The US may voluntarily relinquish its status as a world power and Europeans must brace themselves for such a contingency, including by boosting their militaries, the German chancellor has warned.
European nations need “to carry more of the burden than during the cold war” in terms of defense spending, Merkel said, because they cannot assume that the US will be there to protect them.
“We grew up in the certain knowledge that the United States wanted to be a world power. Should the US now wish to withdraw from that role of its own free will, we would have to reflect on that very deeply,” she said, in an interview published in six European newspapers.
The German leader stopped short of advocating a joint EU military force, the idea favored by French President Emmanuel Macron. She said she saw the value of NATO capabilities, including the shared nuclear umbrella, in a world of the rising Asian powers China and India.
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The French leader has a much more skeptical attitude towards the transatlantic defense bloc. Last year he said NATO was “brain dead.”
Merkel lamented the increasing selfishness of nations today, which, she said, contrasts with the unified multilateral response to the 2008 financial crisis. “These days, we have to do all we can to stop ourselves collapsing into protectionism,” she said.
If Europe wants to be heard, then it needs to set a good example.
Protectionist approaches are at the core of the Trump administration’s foreign policy. Under Trump, Washington pushed for the renegotiation of trade deals that the US president saw as unfavorable to his country. He also dialed up to 11 the criticism of European NATO members like Germany, which fail to meet their military spending obligations, calling them freeloaders. And his administration has made confrontation with China on all fronts a priority, ramping up the pressure on third nations to scare them away from cooperating with Beijing. (RT)