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Brace for continency – Merkel tasks Europeans

FILE PHOTO. Donald Trump and Angela Merkel during a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the NATO summit in Watford, Britain. ©REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

27 Jun, 2020

The German chancellor has warned the Europeans to underprop themselves for contingency if US voluntarily relinquish its status as a world power

European nations need “to carry more of the burden than during the cold war” in terms of defense spending, Merkel said, because they cannot assume that the US will be there to protect them.

“We grew up in the certain knowledge that the United States wanted to be a world power. Should the US now wish to withdraw from that role of its own free will, we would have to reflect on that very deeply,” she said, in an interview published in six European newspapers.

Merkel pointed out the increasing selfishness of nations in recent times, which, she said, contrasts with the unified multilateral response to the 2008 financial crisis. “These days, we have to do all we can to stop ourselves collapsing into protectionism,” she said.

Speaking about China, Merkel said its rise “shows that even an undemocratic state can be economically successful, which is a major challenge for our liberal democracies.” This example and other post-cold war developments, from the emergence of the Islamist terrorist threat to the disappointing results of the Arab Spring, are a matter of grave concern for believers in liberal causes like herself.

“China has become a global player. That makes us partners in economic cooperation and combating climate change, but also competitors with very different political systems,” she said.

The same is true for Russia, the country that the US sees as its other strategic rival. Berlin needs to remain engaged with Moscow despite all issues in their bilateral relations.

“In countries like Syria and Libya, countries in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood, Russia’s strategic influence is great,” Merkel explained.

“I will therefore continue to strive for cooperation.”

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