“The EU must become a cornerstone of the international order,” says the German foreign minister.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has laid out an ambitious plan to counter the United State at the world stage.
In an article titled “Making Plans for a New World Order,” Minister Mass talked about forming a “counterweight” to the US and called on the the European Union to become “a cornerstone of the international order.”
“[W]here the USA crosses the line, we Europeans must form a counterweight,” German Foreign Minister wrote on Wednesday. “The main goal of our foreign policy is therefore to build a sovereign, strong Europe.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her support for the plan. “The article by Minister Maas conveyed much of what constitutes the common stance of the government towards the United States,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a regular government press conference.
Writing for the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt, Maas talked about Germany seizing “a historic opportunity to redefine the EU’s role.” He added:
Of course we can’ t fill all the gaps. But together with others, we can cushion the most damaging consequences of the thinking that says success is measured in dollars saved. That is why we have increased funding for relief organizations working with Palestinian refugees and sought support from Arab states.
Stressing that the proposed policy shift has little to do with the current US president, Mass added, “Not because Donald Trump is always setting new percentage targets [for NATO spending], but because we can no longer rely on Washington to the same extent.”
Germany’s state-run DW News explained the context behind the foreign minister’s drastic proposal:
Maas’ article comes amid strained relations between the US and its European allies after US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, and pulled out of a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.
Europe has been scrambling to persuade Tehran to remain in the 2015 accord. But with European firms wary of far-reaching US financial penalties, it’s proving to be a challenge.
Iran called on Europe to speed up efforts to save the deal after French oil group Total formally pulled out of a major gas project on Monday.
The EU has vowed to counter Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures.
“Given the circumstances, it is of strategic importance that we tell Washington clearly: We want to work together,” Maas wrote. “But we will not allow you to hurt our interests without consulting us.”
Mass proposed setting up of banking networks “independent” of the US in order to “save the nuclear deal.”
“That’s why it is indispensable that we strengthen European autonomy by creating payment channels that are independent of the United States, a European Monetary Fund and an independent SWIFT system,” Maas wrote. “Every day the deal is alive is better than the highly explosive crisis that would otherwise threaten the Middle East.”
Predictably, mainstream German media welcomed their foreign minister’s pro-EU pronouncements.
The German foreign minister’s plan amounts to a “reset on relations with Washington,” commented Handelsblatt in an editorial. “[Maas] is recasting the trans-Atlantic relationship. It’s high time. He wants Berlin and Europe to become a counterweight to the fake news and fury coming from Washington.”
“Maas Draws a Red Line for Trump,” said the headline in the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost. The German government “doesn’t want to endure and hope that Trump’s tenure comes to an early end. Government wants to push back.”
German weekly Der Spiegel broadly agreed with the foreign inister’s assessment. “Merkel has repeatedly said that she doesn’t consider the US to be fully reliable anymore,” wrote Der Spiegel. The magazine, however, urged the EU to “keep the door open for the US for it to revert to the international agreements [Iran Deal, Paris Climate accord].”
The strategy of propping up the EU to serve as a counterweight to the US or forming a “multilateral alliance” to counter the US in the international arena, as articulated by the German foreign minister, is a not a new approach, but a permanent feature of Merkel’s foreign policy. There are signs that she may be doubling down in this approach. Germany’s proposed financial aid to Erodgan’s Turkey following the US sanctions and the German chancellor’s backing of a multi-billion Russian gas pipeline to Germany, despite the US objections, shows Berlin’s intention to exploit Washington’s conflicts–with Turkey and Russia in this case–to earn diplomatic brownie points.
However, the “Plans for a New World Order” that Germany’s foreign minister proposes, might come at a high price tag for Germany. Berlin is already overstretched in wake of the European migrant crisis. Banking institutions within the eurozone are still reeling from the 2008 currency crisis. The German army, deployed in Afghanistan and other troubled spots, remains chronically undermanned, underfunded, and overburdened. Despite having been crowned the “Leader of the Free world” by the liberal media, Merkel’s position at home has been weakened following the 2017 Bundestag election. Globalist pipe dreams aside, the German leader can’t even bend ‘insubordinate’ eastern European countries to her will, let alone challenge the US at the world stage.
Video: Putin and Merkel discuss gas pipeline [August 20, 2018]
[Cover image via YouTube]
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