. You could say he was the most undiplomatic diplomat Washington ever had here,” said Ruediger Lentz, executive director the Aspen Institute Germany.

Huawei couldn't help but point out the irony of Washington's warnings about intercepting communications.

"Due to Edward Snowden's disclosures, we know that American intelligence services are very active in this field."
Berger asserted that Huawei systems had no "back doors": "We do not give any information to the Chinese government, nor do we give any information to the US government or any government in the world. We make sure our technology is as secure as possible to protect the data of those who use the technology," the spokesperson underscored, suggesting that, perhaps, this very fact did not suit Washington's interests.

"The more Huawei gets involved in network development, the less opportunity [US] special services have," Berger said. "This is just a guess, but everything is pretty obvious."

There are several things that are obvious here.
First, that Washington has little interest in Germany's security, whether it involves Huawei or Nord Stream 2, and everyone knows it.


Second, the Trump Administration only knows how to bully, and that doesn't work against large, proud, independent nations.
In fact, the bullying has an increasing negative effect, but since the Trump Administration has no other tools but bullying, all they can is repeatedly double down on a losing bet.

The U.S. effort to drive a wedge between Germany and its EU allies had helped spur Merkel to deliver one of her most impassioned speeches when she addressed the meeting earlier in the day. Her defense of the multilateral order challenged by Trump earned a standing ovation from the audience of presidents, prime ministers and senior defense officials.
“Merkel was on fire,” former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt said on Twitter. “Her #MSC2019 speech had force and conviction as seldom before.”
...She also added a geopolitical dimension to her argument, warning that isolating Russia at a moment of tectonic shifts in global relations was not in Europe’s interests.

“Consciously shutting Russia out politically, I think that’s also wrong,” Merkel said. “Europe can’t have a geopolitical interest in halting all relations to Russia.”

Trump has also had a falling out with Macron in recent months.

“Allies are not vassals,” Macron said.
...“So I’ll reply in English: ‘Common decency’ would have been appropriate.”
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The U.S. leaned on German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month to conduct a naval maneuver in Russia’s backyard aimed at provoking President Vladimir Putin, according to three people familiar with the talks.

At a Feb. 16 meeting at the Munich Security Conference, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged Merkel to send German warships through a narrow channel between the Crimean peninsula and mainland Russia to show Putin that Western powers won’t surrender their access to those waters, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The German leader refused, they said, citing reservations from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. A spokesman for the chancellor declined to comment.

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I truly believe he has zero grasp of how international relations and diplomacy work, that it isn't a POTUS showing up somewhere for a photo-op handshake and some authoritative sound bytes. I don't think he cares either. I imagine that the simplistic view of America as the World's Sole and Rightful Sherriff is easy for Donald Trump to understand and get behind, and maybe his advisors explain it that way. (I can't fathom trying to make him understand geopolitics, so maybe they default to America = good, Enemies = bad, everyone else = who cares (but probably bad). If anyone saw the movie Game Change, based on the behind-the-scenes book covering the McCain-Palin 2008 ticket, there was a scene in which a couple of policy advisors had to help Sarah Palin with foreign policy basics. At one point, one of them points to a map and says "this is Germany" while she takes notes on cards. That's what I imagine briefing Donald Trump is like, just with more hand puppets, shouting, and fast food.)

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mimi's picture

That will give broken noses, broken egos and broken relationships. I mean, they just harvest what they sow. People will cry after Merkel is gone. The lady she has supported for her place, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, err Crap-Karrenpusher is a ... well ... and I just hope that people know that there are worse options than having a chancellor Merkel.

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just beat on people and they’ll just meekly submit. Bolton, Trump, Neo-Con/Libs are invariably judging others by themselves. Despite the fact nobody can point to this approach working against any nation anywhere.

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Orwell: Where's the omelette?

Pluto's Republic's picture

...from local bully vassal state to sovereign self-government, one would think that would have happened when the US dragged Angela Merkel's underpants onto the world stage after she discovered that she and all German citizens had been under full spectrum surveillance by the NSA for years. But instead, Merkel had a tiny public pout then took her fury and humiliation out on Greece by whipping it into destruction on behalf of the IMF.

Germany has yet to redeem itself. But if it requires a Donald Trump to finally liberate Germany and allow them to restore their dignity, sovereignty, and independence, so be it. It's long past time to close those US military bases and restore the land for the German people to enjoy, don't you think?

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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire