Sick & tired of US foreign policy, Germany is pushed into the open arms of China

Germany has had enough of American foreign policy. Angela Merkel’s visits to Russia and China are a testament to that.

On May 10, 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkelopenly said that Europe can no longer count on the United States to protect it, hinting that the European continent would begin to “take destiny into its own hands.

The comments were, of course, a direct reference to US President Donald Trump’s ludicrous but anticipated decision to completely nuke the Iranian nuclear accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands. That’s the task of the future,” Merkel reportedly said during a speech honoring French President Emmanuel Macron.

Eerily enough, approximately a year ago, Merkel offeredalmost the exact same sentiments, stating that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.

In the weeks since, Merkel has certainly proved that this was no idle threat. The German chancellor has made trips to both Russia and China, and the outcomes of those meetings appear to suggest a complete restructuring of the balance of power in Europe and Asia respectively.

China and Germany see eye to eye

Just this Thursday, China has already said it wouldopen its door wider” to German businesses after giving Merkel a warm reception. Both China and Germany have a common interest in defeating Trump’s plan to kill trade surpluses that countries have with the United States, as they are both equally affected by Trump’s threats. Each time Trump opens his mouth, it seems that European and Asian businesses are instantly affected. Germany is the largest auto exporter to the US out of any European country, and is China’s biggest European trading partner which was worth $179 billion just last year alone.

Both Merkel and Macron tried their hand at persuading the Trump administration not to abandon the Iranian nuclear deal completely. The leaders even issued a joint statement with British Prime Minister Theresa May, someone whose hawkish attitude towards Iran should not go unnoticed. Not surprisingly, according to Reuters, German officials have said that “Trump’s America First’ trade policy, his administration’s professed disdain for the World Trade Organization, as well as his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, have pushed China and Germany into closer alignment.

It is not clear if the Trump administration is that incompetent or if this is done on purpose, in full knowledge that its actions will only further isolate the United States on the world stage and push states that previously held more adversarial positions closer and closer together. If it is done on purpose, one has to wonder what sort of mindset is behind the leadership which is on a self-destruct mission, and how it expects to maintain its worldwide empire, all the while irking its traditional allies. It is quite clear that Trump’s decision to axe the Iran deal will onlypave the way for China to take advantage of the financial opportunities flowing out of Iran if sanctions present a buffer to German interests. China has already been assisting Iran to out-maneuver US-led sanctions through, for example, the use of credit lines using the Yuan.

In that context, does Donald Trump want to contain China or empower it? You can only go so far serving the interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel while ignoring strong European states who would rather ink financial deals than turn Iran into a glass crater, a strong point of difference between Merkel and say, newly appointed US national security adviser John Bolton.

The lifting of sanctions on Iran already led to an increase in trade between Germany and Iran from €2.7 billion in 2014 to €3.5 billion last year. It is also worth noting that Iran will now start accepting euros for its oil in an attempt to not only avoid the US dollar, but in a move that will directly threaten it. This topic is probably best suited for another article, but it is definitely something worth keeping an eye on – and will most likely only bolster Germany’s resolve to protect Iran.

Either way, Germany and China have both agreed to stick to the Iran deal. Think for a second what this means: John Bolton openly warned European companies and countries against continuing business with Iran, stating that they could be targeted by sanctions. The newly appointed ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, also immediately warnedGermany directly that German companies must halt their business activities with Tehran or face sanctions. The German-Chinese announcement also came just after Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, issued a set of demands of its own, stating that the Europeans also could not be trusted.

Germany and China have essentially given the US the political middle finger in response, and arguably kowtowed to Iranian interests instead.

German-Russian relations to continue

Not too long ago, the US alsowarned Germany that sanctions may also target the German-Russia pipeline known as the Nord Stream 2 Project. If you ever needed proof that the underlying reasons for US-led wars were driven by money and natural gas, this is it. Why prevent Germany and Russia from working on this monumental project? Germany needs the gas, and Russia, relatively close-by, can supply it.

Despite the fact that the two countries continue to hold anumber of disputes (including sanctions that continue to target Russia), Merkel’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin demonstrates that it is still possible to meet with one’s counterpart and discuss those issues amicably, an idea that seems almost completely lost on the current Trump administration.

