US-German Relationships: Why They’re Grim and How We Can Make Them Worse.
US-German relations get worse every year
Diplomatic ties between Washington and Berlin have deteriorated markedly in recent years. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that it looks like the relationship between the two countries will never be the same.
In his opinion, the alliance with the United States (in terms of economy, defense and security) may not be restored, even if the president’s rival Donald Trump democrat Joe Biden, will win the upcoming elections.
«Those who think that in the transatlantic partnership everything will be the same as it once was with the president from the Democratic Party – underestimate the structural changes», – said Heiko Maas German agency DPA.
Defense spending, the looming trade war between the United States and Europe, the threat of American duties on the export of German cars – all these are the reasons for the deterioration of the diplomatic climate..
Trump has criticized Germany on numerous occasions since his election in 2016. In mid-June, he once again rebuked the European country, stating that Germany still has not fulfilled its commitment to spend 2% of its GDP on defense, as required by the 2014 NATO agreement..
«We protect Germany and they violate the regulations. It does not make sense», – Trump said, adding that the US was going to reduce the number of soldiers to 25 thousand, arguing that the deployment of troops in Germany is very expensive for the US.
According to NATO estimates, Germany spent approximately 1.38% on defense in 2019, while the US allocated 3.42% for this purpose.. Germany said last year it aims to reach 2% target by 2031.
Trump also accused Germany and the entire European Union of being bad for the United States in terms of trade. He threatened to impose duties on the import of European cars, which will greatly hurt Germany, which is home to the European car industry.
Plans to withdraw some 9,500 troops from Germany have caused horror in Europe, as well as criticism from US lawmakers worried that Russia could take advantage of the situation..
Another cause of tension is the G-7. Trump previously refused to approve the conclusions of the G-7 summit, an act of which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel named «a little depressing».
Relations became more complicated after Merkel rejected Trump’s invitation to the G-7 summit in Washington due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s desire to see Russia re-admitted as a member also created a rift in the group..
Germany’s relationship with Russia, especially when it comes to energy, is another controversial issue. US officials are critical of Nord Stream 2, a giant energy infrastructure project that will transfer gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine.
Trump said in 2018 that Germany «fully controlled» Russia, and in December 2019 U.S. hits sanctions on project nearing completion, sparking ire from Russia and Germany. Berlin replied that European energy policy should be decided in Europe, not in the US.