“A majority of French and Germans now trust Russia and China more than the United States”

Donald Trump is shaking up international relations. Some of this may eventually be for the better. He things he deserves a Nobel Peace prize – see Trump boasted at a news conference on Friday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had given him a copy of a five-page letter he’d sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which selects the annual Peace Prize laureates – but that is debatable.

But the Trump doctrine (chaos and shoot from the tweet) is also very risky and threatens the established super power balances.

And at increasing risk is relationships between the US and Europe.

Longtime analyst of German-American relations Karl Kaiser: “Two years of Mr. Trump, and a majority of French and Germans now trust Russia and China more than the United States.”

NY Times:  Rift Between Trump and Europe Is Now Open and Angry

European leaders have long been alarmed that President Trump’s words and Twitter messages could undo a trans-Atlantic alliance that had grown stronger over seven decades. They had clung to the hope that those ties would bear up under the strain.

But in the last few days of a prestigious annual security conference in Munich, the rift between Europe and the Trump administration became open, angry and concrete, diplomats and analysts say.

A senior German official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on such matters, shrugged his shoulders and said: “No one any longer believes that Trump cares about the views or interests of the allies. It’s broken.”

The most immediate danger, diplomats and intelligence officials warned, is that the trans-Atlantic fissures now risk being exploited by Russia and China.

The Europeans no longer believe that Washington will change, not when Mr. Trump sees traditional allies as economic rivals and leadership as diktat. His distaste for multilateralism and international cooperation is a challenge to the very heart of what Europe is and needs to be in order to have an impact in the world.

But beyond the Trump administration, an increasing number of Europeans say they believe that relations with the United States will never be the same again.

International relations never remain the same, they keep evolving, but the Trump thump could end up being a seismic shift in power balances.

If Europe moves closer to Russia and China this will further isolate the US. To an extent this is what Trump wants, he puts nationalism well ahead of international interests, but he may not understand the potential repercussions and unintended consequences.

The most visible pushback against Washington came from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — who delivered an unusually passionate speech — and from her defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen. They spoke about the dangers of unilateral actions by major partners without discussing the consequences with allies.

They cited Mr. Trump’s recent announcements that American troops would leave northern Syria and Afghanistan, as well as the administration’s decision to suspend one of the last remaining arms-control agreements: the ban on land-based intermediate range missiles.

That decision affects European security, and there has been no alternative strategy, Ms. Merkel said. Abandoning the treaty, despite Russia’s violations, helps decouple Germany from the American nuclear umbrella.

“We sit there in the middle with the result,” Ms. Merkel said.

The Syria pullout, she continued, could only help Russia and Iran. That view was echoed by the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who called American policy in Syria “a mystery to me.”

Trump’s Syrian policy is contentious within the US. Immediately following his announcement of the US pulling out of Syria, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis resigned.

Last week: Russia, Iran, Turkey to hold fourth round of Syria talks in Sochi

Thursday’s meeting between Putin, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will focus on the long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday.

But the three leaders will also discuss projects and coordination on the international arena.

The Syria talks run in parallel to the Geneva talks organised by the United Nations.

But Russia distrusts the negotiations organised by the West. On Wednesday, Russia stayed away from a Middle East conference organised by the United States in Poland, a NATO member.

Last month (Fox News):  Trump administration riles European Union with diplomatic snub

President Trump has angered European Union officials by downgrading the E.U. delegation to Washington’s diplomatic status — and not telling them.

The move by the State Department, reported by Germany’s Deutsche Welle, downgraded the E.U.’s Washington delegation from member state to international organization.

“We don’t exactly know when they did it, because they conveniently forgot to notify us,” an E.U. official told the outlet, which reported that the move initially happened in October or November.

Two days ago (Fox News): In Munich, Pence doubles down on criticism of Europe over Iran nuclear deal, urges removal of Maduro

Vice President Mike Pence asked European allies to follow Washington’s lead and withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and urged the European Union to recognize Venezuelan politician Juan Guaido as the country’s president during a speech to world leaders at the Munich Security Conference.

“The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining sanctions” against Iran by offering economic incentives in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, Pence said Saturday, speaking after German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

MSNBC: Pence met with silence; Merkel hammers Trump

While speaking at the 55th Munich Security Conference, VP Mike Pence was met with silence after mentioning President Trump. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the Trump administration’s foreign policies.

Wall Street Journal:  Munich Conference Highlights a Divided U.S.

A divided America was on display this weekend in Munich where Vice President Mike Pence and Democrats including his predecessor Joe Biden offered competing visions of the trans-Atlantic relationship that could shape the world for years to come.

Both Mr. Pence and the Democrats claimed to stand for U.S. leadership on the world stage and accused each other of wrecking a world order that is under threat by rival powers, namely China and Russia.

Mr. Pence presented a strong defense of the Trump administration’s “America First” policy to world leaders gathered for the annual Munich Security Conference. The theme this year, “Picking Up the Pieces,” reflected a view widely shared among European nations: that the world order is in danger because of a breakdown in the relationship between the U.S. and its European allies.

Politico.eu: Munich Insecurity Conference

The Munich Security Conference — a forum conceived during the Cold War to discuss security threats and challenges — has never been an event for the faint of heart. Even so, the mood at this year’s gathering, the 55th, would best be described as funereal.

