Europe: Alliance with US 'broken', schism 'getting crazier'
Story Code : 778504
German Chancellor Angela Merkel led the charge Saturday, laying bare just how far apart the US has drifted from its traditional allies and how little Europeans care about concealing their contempt.
The customarily reserved Merkel unleashed a stinging, point-by-point takedown of Trump's tendency to treat its allies as adversaries, turning her fire on America’s “home alone” policy.
The German chancellor lamented that the US-led global order “has collapsed into many tiny parts.” She said multilaterism, with all its complications, was better than isolationism.
“Now that we see great pressure on the classic order we are used to, the question now is: do we fall apart into pieces of a puzzle and think everyone can solve the question best for himself alone?” she said.
Merkel also defended the EU's expansion of ties with Russia, including plans for a new natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
To tackle global issues, she said, Russia's participation was needed and exclusion from talks would be wrong.
Her speech got an extended standing ovation from the audience as Ivanka Trump, the US president’s daughter and a top adviser, looked on stone-faced from the crowd.
The gathering in Munich has traditionally been a chance for the US and its allies to work out their differences with the rest of the world, but since Trump’s election, the focus has shifted to the schisms within the West.
“It’s getting crazier and crazier. I don’t know what next year’s Munich will bring,” said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.
“We need to get used to this. It’s not going to be like the good old times, when everyone comes, gives speeches, everyone applauds, and everyone goes home,” he said.
Merkel was followed to the podium by US Vice President Pence, who was met with only tepid applause and some incredulous looks when he proclaimed Trump “the leader of the free world.”
Pence credited Trump with spurring NATO members to spend more on military but said they were not yet spending enough.
Pence also reiterated a demand for European allies to follow the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying later that he had had “frank discussions” with European allies about the issue.
Merkel said she found the dispute between Europe and the United States on Iran “depressing.”
Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, said the Europeans were previously reluctant to voice out loud their concerns with the US but "now there’s a lot more openly displayed anger about the fact that the relationship is broken."
“The Trump administration doesn’t understand that it’s not just about how much people pay. It’s about a relationship, trust, how you communicate, shared values. That all matters,” he said.