The strained relationship between Germany and the US does not appear as if it’s going to abate and in response to Angela Merkel’s criticism, the US President, Donald Trump fired back on Tuesday through Twitter. The POTUS tweeted that the US already had a massive trade deficit with Germany yet the European country contributed very little to NATO. Trump added that this was going to change very soon. The tweet comes barely a day after Merkel made it clear that it was time for Germany and other EU countries to take back control of their own security saying the US and the UK could no longer provide leadership in the military alliance.
In a campaign event in Germany, Merkel said that the times we are in today are no longer conducive to rely on other countries. She said that this was her experience in the last few days and would, of course, mean in the G7 summit where she had the chance to hold talks with Trump and other leaders solidified her statements. Merkel called on other European countries to take their destiny into their own hands. Even though the German Chancellor reiterated that relations with the US were obviously important, it was still prudent for Germany to start looking elsewhere. It’s not the first time that the US President is criticizing trade deficit.
The POTUS has for a long time held the view that the US had been shortchanged by other countries in global trade, something that he promised to fix during the campaign. Trump has already picked fights with Canada, Mexico, and China. The US Census Bureau reported that the trade deficit between the US and Germany stands at $64.9 billion. The US President expressed his dissatisfaction with the deficit again after meeting the EU officials on Thursday last week.
The issue raised by the POTUS largely focused on German cars that were being imported into the US. He termed the trade between the two countries as “Bad Trade” according to a report by the German news outlet Der Spiegel. Trump’s stance was later confirmed by the National Economic Council Director, Gary Cohn, who is also an advisor to the White House. Cohn said that Trump had suggested that the Germans were very bad with trade. He also cautioned that these sentiments should not be interpreted to mean that Trump has a problem with Germany.
There is also the “small issue” of NATO. Trump is on record expressing discontent with the NATO members saying that they failed to contribute their fair share to keep the alliance operational. He added that many countries under the NATO alliance were not spending the suggested 2% of GDP in national defense and this, according to the POTUS, has to change. However, many analysts on foreign policy have thrown cold water on Trump’s argument saying that the 2% of GDP in defense spending was supposed to be spent on the armies of the individual countries, not contributed to the NATO. Besides, the target is expected to be realized by 2024.