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exchange views

Talk Merkel and Trump does not look like a meeting of two allies. Too much of their divergent views of the world and each other.

The eccentric couple

A few days ago to talk with Trump flew to Washington, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And the problem with this visit began with the organization ever since. Initially the meeting was scheduled later in the course of the intended tour Trump for Europe. However, at the insistence of Merkel it was moved to an earlier date 14 March, and there are already intervened weather - federal chancellor was unable to fly to Washington because of the snow storm, so just arrived 17-th.

It seemed that after the arrival of the problem ended, because negotiations began with the closest allies, the two nominal leaders, the keepers of the free world. However, many liberals believe that only Merkel was the custodian, and Trump acts as a destroyer. Therefore, a number of Western analysts placed great hopes on the grandmother of Europe to protect the free world. "She is the only leader who can firmly oppose the new president. Speaking about the fact that Germany will work with the United States on the basis of common values ​​(the rule of law, tolerance and equal rights), it has become the de facto leader of those who are determined to protect these values, "writes former US Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin. And really, who else than Merkel? The leader of the most powerful in the politico-economic terms of the EU country, the core of the European Union ?. And, which is important in the case of Trump, she is a woman head of state.

As a result, the skeptics were right - the negotiations between Trump and Merkel did not at all resemble the easy conversation of the Allies. Visually, it was manifested, for example, at the final ceremony in the Oval Office, when Trump and Merkel were sitting tensely in armchairs in front of a crowd of reporters. "How did the talks go?" Trump asked. "Great," the US president replied, but his face remained gloomy and, in a sense, even irritated. Behavior, in general, too - when journalists from the hall asked him to shake Merkel's hand on the camera, and the Bundeskancler himself turned to ask about the handshake, the president sat with a stony face, not reacting to anyone. "The leaders of the two most powerful Western countries looked more like an eccentric couple, and not as two ally talking about joint projects," says James Rubin.

Fair against a good

Theoretically, of course, both leaders should have left aside the rhetoric of 2016 (during the election campaign, Trump sharply criticized Merkel's internal policy on the migration issue, calling it a "shame", and German leaders positioned Trump almost as anti-christ). "No one will benefit from conflicts within the West, not even his enemies," writes Dow correspondent in Washington Miodrag Soric. To prevent these conflicts, as Angela Merkel correctly noted, "it's better to talk with each other, not about each other." The problem is that even in a conversation with each other, the parties could not find a common language on a number of issues. Trump himself made this clear when he talked about his wiretapping and Merkel from the Obama administration: "at least we have something in common."

For example, the parties disagreed on migration, where they, according to Merkel, only "exchanged views". It is understandable, because if Merkel spoke about the priority of freedom of movement, immigration for Trump - "it is a privilege, not a right, and the security of our citizens must always be unconditionally in the first place." These views are difficult to combine.

Another point of divergence was the outlook for Europe's future. While Angela Merkel is doing everything possible to save the European Union, Donald Trump does not just work for his collapse, but also does not hesitate to talk about it publicly (for example, praising Brexit). "There was a kind of alienation. When the US president welcomes the exit of the UK from the EU and says that other countries should follow suit, this is something unprecedented, "says the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. "Trump's interests are predictable. But there are no methods of realizing these interests, "explains the main problem with Trump of the deputy editor of the German Bild, Nicholas Blome.

As for bilateral relations, then trade issues prevailed. "I am a supporter of free trade, but also, at the same time, honest trade," - says Trump. According to him, many countries conducted "unfair trade" with the US, and this practice will be stopped. "We will enter into solid trade deals, and not those that will lead to the closure of our plants and a sharp increase in unemployment," the president said. Germany in the understanding of Trump is one of those countries with which a "fair deal" is needed, because the US trade deficit with Germany amounted to 2016 billion dollars in 65. In turn, for Merkel (especially against the backdrop of Trump's refusal from the Transatlantic Free Trade Zone and the intention to conclude bilateral agreements with European partners), a good deal is needed, since the US accounts for about 10% of German exports. Therefore, to meet with Trump Merkel brought an offering in the form of directors of the largest companies (Siemens, BMW, etc.) who told Trump about plans for additional investments in the US. Apparently, Germany and the US are waiting for long talks on how to make the deal both honest and good.

NATO leave alone, Putin also

Of course, the positions of Merkel and Trump did not differ in all matters. The parties seem to have agreed on the NATO issue. However, in fact, it was not a compromise, but the implementation of their own interests, which are not particularly contradictory. So, Angela Merkel once again promised to increase the country's spending on defense. But not so much because of this demand from Trump - it is understandable that if Germany (and even more so with the weakening of the role of the US) wants to increase its role in ensuring European security, it needs to ensure an increase in the budget of the Bundeswehr. Germany now spends 1,23% of GDP on defense needs. Last year, this amount increased by 8%, and Berlin as a whole expects to increase defense spending to 2% to 2024.

In turn, Trump expressed full support for NATO - but he was not going to dissolve the Alliance. NATO was, is and will be the most important US instrument for the control of Europe, and Trump wants this tool just to fix and sharpen, make it more efficient and less costly for the US budget. And that is why it requires large expenses from the same Germans, which he did not fail to recall only the Bundeskachlerin leaving Washington. "Contrary to what is written in the fake news, I had a wonderful meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But Germany is indebted ... It must pay more US and NATO funds for serious and very expensive defense of Germany. "

A compromise was also found in the Ukrainian theme. Calling Germany and France leaders in the matter of settling the situation in Ukraine, Trump once again confirmed the appointment of European partners responsible for resolving the bored Ukrainian issue. He also made it clear that Kiev's hopes of drawing Washington into the negotiating process will remain only hopes. Merkel said that the conflict in the east of Ukraine should be addressed, but the relations with the Russian Federation after eliminating the problems should be improved too (thereby somewhat diluting these two provisions, although earlier the West clearly noted that in the morning Moscow's performance of Minsk, and in the evening - normalization of Russian-European relations). More importantly, neither Trump nor, especially, Merkel said a word against the new Russian strategy for pridnestrovizatsiya LNR and the DNR (part of which is the recognition of the passports of unrecognized republics of Moscow, the introduction of local government external management in Donbass enterprises, as well as the reorientation of their economies on Russia). In fact, Putin was given a green light on the alternative to Minsk, (since Poroshenko does not want the Minsk terms to fulfill), and the leading Western media did not even comment on this approach of the leaders of the free world. "For Kiev, this is a complete grimace. Therefore, we have only one way out, consisting of a set of measures: not to hear Merkel, to look at Washington through fingers and wave at Trump's hand. I think we will successfully cope with this trifacial task, "says Ukrainian political analyst Yanina Sokolovskaya.

A source: Expert Online

Author: Gevorg Mirzayan, Associate Professor Department of Political Science University of Finance of the Russian Government

Tags: Merkel, Trump, Politics, US, Germany, Migration, EU, Europe, Great Britain, Brexit, Analytics, Economy, Ukraine, NATO