ShareThis Page

Separating America from Europe?

| Monday, June 19, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AP Photo)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AP Photo)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had enough of President Trump. Speaking in a Munich beer hall, Merkel suggested that Europe may no longer be able to rely on the United States as a faithful ally and that the continent “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

I had three reactions to this. The first was: You ingrate. We bailed you out twice in the 20th century at enormous cost in blood and treasure. After World War II, the Marshall Plan rebuilt your nation, even though your people elected Adolf Hitler and brought the destruction on yourselves.

My second reaction was: Good! It's about time Europe started paying its own way and stopped relying on its U.S. “sugar daddy” for protection while nations focused on their own economies.

Then a third thought occurred to me: This is precisely what Russia's Vladimir Putin wants to happen. Separating Europe from the United States would give him more opportunities to expand Russian territory and engage in other ventures not in the best interests of Europe or America.

What irritates Merkel and even her opposition in the September election, apparently, is Trump's refusal to accept “climate change” as fact and to assure Europe the U.S. will honor the Paris agreement signed by President Barack Obama. Trump has called climate change a “hoax.” But during the G-7 meeting in Brussels, he used less-acerbic language in conversations with other leaders. Some media reports at the time quoted a “White House adviser” as saying the president's views are “evolving” on the issue.

Europe has often been on the wrong side of issues (Merkel's open-border policy to Muslim immigrants being just the latest), and this time appears to be no exception. A poll published in February by FG Wahlen for German public broadcaster ZDF found 78 percent of Germans “very concerned” about Trump's policies. That was 20 percent more than those concerned about the policies of Putin.

More evidence that a majority of Germans are making bad choices came from a recent event featuring Merkel and Obama. For reasons that appear to have nothing to do with his accomplishments (he received the Nobel Peace Prize, an indulgence in wishful thinking), most Germans still admire Obama.

Whatever electoral benefit Merkel might gain from her statements about Trump, neither Europe nor the U.S. can afford a rupture in their Atlantic partnership. If “climate change” is the main cause of the tension, then a debate about it should take place with climate scientists from both sides participating, something that is rarely, if ever, seen because climate-change fanatics behave like cult members, ignoring all contrary evidence and intimidating and silencing opposing views.

While Merkel probably won't carry through on her threat — she needs America, as does the rest of Europe to keep Putin at bay — just the suggestion of a separation could be enough for Putin to try to seize more territory and solidify Russia's annexation of Crimea and his occupation of parts of Ukraine.

The partnership between Europe and America for the last 70-plus years is too important to let emotions and personalities divide us.

Cal Thomas is a columnist for USA Today.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.