German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

Offering a tough review in the wake of Trump’s trip to visit E.U., NATO and Group of Seven leaders last week, Merkel told a packed Bavarian beer hall rally that the days when Europe could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

It was a stark declaration from the leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained during periods since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.


Merkel said that Europe’s need to go it alone should be done “of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that works.”

But it was a clear repudiation of Trump’s troubled few days with European leaders, even as she held back from mentioning the U.S. president by name. On Thursday, Trump had stern words for German trade behind closed doors. Hours later, he blasted European leaders at NATO for failing to spend enough on defense, while holding back from offering an unconditional guarantee for European security. Then, at the Group of Seven summit of leaders of major world economies on Friday and Saturday, he refused to endorse the Paris agreements on combating climate change, punting a decision until next week.

Merkel’s comments were similar to some she made shortly after Trump’s November election. But they carry extra heft now that Trump is actually in office – and after Trump had a days-long opportunity to reset relations with Washington’s closest allies. Instead, by most European accounts he strained them even more.

Trump – who returned from his nine-day international trip on Saturday – had a different take.

“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!” Trump wrote on Sunday, reviving a prolific Twitter habit that had slackened during his days on the road.

But many European leaders emerged from their meetings with Trump filled with fresh worry that an earthquake truly had hit transatlantic relations. Trump was far more solicitous toward the autocratic king of Saudi Arabia earlier in the week, telling him and other leaders of Muslim-majority countries – many of them not democratically elected – that he was not “here to lecture.” Days later in Brussels he offered a scathing assessment of Washington’s closest allies, saying they were being “unfair” to American taxpayers.

“The belief in shared values has been shattered by the Trump administration,” said Stephan Bierling, an expert on transatlantic relations at Germany’s University of Regensburg. “After the inauguration, everyone in Europe was hopeful that Trump would become more moderate and take into account the positions of the G-7 and of NATO. But the opposite has happened. It’s as if he is still trying to win a campaign.”

Americans have been working on good transatlantic relations my entire lifetime.  Basically, America has been home of the good guys since World War II.  We were trusted to stand up against communist aggression and we were trusted to help rebuild war-torn Europe.

Apparently all that good-will is teetering on the precipice of non-existence because of the actions of a bumbling buffoon who offends rather than working towards continued good relations.  Every time he opens his mouth, Trump shows how little he knows about diplomacy and history.  He jeopardizes our safety and alliances that have existed for decades.  He is a destabilizing influence.


20 Thoughts to “One A-hole ruins 70 years of trust and good-will in Europe”

  1. Kelly_3406

    Germany spends less than 1.5% of its GDP on its military. It provided only a tenth of the total troop force in Afghanistan (which was only half that provided by the U.K.). During Desert Storm and NATO exercises, those of us who were there were appalled by the low quality and quantity of troops provided by the Germans.

    Despite much wailing and whining by Merkel, a US policy of forcing Europe to improve and expand its military could only improve NATO and make it more relevant in the long term. Europe could easily shift resources to counter threats posed by Russia and ISIS that exist right now rather than to counter climate threats that may not materialize for over 100 years.

    If one wants to truly analyze what hurt the credibility of NATO, look no further than the Ukraine. NATO and the US provided security guarantees to the Ukraine in exchange for it to surrender its nuclear weapons after the fall of the Soviet Union. Years later, when faced with Russian aggression in the Ukraine, Obama and Merkel decided to do nothing.

    So then, who are the real assholes that de-stabilized NATO?

    1. Robin Hood


      I thought that the change of administrations was supposed to be a chance to move on from the past. Instead the past is used as an excuse for ruining NATO.

      We used to have presidents who presented a united front against the Russians in public and dealt with problems with allies in private. What happened to the Republicans who stood up to the Russians?

      1. A stabilized Europe has been a central theme of our foreign policy since after WWII. It didn’t come cheaply. It was built with blood, sweat and tears. Trump seems to be unraveling it, doesn’t it?

