Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Europe can no longer rely on the United States to impose order worldwide, and that European nations need to be ready to take matters into their own hands.
Merkel did not elaborate on exactly what this “order” meant, but it comes in the context of recent polls showing German voters resistant to her desire to increase military spending. This suggests Merkel is trying to sell increased armament as a way to intervene regionally.
Merkel also said she intends to continue to work on improving Germany’s relationship with the United States. This appears to be an uphill battle, with the two nations at odds over a number of issues, but she insisted ties are “crucial.”
Just last week, President Trump said he has “a big problem” with Germany, and the US was threatening to sanction German companies for investing in a Russian energy pipeline. Trump expressed particular anger at the pipeline, saying it means Germany is effective “captive” to Russia.
In practice, the pipeline issue is more about the US wanting to increase LNG exports to Europe than being worried about Russia increasing trade ties there. Where US and European interests don’t align, however, it seems to fuel tensions, and that’s liable to mean Merkel faces an uphill battle in improving relations.