Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington, which was postponed for three days due to a blizzard on the east coast of the United States, has finished. Preparation for the visit was accompanied in Germany by an exaggerated frenzy. Press fanned a sensation around this protocol event, portraying the Chancellor in the role of a heroic defender of the values of the Western world, confronting the “destroyer” Trump.
Careful, as always, Merkel did not go into open conflict with the American president. Trump, of course, is not liked by the part of the American (and Euro-Atlantic) establishment, whose protege at last year’s US elections was Hillary Clinton and to which Angela Merkel belongs herself, but where you’ll get away from the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the great America, and the White House in Washington is not the enemy’s den, but the citadel of democracy.
Most importantly, Merkel made it clear: American presidents are coming and going, and Germany’s vassal oath of allegiance to America remains unshakable.
For his part, Donald Trump even found a reason to establish personal relations with the German leader. “At least, maybe we have something in common,” he told Angela Merkel with a touch of frivolity, referring to wiretapping of her phones by US intelligence agencies under the past US president (Trump is sure that Obama, as president, authorized the wiretapping of his telephone conversations as well). However, the press is silent on Merkel’s answer to that. Thus, at one time, wiretapping of Merkel phones, organized by the Americans, did not shake the loyalty of the current German elite. Of course, friends do not behave themselves that way, the chancellor noted with reproach, but the analogy of friendship is hardly suitable to the relations between Germany and the US. Trump, for example, may refuse to shake hands with a lady if photographers ask him to do so, but Merkel can never afford this.
At the joint press conference, both politicians announced the fruitfulness of the talks and the readiness for further cooperation. As expected, Trump fell in with the commitment of the German side to increase defense spending. The President praised the actions of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan and Merkel’s “leadership” (?) in resolving the conflict in Ukraine. The Chancellor has chopped in that the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis must precede the restoration of normal relations with Russia. However, Ukraine at the press conference was mentioned only casually, in passing.
Persistent journalists with their questions still forced the leaders of the two countries to speak out about the differences that divide them. There are two fundamentally important points: migration and industrial policy. Here the parties remained each with their own.
Donald Trump stands for measures to protect American borders (both from imports and from immigrants), and Merkel insists on the positive role of migrants in the development of the economy. What lies behind these her words in reality can be understood, in particular, from the projects of the French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron. The quintessence of these projects is the curtailment of social benefits under the pressure of competition in the labor market from the side of the cheap labor force from among migrants.
Trump confirmed his policy of returning industrial production to the US, which Merkel objected: like, in the post-industrial world, working professions may not be necessary. If so, why is Germany so worried about the possible transfer of production to the United States? By the way, the Germans are very proud of the fact that due to the relatively high, if to compare with other countries, manufacturing share in the creation of Germany’s gross domestic product, their country more easily and quickly overcame the consequences of 2008-2009 crisis.
As for the interdependence of the two economies, it remains high: to date, German investments in the US amount to 271 billion euros, and German companies employ 800,000 Americans. Therefore, Trump’s words are very clear: “I welcome the cooperation between our countries and enterprises”. This explains the participation of the heads of the largest corporations in Germany and the USA in the past negotiations: from the German side – Siemens, Schaeffler and BMW, from American side – IBM, Dow Chemical and Salesforce.
“The gestures seem exhausted, but Donald Trump and Angela Merkel emphasize the partnership between the two countries,” sums up the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.