    2. Kelly_3406


      Telling the Germans to pay up on defense is hardly ruining NATO. The new Administration should move on from the past only if the problem of inadequate funding was corrected. Robert Gates stated in 2011 that NATO faces a “dim, if not dismal” future because of the disproportionate funding of NATO operations by the US.

      Yesterday’s missile intercept test was a pretty elegant example of standing up to the Russians, as well as to the N Koreans. Check out the video, which was helpfully made public. Putin no doubt has already seen it.

      Reagan must be smiling.

      1. He is probably too ashamed to show his face in public. The smile will never be seen if there is one. Reagan had some social graces.

        The last thing we want our enemies to think is that the NATO members are squabbling over finances. It’s the good will and the “I’ve got your back” that is really important.

        Are you defending Trump?

      2. Robin Hood


        Trump once claimed that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and it wouldn’t matter to his supporters. This reminds me of that.

        I don’t have a problem with urging allies to do their fair share but why do it at a ceremony for a September 11th monument? They came out to help in Afghanistan, so the help has gone in both directions.

        You don’t win by being a bull in a china shop.

    3. Looking at history, I am not so sure I want Germany with the strongest military in Europe. Pardon my paranoia.

      The problem is, Trump offends at every turn. He divides when he should be unifying. He sucks up to authoritarian regimes. He is unknowledgeable about current events and diplomacy as are the people around him.

      Basically, he is dangerous.

      1. Robin Hood


        It was truly refreshing to see Macron confront Putin for his attempt to influence the election in France and I took Merkel’s remarks as a warning not to take us for granted.

  2. Richard Hertz

    Telling the Germans to ‘pay their fair share’ was the right thing to do. When it comes to President Trump being a destabilizing influence try doing a compare/contrast of the middle east before President Obama took office (with SoS Clinton) and when he left and then tell me about destabilizing influences.

    1. Hmmmm…Dick is defending Trump also.
      I am going to operate in the present. Obama was liked pretty much all over the world. Can you say the same thing about Trump?

      He has alienated most of our allies.

      1. Steve Thomas

        “He has alienated most of our allies.”

        You mean like the Saudi’s, the Egyptians, the Israelis, The Philipines, Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan? You know, those that actually matter in dealing with the most eminent threats to our national security: Red China’s expansion, Iranian and N. Korean nukes? I think the Libyans and Syrians might not be too fond of Obama.

        Look, I know those who hate Trump are fixated on Russia, but I believe the threat of T-72’s rolling through the Fulda Gap is long since past. I mean, didn’t Saint Barrack of Chiraq ridicule Mitt Romney for asserting this very thing? Something about “the 1980’s called…they want their foreign policy back”. Oh the laughter from the left. I am sure if I had the time and inclination to scour the comments on the posts here, around October 2012, I’m confident I could find more than a few commenters laughing along with the former President.

        It’s been 72 years since VE Day. Europe was rebuilt with American tax dollars. Europe has been secured with American tax dollars. Every country in the EU is a 1st world country. What have they done without the tremendous burden of defense spending? Built cradle-to-grave social programs, stopped having babies until their population growth fell below replacement rates, and tried to solve this with suicidal immigration policies.

        I say bring all of our European-based troops home, and leave Western Europe to secure themselves.

      2. Robin Hood

        Steve Thomas,

        It’s so nice of you to speak up for Russian interests! Putin would be very pleased if we left our allies to fend for themselves. We did what we did to stop the Soviet Union and your selective outrage at other countries’ social systems is noteworthy.

        Europe has taken some terrorist attacks lately and having them go down puts us one step closer to our enemies. If the dictatorships and tyrants around the rest of the world don’t bother you maybe leaving ourselves more vulnerable should.

