Friendly Fire: America vs. Germany?

The Causes and Effects of the Trump-Merkel Feud on the US, Germany, and the World

Aaron Raubvogel, Online/Social Media Editor

Trump tweets. Germany rebuts. This tit-for-tat classifies the current state of relations between Germany and America.

The most recent conflagration started during President Trump’s recent foreign trip to Europe when he threatened to stop German car exports to the U.S. during a meeting with European Union officials on May 26th. Trump, on May 27th, refused to participate in the Paris Accords, according to a G-7 memo.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel then offered a thinly veiled response at a campaign rally on May 28: “The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over.” She also said, “We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands,” at the same rally.

But Trump was not done.

In an early morning tweet on May 30th, Trump wrote: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.”

To put it shortly, the United States and Germany are not on the best of terms currently. The rift between the two nations is leading to a major shift in global politics and leadership. Woodside junior Devin Dohrmann comments on the situation surrounding the two countries

“The big diplomacy problems [used to be] between the two ideologies of communism and capitalism,” Dohrmann stated. “Now it’s shifted to be the left and the right. Germany has been a guiding light for these liberal principles,… whereas America is all of a sudden hard-line conservative.”

Germany and the United States are becoming increasingly distant ideologically as well.

“[Germany is] taking the kind of ideological high road that the United States said it would take after World War II,” said Charles Velschow, an AP U.S. History Teacher. “In a way that’s been passed off to Germany.”

With America consistently leaning towards a more nationalist agenda, Germany is stepping up and asserting itself to more of a leadership role in the free world.

“Personally, I don’t think [Trump] should have that much power, I would like to see the U.S. remain a leader,… but I think Germany would be one of the best countries to lead us going forward,” said Kirian Miske-Reeds, a German-American who is a junior at Sacred Heart Prep.

Although Germany may be morally reflecting the free world, a German-spearheaded bloc may not be best for the world.

“I think the best resolution would be to have the countries working together as leaders in the free world,” commented another German-American Oliver Bley, who is a junior at Menlo-Atherton High School. “These two ultimately have more money than a lot of [other nations] and if they could work together then that would be the best for everybody else.”

The feud between Merkel and Trump gained prominence when the President apparently refused to shake the Chancellor’s hand in front of a mob of photographers during a meeting in the Oval Office on March 17th. Since then, there have been some uneasy feelings between the two leaders, some involving the media.

“I saw a video on the news of Trump and Merkel… and it seemed like Merkel was trying her best to discuss with Trump and engage with him, and at least in my opinion, Trump was giving her the cold shoulder,” stated Bley.

Germany’s recent assertion to become more of a leader in the free world is all the more remarkable considering Germany is also just 70 years removed from the fascist Nazi Regime.

Mischke-Reeds stated, “I think that [the Nazi era] continues to play a role in the collective German psyche, maybe… subconsciously. Being able to move past that dark history, and… rise to the forefront again and drive the world forward again to greater and better things, I think is great.”

Even though Trump may be more isolationist and Ameri-centric than previous administrations, this does not mean that Germany can be the only nation leading the free world and representing democratic ideals.

“I think that the free world should always be lead by multiple leaders; there should never be a leader of the free world, everyone should work together,” Dohrmann said. “We should have multiple countries taking charge, we have Canada taking charge, France taking charge, not just Germany.”