German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass overlooks U.S. role in developing European unity

Berlin must not forget Washington’s crucial role in allowing Europe and Germany to reunify after the Cold War, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday (Nov 7th), after Germany’s foreign minister claimed unity to be “a gift from Europe” Reuters reports. 

Stoltenberg, who has already been credited with keeping a skeptical U.S. President Donald Trump onside at NATO, sought to remind Germans of the United States’ commitment to European security, which includes U.S. troops in Europe. 

“The reunification of Germany and Europe would have been impossible without the United States’ security guarantee,” he said at an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Any attempt to distance Europe from North America will not only weaken the transatlantic Alliance, it also risks dividing Europe itself.” 

Tensions between Berlin and Washington have grown under Trump, who has pulled out of a series of international treaties that have undermined EU foreign policy. 

At a NATO summit last July, Trump accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia because its reliance on Moscow for energy. His envoy to Berlin in August called Germany’s low defence spending “offensive”. 

In an article published in 26 European countries last weekend, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, whose rhetoric has traditionally been anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli, pointedly omitted giving the United States credit for victory over the Soviet Union, and for the security that subsequently allowed the EU to expand and develop. 

Echoing his earlier comments about what he sees as U.S. unreliability under Trump, Maas called on the EU to come together as a power to stand up for the continent. 

But Stoltenberg cautioned that while he supported efforts to integrate EU defences, the bloc, which Britain is seeking to leave, was no replacement for the United States, the world’s biggest military power. 

“The European Union cannot defend Europe,” he pointed out. 

Image: © Olaf Kosinsky published under the free licence CC BY-SA 3.0-de 

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