A Trans-Atlantic Turning Point: What Was Merkel Thinking?

An historical turning point or mere campaign bluster? Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Sunday speech on relations with Donald Trump’s America has raised eyebrows the world over. What did she mean?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Bavarian beer tent where she made her comments on Sunday


German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Bavarian beer tent where she made her comments on Sunday

May 29, 2017 
A “potentially seismic shift” wrote the New York Times . A “new chapter in U.S.-European relations,” proclaimed the Washington Post. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments made in a beer tent in Munich on Sunday have made headlines around the world. It was the kind of appearance the likes of which she will make hundreds of times ahead of Sept. 24 parliamentary elections in Germany. But in this speech, she clearly distanced herself from U.S. President Donald Trump. And she urged Europe to prepare for a future in which it has to be much more self-reliant.

“The times in which we could completely rely on others are over to a certain extent. That is what I experienced in the last few days,” Merkel said. “That is why I can only say: We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.”

She went on to say: “Of course in friendship with the United States of America.” She emphasized friendship with the U.S. on a few other occasions in her remarks as well. But then said: “We have to fight for our own future, as Europeans, for our destiny.”

Merkel’s comments were unusual on several levels. It’s not just what she had to say that was interesting, but also why and when: at a folk festival following a series of summits during which she spent extensive amounts of time with Trump. The chancellor made direct reference to her strenuous week, during which the U.S. president managed to alienate his partners on several occasions.

Despite the directness of Merkel’s Sunday speech, however, there are several open questions that need to be answered:

1. Why did her comments cause such a stir around the world?   (read more)

2. Why did Merkel choose the words she chose?   (read more)

3. To what degree were Merkel’s comments part of the German campaign?

4. What are the consequences of Merkel’s comments?

For the answer click here:

More:   http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/merkel-and-trump-a-trans-atlantic-turning-point-a-1149757.html


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