If you want to solve problems, you have to talk to each other,” Merkel said alongside Putin midway through the talks.

One Russian presidential aide reportedly suggested that the meeting went ahead because the two world leaders now found themselves on the same page, stating that “when opinions coincide, then countries at the very least become a bit closer to one another.”

According to a senior German official with knowledge of the chancellery’s strategy, rapprochement with Russia is now a core policy objective in Berlin. Polls are already suggesting that Germans trust Russia under Putin more than they trust the United States under Trump. That is some amazing 4D chess President Trump is playing.

READ MORE: Trump’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal gives Europe a choice: Become vassals or be independent

It is also worth noting that Germany did not participate in Trump, Macron, and Theresa May’s grandiose attack on Syria in April this year. Perhaps Germany is seeing less and less in common with the US, and has less of an intention of waging war to see its interests met, unlike the US, which apparently sees violence as the logical solution to all its problems.

Not to mention that – agitating Germany even further – in a recent cabinet meeting in Washington attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump singled out Germany as a country not contributing enough, all the while warning that countries allegedly not paying their dues will be “dealt with.”

Sheez. It should be no wonder that in this context, Germany has been secretly building a European Armyof its own, already announcing the integration of its armed forces with Romania and the Czech Republic, baby steps to creating a European army under German leadership.

Advertisements

Iran to maintain role in Syria, support resistance

Iran’s top security official says the country will maintain its advisory role in Syria and continue support for resistance groups after the US demanded that Tehran put a halt to those activities. 

“As long as the threat of terrorism exists in Syria and the country’s legitimate government persists in Iran’s advisory presence, we will stay in Syria,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Saturday.

Shamkhani, in an interview with Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, stressed that Iran’s presence in Syria is solely aimed at fighting terrorism at the invitation of the country’s “legitimate government.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday threatened Iran with the “strongest sanctions in history” if it did not comply with a list of steep demands, including the withdrawal of all forces under Iranian command in Syria.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad responded by hailing Iran’s assistance to his country, stressing that the pullout of the Iranian military advisers from the Arab country was not up for discussion.

The Syrian deputy foreign minister says the presence of Iranian military advisers and Hezbollah units in Syria is the sovereign decision of Damascus.

Shamkhani also dismissed other US demands, including its call that Iran halt all uranium enrichment, stop its ballistic-missile program and give nuclear inspectors access to the entire country.

“Iran’s missile program is completely indigenous and defensive. We will not seek permission from anyone to develop our defense power and will not hold negotiations on it,” he said.

“There is no logical reason to negotiate with a country that does not abide by its commitments. By leaving the JCPOA, the US practically tore up the international agreement,” Shamkhani said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate sanctions on Tehran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Shamkhani criticized the Europeans, saying they should have “acted more firmly and decisively in condemning and stopping preliminary US measures in violating the JCPOA.”

“The Europeans kept silent in the lead-up to America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and this relayed somehow a message of following the United States.”

Shamkhani said Trump’s withdrawal has brought the nuclear deal to collapse and in order to revive it, the Europeans have to guarantee implementing all the obligations they have toward Iran under the JCPOA.

The senior official further dismissed the US call for a regional coalition to stop what it has called Iran’s “malign” activities, which has been welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s allies in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.

“This coalition has been designed on the basis of deceit and its goal is to milk” the wealthy Arab states in the region, Shamkhani said.

Iran, he said, has always sought to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, albeit, “not from a position of weakness but from a position of dignity.”

Shamkhani said Saudi Arabia is trying to impose its own will on the vassal rulers of the regional countries, the result of which has been the destructive war in Yemen and the diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

Iran’s strategy in the Persian Gulf, he said, is defending its territorial waters and confronting any infiltration. “Our policy has not changed. The policy of defense and countering invasion is still on track.”

No retreat from ‘principled policies’ on Palestine

Shamkhani also stressed that Iran will not abandon its “principled policies” on Palestine as well as Tehran’s support for the regional resistance against the Israeli occupation and aggression.

“We consider defending Palestine as defending the Islamic dignity. Hamas is an organization approved by the Palestinian people,” he said.

“Hezbollah and its allies recently won the first place in Lebanon’s elections and Hashd al-Sha’abi was elected by the Iraqi people, being part of the country’s armed forces based on a law passed by the parliament,” he added.