By Hanif Ghaffari

Two politicians and three cases

June 10, 2018 - 11:53

In her latest remarks, the German Chancellor stressed on the serious disagreements existing between Europe and Washington on the imposition of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Europe to the United States.

“I will of course try to speak to the U.S. president about the current problems that we have overall, in particular on Iran and on trade tariffs,” Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament during a question and answer session with lawmakers.

The June 8-9 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada, will begin on economic growth and trade - topical issues after Donald Trump infuriated Canada and European Union G7 members by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Besides, America's NATO allies in Europe and Canada have to increase defense spending by 4.3% in 2017, which led to Europe's dissatisfaction of Trump. Analysts on military and security affairs in Europe mention that this boost will be certainly discussed by Merkel and Trump on the sidelines of the G7 meeting, and it's going to be a subject for conflict.

 Merkel is confused

During her recent visit to the United States, German Chancellor discussed all the three subjects with Trump. However, the results were completely at odds with the European Union benefits! After a meeting with Merkel in April, Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran. He then reaffirmed his positions towards other NATO members (raising the military budget of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

 In his latest move, the United States President imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Europe- 25 percenton steel and 10 percent on aluminum, marking a major escalation of the trade war between the United States and its top trading partners.In short, Merkel's last visit to Washington was a completely failure. She is now planning to negotiate with the U.S. President once again about their disagreements.This is while many analysts of the U.S. and European affairs believe that the possibility of Trump changing his positions and orders is very little.

Over the last months, many Western politicians, including Angela Merkel's opponents, have challenged her reactionary approach towards the United States and the Trump government, calling for the German Chancellor's determined confrontation with the U.S. President. In the course of the 2017 national electoral campaigns, her rival "Martin Schulz" called Merkel's approach to Trump's measures unacceptable.

 In such a situation, Merkel faces two obstacles: One is the U.S. government and its' President "Donald Trump", and the other is about her approach and performance being constantly observed and criticizedby her political opponents inside Germany. These are contributing to Merkel's challenges, making her even more confused.  

Will Merkel make a deal with Trump?

Another question that arises here is aboutthe likelihood of Merkel and Trump making a deal on the three issues mentioned above. In this regard, Merkel's priority goes around "U.S.-EU trade relations", and in particular the existing tariffs disputes with Washington. The German Chancellor knows well that the Trump government's protectionist policies is not going to be limited to steel and aluminum, and in the near future, there will be heavy taxes on imported cars from Germany and other European imported goods.

 The German Chancellor intends to restrainthis process at the White House (through a deal with the United States). However, Merkel knows well that she can't do much about NATO defense budget increase, because it has been approved since Obama's time. Meanwhile, the only remaining leverage is the nuclear deal with Iran. It seems that the German Chancellor, like the French President and the British prime minister, is interested in getting advantages from Washington on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It's not without a reason that Merkel has recently raised the issue of "extending the JCPOA"! The Chancellor of Germany is willing to sacrifice the nuclear deal in exchange for a reduction in U.S. business and economic threats against Europe.

European leader bad mistake

"Europe's Passiveness towards the United States" is the most significant strategic mistake of the EU. In this equation, politicians like Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have a very important and highlighted role. International experts have noted that the European Union is currently more vulnerable in the international system than ever before. The fact is that senior European officials were incapable of standing independent from the United States, and this was their main weakness.

Although many of the Western news sources have reported the emergence of a full-fledged war in trans-Atlantic relations, the European authorities' special efforts to "manage tensions with the United States" will never let these tensions to turn into serious gaps between the two sides. The truth is Europe is going to continue to play for Washington's benefits, regardless of their existing disagreements over trade and politics.

This is while the only way to confront the United States is to form a real, full-blown and different confrontation with Washington. However, the kind of stance taken by Merkel, Macron and Theresa May has shown that they are not determined in this regard, and their lack of determination will lead to EU's increasing vulnerability against the United States. This is exactly what we have been witnessing over the past years. However, "Merkel" can't continue to play in the U.S. ground as before, and then being referred to as a powerful and influential politician in Europe. The Chancellor of Germany shouldn't forget that the European citizens are seriously angry at her passive approach towards the U.S. government and Trump, and this anger can lead to her and other EU authorities' complete failure in near future.

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