Q&A: The Political and Economic Crisis between Trump and Europe, Especially Germany
The political and economic crisis between Trump and Europe, especially Germany, has recently escalated. Although Trump’s escalation was expected to be limited to the electoral phase, as is usually the case with the candidates in the West, but he continued to escalate the crisis after he took office. What are the reasons for this? And why is the biggest escalation with Germany? What are the expected results after the escalating crises between America and Europe, especially with Germany? May Allah reward you with the good.
First: What caused the escalation of this political and economic crisis is what Trump did during the electoral phase and beyond of provocative actions towards the allies, not to mention the agents:
1- The American president insisted, according to his convictions announced during his 2016 election campaign, that the NATO countries owe the United States because of the significant contribution of America to the budget of the alliance, and that these countries must pay back the United States for protection in the past decades! After taking office in 20/1/2017, the American president tried to apply these convictions and to turn them into official positions of the US. He asked the Europeans, especially the Germans, to contribute more to the budget of NATO, the alliance that Trump showed great doubts about. He also complained to the Germans about the deficit of his country’s trade balance with Germany. In his first meeting with the German chancellor in Washington, it was reported that “US President Donald Trump met Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House; the tension and differences were clear especially on the files of free trade and immigration …” (France 24, 17/3/2017). Before he met with her, US President Donald Trump said that Germany “owes NATO” large sums and that Berlin had to pay the United States more to defend it.
He said that the day after his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Trump wrote on Twitter “Nevertheless, Germany owes … vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany!” “… (Al-Youm As-Sabi’ 18/3/2017). Germany has refused to deal with America with this mentality of the head of the Mafia which asks for royalties: “The German Federal Minister of Defense rejected on Sunday the accusation by US President Donald Trump that her country is in debt to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with large sums, and to the United States for military expenses, Ursula von der Leyenn, who is close to Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement, “There is no account that recorded debts to NATO, “adding that expenditures within NATO should not be the only standard for measuring Germany’s military efforts.” (France 24, 19/3/2017).
2- At the NATO summit on 25/5/2017, the American president increased the tone of his speech against European countries over their financial contribution to the alliance: “US President Donald Trump, addressed NATO leaders; his speech confounded the audience with the astonishment and surprise; in shocking statements about the US support for the NATO, Trump appeared in a video scolding and lecturing NATO leaders, and their reactions expressed their surprise, especially the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump said in the video, to the leaders of the NATO countries: “”Members of the alliance must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” and he scolded them: “Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States,” He said that: ” allies “owe massive amounts of money from past years,”He increased his rebuke to the leaders of states by saying: “over the past eight years, America has spent more support for the NATO alliance than that spent by all NATO countries combined.” It was clear that the leaders of the NATO countries were surprised by Trump’s statements, and began to eye each other and showed the effects of tension because of his unprecedented and unexpected speech. Trump ridiculed NATO leaders, saying:”I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Trump said, bringing attention to the glass structure. “I refuse to do that…”(CNN, Arabic 21, 27/2017).
– All these statements and positions of Trump caused the formation of these crises and escalation with Europe.
Second, why did the crisis escalate more with Germany than other European countries, this is due to the following reasons:
1- Germany is the largest financial center in Europe and the fourth largest economy in the world after America, China and Japan, so Trump’s eyes were still heading towards it in an attempt to make a lot of money for the United States especially as the US allegedly claims that Russia is a threat to Germany in order to make Germany participate and contribute more to NATO; a pretext used by America against all European countries, especially in the East, to increase their military link with America.
2- This is the same regarding Germany’s little spending on NATO; Berlin spends 1.2% of its national income on the military ($42 billion). Hence, it spends less than France whose military spending is 1.79% of its national product ($44 billion). NATO states have agreed that each member will spend 2% of its national product, which only Britain abides by as well as a few other peripheral countries in Europe, but the main countries in the continent are not committed to. Note that the United States spends 3.61% of its national income on the military aspects (664 billion dollars), making alone the owner of more than two thirds of military spending within NATO (military spending figures listed above as published by the New Arabic site 27/5/2017 of spending in 2016).
3- The trade balance between America and Germany tips in the latter direction very much, about 60 billion Euros. The German-American trade volume reached 165 billion Euros in 2016, of which 107 billion Euros is the volume of American imports from Germany, according to Arabic 21 on 24/2/2017. Therefore, the volume of the German imports from America is the remaining 58 billion! As a result, Trump lost his temper and escalated his remarks against Germany: “President Donald Trump, during his meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels, complained about Germany’s trade policy,” Der Spiegel quoting participants at the summit. An informed source said to the Magazine that Trump said on this that: “The Germans are bad, very bad, look at the millions of cars they sell in the United States, terrible … We will stop that …” (Russia Today, 26/5/2017). In addition, US President Donald Trump tweeted on his Twitter account . We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.”
4- When the NATO summit ended and the G7 Summit failed in Italy on the climate, Germany rushed to defend Europe and was leading the European position. According to Al Jazeera Net, 29/5/2017, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticized the American president and described his policy as “Short-sighted” and that America under the leadership of Trump has no longer a leading position in the Western international community, “Al-Youm As-Sabi’ quoted on 29/5/2017 the German Minister: “The movements of US President Donald Trump “weakened” the West. He added that Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk”.Stressing that “the shortsighted policies of Washington are damaging the interests of the European Union.” The German Minister’s remarks came one day after other shocking statements by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “Angela Merkel said she was finally convinced that Europe can no longer rely on others, in reference to Washington, which in recent days has exerted great pressure to extract gains from its allies.” Bild Newspaper quoted Merkel as saying: The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out …I’ve experienced that in the last few days.” And goes on to say, “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.” (Russia Today 28/5/2017).
