Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservatives are no longer referring to the United States as a friend in their current German election campaign program. This is a big move because just four years ago, both the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) called the U.S. her country’s most important friend beyond Europe.
In 2013, during the build up to elections, the friendship between Germany and Washington was described as a cornerstone of international relations. There was talk then about transatlantic economic ties being strengthened through trade barrier removal.
However, during the election program this time around, called For a Germany in which we live well and happily, the words friend and friendship are lacking when it comes to talking about the United States. On Monday, both the CSU leader, Horst Seehofer, and Merkel presented the program that will take the country to the election on September 24, according to Reuters.
With his standard retaliation persona, Trump fired back. He stated that Germany is “very bad” for the United States. Instead of being called a friend, Germany refers to the U.S. as their most important partner outside of Europe. The CDU has not commented on why the wording was changed.
However, it was changed, and it underscores the Washington and Berlin relationship and how it has deteriorated since Trump took office as President of the United States in January. Even prior to taking office, during the campaign, Donald Trump said that Merkel was ruining her country with insane migration policies.
Trump repeatedly accused Germany, and other European countries, of owing a lot of money to NATO, not paying their fair share, and denounced Germany’s trade surplus with the U.S. Trump continued to ruffle feathers in Germany and Europe when he pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord.
At the end of Obama’s presidential term, 57 percent of Germans held a favorable view towards the U.S., but according to a Pew Research Center survey a week ago, that has dropped to 35 percent under the Trump presidency.
Now, Trump is getting ready to head to Germany has Angela Merkel will be hosting world leaders at the G20 summit. This could end up being very awkward and embarrassing for the U.S. envoy.
In the campaign program, instead of touting their friendship like in the past, they referred to historical U.S. support. Support following World War II as a new divided Germany was born, all the way up to the reunification of the two countries back into one.
Leading up to the U.S. pulling out of the Paris accord, G7 leaders tried to pressure the U.S. to stay in the agreement, but Trump resisted. This caused Germany to publicly say that relying on others is in the past and Europe must take their own fate into their own hands. Merkel also calls Germany and France the Motor of the European nations, and vows to rebuild the friendship between the two.
What do you think about this change of attitude from Germany towards the U.S.? Do you think it is Trump’s fault, or Angela Merkel’s fault? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Facebook/White House