Having been called a “foe” by President Trump last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that she was right to say a year ago that Europe could no longer rely on the United States to impose order on the world, and that it needed to take matters close to home into its own hands.
“We can’t rely on the superpower of the United States,” Merkel told a news conference in Berlin.
As AntiWar’s Jason Ditz notes, Merkel did not elaborate on exactly what this “order” meant, but it comes in the context of recent polls showing German voters resistant to her desire to increase military spending. This suggests Merkel is trying to sell increased armament as a way to intervene regionally.
Merkel also said she intends to continue to work on improving Germany’s relationship with the United States. This appears to be an uphill battle, with the two nations at odds over a number of issues, but she insisted ties are “crucial.”
Just last week, President Trump said he has “a big problem” with Germany, and the US was threatening to sanction German companies for investing in a Russian energy pipeline. Trump expressed particular anger at the pipeline, saying it means Germany is effective “captive” to Russia.
Putting this accusation into context, Statista’s Sarah Feldman points out that Germany secures roughly three fifths of its energy needs from foreign sources. A fifth of its overall energy consumption comes from natural gas.
You will find more infographics at Statista
These dependency numbers have been creeping up over the past decade and are expected to steadily increase in the years to come as Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, takes effect bringing a stream of natural gas directly into Germany.
In practice, the pipeline issue is more about the US wanting to increase LNG exports to Europe than being worried about Russia increasing trade ties there. Where US and European interests don’t align, however, it seems to fuel tensions, and that’s liable to mean Angela Merkel faces an uphill battle in improving relations.