The United States is Germany’s long-term NATO ally and major trading partner, and its cooperation is known as “the cornerstone of the Atlantic alliance”. However, before and after Trump came to power, he repeatedly “spoke ill of Germany” and its leaders, resulting in continuous discord between the two countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly said that Germany and the United States “can fully trust each other’s era has passed to a certain extent”, and the need to “fundamentally reconsider their relations”, which means that the dispute between Germany and the United States has become open, and the bilateral relations have entered a new stage. Why is the relationship between Germany and the United States getting worse? How will Germany, which is holding the rotating presidency of the European Union, lead Europe to adjust its policy towards the United States? For this reason, the head office reporter interviewed Michel hochswald, Professor of the Institute of American Studies at the University of Munich, Germany.
hochswald pointed out that the “intimate partnership” in the traditional sense between Germany and the United States began after the Second World War when the United States, Britain and France occupied West Germany, namely the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet Union controlled East Germany, namely the German Democratic Republic. At that time, the Western camp represented by European and American countries united for the purpose of fighting against the Soviet Union. Although the Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s, European countries, including Germany, still share many common interests with the United States. Therefore, the alliance can be maintained and the two sides are trying to rebalance their relations according to the new world situation.
However, in the view of hochswald, without the common “enemy” of the Soviet Union, the alliance between Europe and the United States seems to have lost its most important foundation. “The sudden reduction of external pressure has affected both the NATO Union and the European integration process,” he said. NATO, in particular, is in a dilemma about how to redefine its role and reconcile its internal interests. Before Trump came to power, the United States had the problem of excessive military expenditure. Today, the military expenditure is more than the total military expenditure of 10 NATO member states. It is undeniable that national defense spending needs to meet certain standards. However, the European side has always believed that the “part money” demanded by the United States is too high. It is this divergence that has led to tensions within NATO, and Trump’s administration has made it even worse. ”
hochswald stressed that Europe should strengthen internal unity, deepen cooperation with each other, and build a defense force independent of others and with true independence and Sovereignty: “trump’s statement that Germany should shoulder more responsibilities is not wrong. In fact, even if the United States does not say so, we should do so, because the defense construction of Europe must be realized by itself. This means that all countries must accelerate the process of European integration. Instead of acting on their own, we should unite, share information, and raise military cooperation to a new level, which is an efficient strategic choice to safeguard our own security. ”
according to hohgerswald, since the end of World War II, the world structure has undergone unprecedented profound changes. The game competition between countries has become more and more diversified, and the interactive relationship has become more and more complex. The global governance system and strategic situation present a series of new characteristics and new development trends: “emerging countries such as China, India, Brazil have begun to play a role in the international community The United States is gradually losing its dominant position in the world. Europe must find its place in this new balance of power. Although people often say that Europe and the United States have similar cultural traditions, in fact, there are still essential differences in the definitions of values such as freedom and democracy between the two countries. Therefore, it is essential for Europe, including Germany, to seek independence in foreign policy formulation, rather than being pinned down by Washington and revolving around Trump’s social media speeches. ”
in addition to the sharing of NATO’s military expenditure, Germany, the largest European economy, and the United States have continued to have disagreements with the United States on Iran’s nuclear issue, the “beixi-2” natural gas pipeline project, and the withdrawal of US troops stationed in Germany, which has also deepened the rift between Europe and the United States. Coupled with the recent threat of the United States to impose tariffs on European goods, new disputes have arisen in the trade field between the two sides. In this regard, hochswald analysis said that the differences between Europe and the United States in the final analysis is the conflict of interests between the two. With Germany assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union for half a year from July 1, how to adjust its strategy to the United States is also an important issue on the agenda. He said that although Germany and Europe have no intention of confronting the United States, they will not be afraid to take a tough attitude when necessary: “the United States can’t dictate who we choose to trade with. If we continue to press, we will not rule out the possibility of implementing countermeasures. The economic strength of the United States is very strong, but it also relies heavily on domestic consumption. In view of the fact that their products are not as competitive in the market as they think, the US tariff increase on Europe is actually killing 1000 enemies and losing 800. At the same time, we will never accept the long arm jurisdiction of the United States Congress to intervene in the internal affairs of European countries. Europe does not want to completely decouple from the United States, but it must also make clear what are the untouchable bottom lines and what the two sides have in common. Only in this way can the United States and Europe negotiate on coordinated action. ”
talking about the frequent “retreat” of the United States in recent years, hohgerswald admitted that this is actually contrary to trump’s core policy philosophy of “making America great again”. Both UNESCO and the World Health Organization are important platforms to show the responsibility of great powers and “soft power”. He told reporters that whether it is to safeguard international agreements, to reform international organizations, or to promote Europe US relations and global common development towards a more balanced and reasonable direction, it is inseparable from negotiation and compromise: “Europe has been used to exploring new negotiation possibilities, but this is unacceptable and impossible for trump. For Europe, negotiation is an open and dynamic process. Every concession is not a failure, but it means that it is closer to success. In the future, Europe will continue to be committed to finding solutions at the negotiating table. ” What’s the truth behind the loss making underwear store’s use of altruistic thinking to build a community and make more than 200000 yuan a month