German-US relations after a year of Trump: what has changed? | 1/12/2018 | Staff
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Politicians in Germany generally keep quiet on the domestic politics of other states. But as Trump’s run for public office became ever more serious, senior politicians in Berlin couldn’t stop themselves expressing their distaste.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then Foreign Minister now President, described the brash billionaire as a “hate preacher”. His SPD colleague Sigmar Gabriel, meanwhile, labelled him a “threat to peace”.

Chancellor - Angela - Merkel - Rise - Estate

While Chancellor Angela Merkel kept quiet on the rise of the real estate mogul, it is an open secret that she would have preferred to have met another female in the Oval Office after the November 2016 election.

Top of the list of German concerns about a Trump administration were his insinuations that the US would no longer automatically come to the defence of Europe in the event of an attack on a NATO member. And the fact that he repeatedly barracked Germany for its trade surplus with the US in his first few weeks in office did nothing to slow pulses on the Spree.

Year - Trump - Office - Dust - US

A year after Trump took office, the dust has settled somewhat. But, with the US still not having an ambassador in Berlin, confusion remains over how exactly he wants to deal with Germany.

“Policy makers are just as bewildered now as they were 12 months ago,” Dr. Michael Wohlgemuth, a foreign policy expert at Open Europe Berlin, told The Local. “There is still confusion about what exactly he is up to.”

Side - Relations - Raison - D'être - Wohlgemuth

What seems clear on the European side though is that “transatlantic relations have lost their self-evident raison d'être,” argues Wohlgemuth.

“In Europe there is a realization that we cannot rely on our US partner anymore. One beneficial effect has been that this has urged Europeans to get their act together.”

Wohlgemuth - Points - Impetus - EU - Defence

Wohlgemuth points to a renewed impetus in EU common defence plans which have taken place over the past 12 months, with...
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