It’s no secret Europeans and Americans (i.e. the Trump administration) have been at odds over a laundry list of issues including the Iranian nuclear deal, climate policy, trade and commitment to NATO. Yet the interaction between the two sides in Munich — which bordered on the caustic, both in public and behind the scenes — left some participants warning that the estrangement threatens to hobble the transatlantic security alliance at a time of growing instability.

Instability heightens risks.

James Stavridis, a retired American admiral who served as NATO’s supreme allied commander until 2013, said the alliance’s paralysis was most apparent where it can least afford it: hybrid warfare, an area that all sides agree poses a severe threat to the stability of democratic systems.

The threat to democratic systems is not just in the US and Europe.

ABC (Australia): Scott Morrison reveals foreign government hackers targeted Liberal, Labor and National parties in attack on Parliament’s servers

He confirmed earlier reports, revealed by the ABC, that the nation’s cyber security agencies believed a foreign government was behind the attacks.

“Our cyber experts believe that a sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious activity,” Mr Morrison told Parliament.

Investigations into hacking and foreign interference in elections in the US are controversial, but connstitutes a major threat to democratic systems.

Back to Europe: Angela Merkel Ruffled at Prospect of More Trump Hardball Tactics, Sources Say

Merkel’s chancellery team is concerned at the prospect of further hardball tactics from the Trump administration after fending off U.S. efforts to turn her European Union partners against a new gas pipeline between Germany and Russia, the people said, asking not to be named discussing private conversations.

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.

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.”

If Trump keeps pissing other countries off he will get what he wants to an extent, a more isolated US. What fills that power vacuum could constitute a major shift in international power balances.

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10 Comments

  1. David

     /  19th February 2019

    And most Americans dont trust the Europeans and most never have. Merkel demands the US stand up to Russia while doing a deal for a gas pipeline with a former Chancellor and her mentor sits on the board of said company. She promised to spend more for Germanys defence and hasnt but expects the Americans to be the backbone of NATO.
    She bemoans the US pulling its 2000 troops out of Syria where the civil war is coming to an end, perhaps they arnt welcome in someone elses country any more and if a presence is needed send your own damn troops if its that important.
    And on top of all that Germany and France are more than happy to prop up the terrorist supporting human rights abusing regime in Iran because her,s and Macrons political donors are mopping up in business in Tehran.
    Look at the EU where the far right is resurgent, Spains socialist government folded yesterday, compared to the US where tolerance reigns. The haughty Europeans have never liked America that much but liked that nice Obama guy so held their noses for a while.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  19th February 2019

    2 more years of Trump and the continual decline of the US…will be good for the rest of the world.

    ‘Our cyber experts believe that a sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious activity,” Mr Morrison told Parliament.’….no evidence and the reality that western Govts try and spy on friends and allies is lost on these guys.

    Australia is Americas staunchest allie,and the connection with NZ stymies independent foreign policy.

    With the U.K a member of 5 eyes giving the go ahead to Huawei,NZ should do the same.

    The U.S can proceed with an isolationist policy…they will suffer.

    Reply
  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  19th February 2019

    Germany and France like Russia more than the USA ?
    Lol.
    As if.
    Every one says they hate the USA.
    It’s fashionable.
    As soon as there is some kind of emergency though
    they semaphore for help to the nearest US aircraft carrier.

    Reply
  4. The Consultant

     /  19th February 2019

    Ho hum. Heard it all before during Reagan’s time.

    They spoke about the dangers of unilateral actions by major partners without discussing the consequences with allies.

    Jesus Christ. You can’t be a politician without having a thick-skin, and a complete lack of self-awareness. She said that! She’s the one who decided to haul in a million ME refugees, a decision that has fractured the EU, led to a huge slide in popularity of both herself and her party in Germany, and made her one of the most hated politicians in Europe.

    Not to mention that gas pipeline with Russia, which “Mr Russia Collusion” has been warning about for two years now as increasing Germany’s dependence on Putin, FFS.

    And then there’s the hapless state of the German military, which Ars Technica & Der Spiegel. Some ally. The rest of Western NATO is not much better, barring France.

    “A majority of French and Germans now trust Russia and China more than the United States

    Uh huh. Well more fool them in that case. Besides, if these reporters and analysts talk to the nations of Eastern Europe and Asia they’ll find a very different attitude towards the USA and Russia/China.

    But such answers would not fit this narrative.

    Reply
  5. NOEL

     /  19th February 2019

    Many countries including our own have had a percentage who have never trusted the USA.
    The fact that the numbers have increased should not be a surprise.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  19th February 2019

      Not a few..most of the Left in New Zealand. Jew hating, America as the ‘Great Satan’…. standard rhetoric for the hateful Left.

      Reply
  6. Amadeus

     /  19th February 2019

    Are they interviewing the refugees now?

    Reply
  7. Corky

     /  19th February 2019

    Idiots… they are on life support.. who cares who these future Islamic states trust.

    Reply
  8. unitedtribes2

     /  19th February 2019

    Dear dear, first Britain then USA. Arent we getting pissy. After all isn’t it our job to pull all the strings.

    Reply

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