Europe can no longer completely rely on its longstanding British and US allies, Angela Merkel warned – saying the EU must now be prepared to “take its fate into its own hands.” Marking a major turning point, Mrs. Merkel also suggested that the postwar western alliance had been badly undermined by the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over,” she told an election rally in Munich. “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”
Merkel also said Germany and Europe would strive to remain on good terms with the U.S., Britain and other countries, including Russia, but added, “We have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”
The two-day G7 summit in Italy pitted the U.S. president against the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan on several issues. They agreed to fight protectionism and “keep our markets open”; step up pressure on North Korea; cooperate more closely on terrorism; and look into placing tougher sanctions on Russia.
President Trump, however, did not assure them of U.S. support for the 2015 Paris accord on climate change, saying he needed more time to decide. The Paris accords were “not just any old agreement, but a central agreement for shaping globalization,” the German chancellor said.
The G7 meeting was destined to be challenging because, Mr. Trump has frequently questioned the value of the EU, welcomed Britain’s vote to leave the bloc and spoke positively of anti-EU politicians such as the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
At the NATO summit in Brussels, Mr. Trump again said other members of the alliance were failing to match America’s military spending commitment of 2% of GDP, saying this was “not fair” on U.S. taxpayers. He also failed to endorse the pact’s article five mutual defense clause and complained that Germany sells too many cars to the U.S.
But all of this has consequences. A provocative U.S. president may be starting to help improve Europe’s ability to integrate. Mr. Trump’s tour will have starkly reminded Europeans of the new world of uncertainties, and the need to pull together. This is why German chancellor Angela Merkel’s words about Europe no longer being able to “depend completely on others” and now holding “its fate in its own hands,” rang as a logical conclusion to the G7 meeting. Just when Europeans were ready to deal nicely with Britain’s exit, Mr. Trump is helping them bind them together.
Meanwhile, officials in central Europe are paying attention to Merkel and Emanuel Macron’s obvious closeness, because they want to be sure they are not left behind in the debate on deeper European integration. After Mr. Trump’s tour, Britain will need to be increasingly mindful that he has become the living embodiment of everything Europe is meant to stand up against.
The Obama administration had already shown that Europe couldn’t afford to entirely outsource its interests to the U.S., especially when dealing with the turbulence from the Middle East. Mr. Trump has made that even more obvious.
There is no clear answer as to whether Europe can “make itself great again,” but Mr. Trump has made the question very vivid. “Our values are our strongest survival weapon against enemies,” said Andrej Kiska, the Slovak president. And after a tense meeting with Mr. Trump in Brussels, Donald Tusk, the European Council president, said, “The greatest task today is the consolidation of the free world around values, not just interests.”
Both President Obama and now President Trump have empowered Europe to take more responsibility for itself without so much American influence. Mr. Trump is emboldening Angela Merkel to create a “German Superpower.” With Britain out of the picture, Merkel reckons she can move more quickly toward solidifying a common EU military and clean up Europe’s finances.
Until now, the core relationship between America and Europe has been centered on Germany. That tie appears to be on the verge of snapping. It will be no small irony if Mr. Trump has impelled Europe to transform itself into a unified great power. Perhaps this was unintended.
The European Union, which Germany leads, is essentially the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. By pushing Europe to more self-reliant, America is strengthening the Papacy, the King of the North.
“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power,” Daniel 8:24.