German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel complained on Saturday about the new basis in American foreign policy, specifically decrying US President Donald Trump’s stated ‘America First’ ideology. Sputnik News reported that the diplomat asked for more cooperation between the US and the European Union and tried to make the point that pursuing individual national interests is not “appropriate” at this moment in history.
While Germany has been a very close ally with the US, even to the point of accepting some of the United States’ bluster regarding the strengthening Russian Federation, Mr. Gabriel also noted that the turn of US policy to a more nationalistic approach is something that appears to be trying to test or undermine the economic bloc that is the European Union.
The EU has been an interesting experiment in its history. One way of looking at it is in the manner of seeing it as a sort of “United States of Europe” with the member nations creating a united and strong economy. To some extent this has succeeded, but unlike the United States, Europe is not one main culture and language.
It is a multiplicity of them, and although the economic union seems to have been a terrific idea on most counts, the loss of national sovereignty is something that seems to be increasingly missed. Great Britain has elected to leave the Union, and other countries rumble about this as well, most recently, Finland. Germany is basically the strongest single economic state in the group, but it stands to lose a great deal of bargaining power were it to have to be back to one among some 27 individual nations again, so the German position is very pro-EU.
The German minister’s reaction appears to be a bit hyperbolic. The United States’ policy of ‘America First’ has been stated repeatedly as not meaning ‘America only’, but the Trump Doctrine, if indeed this is what it shapes up to be, is that all nations have the right to their sovereignty as nation-states, rather than part of a globalist order. This seems to be mostly a rather middle-ground approach, contrasted with the creeping and sometimes insidious nature of globalism and the hoped-for World State in essence, impinging upon the unique customs and freedoms of all nations.
The US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster later met FM Gabriel, and assured the diplomat that Washington will continue to support the EU, but he did note the fact of additional “shared burdens” for which the US allies must share responsibility. While this was not elucidated here, it is possible that this has to do with funding for NATO or something parallel, which is an area where the US has paid the way much too much in the past.