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.”