      3. Steve Thomas

        Robin Hood,

        Well “Robin Hood”, thanks for the history lesson. It never occurred to me when I, as a young Marine, froze my ass off in Norway, or stood in the soaking rain in NW Germany, that I was there as a deterrent to Soviet aggression. It didn’t occur to me later when I was a more seasoned Marine, pursuing my degrees in History (Military track) or PoliSci (Middle Eastern Affairs), that the Soviet Union had fallen, but the Russians were still, Russian.

        Note that you offer nothing in the way of a refutation to my assertions above. Nothing along the lines of “It’s not the fault of the EU that these countries are being forced to take “refugees”” who then turn around raping, assaulting, and killing the citizens of their host nations. Guess that would throw you on the horns of a logical dilemma. Same goes for my support of Trump’s wanting these nations who are wealthy enough to bring in a bunch of “refugees”, and placing them on the dole, but can’t seem to take on any additional financial burden for having US troops and equipment stationed there. Nope, it’s just easier for you to yammer on about how cruel the Trump budget is, because it limits spending on US social programs, while maintaining spending on US Defense. I mean…we should have enough money to take care of our own economic refugees, our native poor, AND subsidize the defense of Europe.

        Nothing wrong with Trump’s foreign policy, regarding NATO. He ran on it, and was elected on it.

      4. Robin Hood

        Steve Thomas,

        I have better things to do than argue with your opinions of European countries. Half a century ago as a high school debater I learned that the burden of proof is on the affirmative. In plain English that means I don’t have to respond to arrogant pontificating just because you want me to. That’s why we are always advised never to argue with drunks, crazy people or confveve.

        Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.

        By the way, thank you for your service and I’m sorry that you seem to have flipped to the other side.

      5. I have been fixated on Russia most of my life. I wonder why that is?
        It might have been those air raid drills where kids had to dive under desks.

        As for rebuilding Europe–I don’t think we can take all the credit for that one. There was a certain amount of self determination involved. They certainly took hits that Americans never did (thank goodness we didn’t) during the war.

        As for the social programs….find a Brit who doesn’t love NHS.

    2. Robin Hood

      Richard Hertz,

      The goal of a new administration should be to make things better. This guy is making them worse. Your diversion is a waste of time. Of the thirteen presidents in my lifetime none have been perfect but this one is the worst at controlling his own behavior.

      1. You made me stop and count.

        Yes, he is the worst at controlling his own behavior and actually knowing the behavior expected of a president.

      2. Steve Thomas

        Robin Hood:
        Richard Hertz,

        The goal of a new administration should be to make things better. This guy is making them worse. Your diversion is awaste of time. Of the thirteen presidents in my lifetime none have been perfect but this one is the worst at controlling his own behavior.

        and your assertion is nothing short of gratuitous. Controlling his own behavior? I guess getting a “knobbing” from an intern whilst discussing an airstrike on a Belgrade is the epitome of “self control”, (except when the intern gets her blue dress, ahem, marked with a presidential seal).

      3. If we are going to talk about past behaviors, rather than the current situation, then by all means lets discuss JFK, Eisenhower while planning D-Day, FDR, LBJ,…I see no point in going on. It doesn’t matter.

        Those were all private dalliances. I don’t pretend to defend them. Why defend the indefensible? That brings me to my point. Trump has limited social skills and has continued what most of us would term “bad behavior.” He offends.

        My husband told me early on that there are ways to say things: “when I see your face, time stands still” vs “your face it so ugly it would stop a clock.” Trump needs to work on diplomacy and telling the truth.

        I would stop trying to defend the indefensible. At some point, he is going to toe that thin red line where defending him is impossible. Right now, there is only one person at the helm. Trump. It doesn’t matter what the others did.

      4. Robin Hood

        Steve Thomas,

        Your comment is like the advice I got at the fraternity house when faced with an essay test: if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit. Do you really want to compare the pussy grabber’s sex life to anyone else’s?

        He has to be kept busy to stay off Twitter!

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