Forthright message: "When the U.S. 'Crosses the Line,' Europe must act" - Germany's Foreign Minister

Europe should scale up military spending in order to act as a counterpoint to an unpredictable and unreliable United States, the German foreign minister said in an op-ed Wednesday, an unusually forthright criticism of U.S. foreign policy by a senior political figure in Europe. In the German newspaper Handelsblatt entitled “A New World Order,” Heiko Maas said that Europe and the U.S. have been drifting apart for years. Instead of waiting for Trump’s presidency to end, he argued, Europe should take an “equal share of responsibility” globally. Yet Maas joined in agreement with Trump in demanding NATO members increase their defense spending. “It is in our own interest to strengthen the European part of the North Atlantic Alliance,” he wrote. However, he continued, this was “not because Donald Trump is always setting new percentage targets, but because we can no longer rely on Washington to the same extent.”  Increased defense spending, he said, would secure Europe’s position as a global power. “Where the USA crosses the line, we Europeans must form a counterweight — as difficult as that can be,” he wrote. “That is also what balance is about.”

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Germany and new world order.... What could go wrong?

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 Major share of German Auto sales on their profit sheets are in the U.S.  U.S. produce and export from America large numbers of German Brand/American Built Vehicles. But, rewards from profits are in Germany. Yet, American brand autos, are stifled with tariffs overseas.

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I do support free trade.  But it's not free if we import cars and U.S. citizens pay a  2.5%  tariff.  But the EU/China charge the U.S. 25% to allow our cars into their countries. There are many other examples.  It has to be fair for both sides.

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Germany is on track to record the world's largest trade surplus for a third consecutive year. Germany is expected to set a $299 billion trade surplus this year, far more than its closest export rivals Japan and the Netherlands, according to research by Munich-based economic research institute Ifo. However, the latest surplus figures indicate a slight dip as a proportion of Germany's total economic performance compared to 2017, falling from 7.9 percent to 7.8 percent.

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(edited)

Herr Maas may be expressing a popular shift in EU attitude, a welcome shift if you ask most Americans, but he uses the U.S. and Donald Trump specifically as an excuse and catalyst.  That makes one wonder if he has further political aspirations himself.  I also note that Ms. Merkel "quashes" him and "puts him in his place".  She says these are his personal views and that "he did not check with me" before expressing them.  Don't mess with Angela!  

Edited by Dan Warnick

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(edited)

On 8/22/2018 at 12:00 PM, jpZelabal said:

Germany is on track to record the world's largest trade surplus for a third consecutive year. Germany is expected to set a $299 billion trade surplus this year, far more than its closest export rivals Japan and the Netherlands, according to research by Munich-based economic research institute Ifo. However, the latest surplus figures indicate a slight dip as a proportion of Germany's total economic performance compared to 2017, falling from 7.9 percent to 7.8 percent.

Note, however, that the export surplus is in manufactured goods, from the vaunted Mittelstand, the 3,700,000 smaller and medium-sized companies that are so innovative and creative in high-value-added manufacturing.   Large numbers of these firms are family-started and family-run enterprises.  Some of them have become very valuable, right up into the billions of Euros.   A long-time chum of mine inherited the bulk of the shares of his family's Mittelstand, and one fine day received an unsolicited Offer to buy the company; the conglomerate stated they would pay 5 billion Euros.  It was a Thursday and he said he would consider it and get right back to them tomorrow.  

Friday came and went, and my chum got busy with other matters and neglected to call them back.  Turns out the buyers were stewing and fretting, figuring he would put his company in play  (solicit other purchase offers).  They got all anxious trying to figure out his next moves and decided to call him back.  My chum got a new call on Monday morning, the buyers saying:  "We have thought further on this and would like to offer you six  billion Euros!"   So, my chum just earned himself another billion Euros for not returning that phone call  (he took the money). 

Meanwhile, the rest of us actually have to get up and put on our socks and go to work.  Such are the vicissitudes of life. Can the US duplicate the successes of the Mittelstand?  Nah, we are too busy selling our manufacturing assets to the Chinese. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
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Very good op-ed. Its high time for independent european foreign policy. 

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On 8/22/2018 at 11:41 AM, pinto said:

Heiko Maas said that Europe and the U.S. have been drifting apart for years. Instead of waiting for Trump’s presidency to end, he argued, Europe should take an “equal share of responsibility” globally.

I have never heard of Herr Mass before.  In my travels today I found him twice and also found he likes to talk about responsibility. (the quote above linked by Pinto, and the quote I found below.  ....Hmmm I think I might just like him.  

“Germany’s duty to stand up everywhere and every day for the unassailable dignity of man grows out of the legacy of the victims. This responsibility is never-ending.”

this quote is found here 

https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-bows-to-donald-trump-over-nazi-guard-jakiw-palij/

 

 

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