One day after Donald Trump infuriated Angela Merkel and the rest of his G-7 peers, when the US president refused to endorse the Paris climate treaty, prompting the German chancellor to say that “the whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory… here we have the situation that six members, or even seven if you want to add the EU, stand against one”, Germany’s prime minister made what many have dubbed, an „era-defining” statement.
Speaking at a CDU election rally in Munich, Merkel said that Europe „must take its fate into its own hands” or as the AFP put it, „Merkel warns US, Britain no longer reliable partners.”
Faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency, Merkel said „die zeiten, in denen wir uns auf andere völlig verlassen konnten, sind ein Stück vorbei”, or loosely translated „the times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out” and added that „I’ve experienced that in the last few days.”
Merkel then said that while Germany and Europe would strive to remain on good terms with America and Britain, „we have to fight for our own destiny” and she also said that special emphasis was needed on warm relations between Berlin and newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.
Her comments came after Trump said during the G-7 meeting he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal, which has frustrated European diplomats. A subseqent report by Axios, Trump privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that „he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change” which will likely further infurate his European allies.
During his trip, Trump also echoed his past criticism of NATO allies for failing to meet the defensive alliance’s military spending commitment of two percent of GDP.
Observers noted that he neglected to publicly endorse the pact’s Article Five, which guarantees that member countries will aid the others they are attacked. The omission was especially striking as he unveiled a memorial to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the US, the only time the mutual defense clause has been triggered.
On Friday, Trump also described German trade practices as „bad, very bad,” in Brussels talks last week, complaining that Europe’s largest economy sells too many cars to the US.
Reactions to Merkel’s striking comment came pouring in from the likes of Edwar
… the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Richard Haass, who called it a „watershed moment”
… the editor of the Financial Times, calling it a”big moment in transatlantic relations”
… and many others:
In short, it seems that the time for a New-er World Order may be at hand, and many are not too happy.