5- America began to notice a German semi-rebellion against America, and that Germany is trying to lead Europe to stand against America especially since Germany is at the forefront of many European positions, and seeks to impose itself as a global power even without possessing nuclear weapons. Germany was waiting for an international chance that allows it to dominate, and today it sees that the climate in Europe and the world is helping it regain its greatness quickly, so it does not care to be at the fore front of European countries against the American policies and Russia. The reality of this very new atmosphere and the rapid preparation for Germany is as follows:
A- With the beginning of the process of British exiting the European Union, Germany was freed from the restrictions imposed by the Britain and France on its international movement through the European Union; it was captive to the European consensus which often served Britain and France internationally.
B- With the emergence of weakness in the US policy, which was clearly demonstrated by the adoption of the new president Trump the policy of “America First”, the liberation of Germany from the American restrictions became easier as Germany was subordinate to America by the common interests of the West, but today America is publicly looking for its interests without taking into account the common interests of its allies, so Germany has found sufficient justification to formulate its own policy regardless of US policy. This Trump policy is creating a strong atmosphere for the re-emergence of Germany. Though Germany, along with the rest of Europe, saw how the former Obama administration removed it from the Syrian crisis and brought Russia from afar for that, but that administration did not disregard its leadership and implications for the Western world. However, Trump’s administration today openly and less tactfully disavows its Europeans allies, and is focused on one aspect of its greatness; that is, the American economy and the financial burdens borne by America for its leadership of the world, and this is short-sightedness, and America is suffering from it and it will have repercussions.
C- The fundamental changes in France. The recent elections in France revealed a fundamental change in French political life. The influence of the right-wing and socialist parties that ruled France after the Second World War has weakened. The recent 2017 elections toppled the icons of those parties totally, and replaced them with a young president that does not belong to any long-standing party in politics. This drives Germany to compete with France firmly in the political leadership of Europe.
This is why the German reactions to Trump’s policy were the most prominent in Europe, and were free of electoral games. Merkel’s opponents in the next election stood by her against the American policies. (Martin Schultz, head of the Social Democrats party and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rival, proposed a five-point plan for a strong Europe in the face of US President Donald Trump. (Schulz, who will compete against Chancellor Angela Merkel for the post of Chancellor, said during a reception organized by the parliamentary bloc of his Socialist Party to economic figures on Wednesday in Berlin that: “a strong Europe is crucial for our peace and prosperity and our security” (Rai Al-Youm website, 31/5/2017). Martin Schulz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rival, has called on all the democracies in Europe to “show President Donald Trump his limits.” Schulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party, said Monday in Berlin that “the duty of the hour is to stand In the face of this man with all that we represent, and also in the face of his dangerous policy of armaments that he wants to force upon us.” (Arabic 21, 29/5/2017)
This is the German reality, which Trump sees and hears, and increases his attack on Germany!
Third, the expected outcome of these international political changes is likely to be:
The widening of the American-European divide will result in a gap that is not easy to fill unless America wakes up and mends this before the end of the Trump’s presidency. What indicates this and confirms it is the withdrawal of the Trump administration from the Paris climate agreement on 2/6/2017, leaving America in front of a storm of European criticisms which described the American step as wrong and dangerous, and demanded the world to rely on the European leadership in the climate change challenge. In a rare joint statement issued yesterday in Rome, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni expressed regret for the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and for the failure to adopt the European initiative to defy climate change, stressing at the same time the renegotiation of the agreement. In Paris, Macron considered that the US President made a historic mistake to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Earlier yesterday, the European Commissioner for the move on Climate “Miguel Arias Canete” said, “that the world can continue to rely on Europe to lead the fight against global warming,” expressing his great regret for” the unilateral decision of the Trump’s administration. “(Al Jazeera Net 2/6/2017), and this fracture includes the major European countries, except for Britain, which crawls like a snake, moving away from it in its habit to be more adhering to America in the hope to have a more important place in the world.
The European scene will see the emergence of more German leadership at the political and economic levels, and what indicates this and confirms it is the German officials’ heading of the response to US policies and the announcement of Germany’s desire to bring the dispute with the United States to the public. If this is increased, it will weaken Europe greatly and, at the end, can lead to a rapid heavy armament of Germany.
– These two issues deserve to be observed closely because what will result in them will affect the emergence of a new phase in international politics and hence the international position.
Fourth: It is painful that these major changes are taking place in the world, and this new international climate; all come in the absence of the State of Islam, the Khilafah state (Caliphate). Muslims do not benefit from this climate and those changes, and still a handful of rulers in the Muslim countries work to prevent Islam from emerging and influencing the international arena. Moreover, they surrender the Ummah’s economic potential to save America instead of destroying it! But these and their masters will not stay for long against the current, for their master is rotting away, and the current of the Ummah, which is formed by the sincere and with them millions of Muslims who are pushing to bring Allah’s Laws in ruling and the establishment of their Deen by the Khilafah on the method of Prophethood, is a steady current and is rising and will bear fruits soon, Allah (Al-Aziz, Al-Hakeem) willing,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
“Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent”
12 Ramadan 1438 AH