Angela Merkel has turned her fire on America’s “home alone” policies، saying multilateral bodies cannot simply be smashed up، and warned the US president، Donald Trump، that Europe must not be excluded from discussions on future nuclear disarmament، Syria or trade.
Warning of a collapse of the international order into tiny parts، the German chancellor said: “We cannot just smash it. We need to cooperate.”
Merkel quoted the US Republican senator Lindsey Graham as saying: “Multilateralism may be complicated، but it’s better than simply staying at home alone.”
“Now that we see great pressure on the classic order we are used to، the question now is: do we fall apart into pieces of a puzzle and think everyone can solve the question best for himself alone?” Merkel said، adding that it’s better to “put yourself in the other’s shoes... and see whether we can get win-win solutions together”.
She was speaking at the Munich security conference on Saturday، immediately before the US vice-president Mike Pence، who insisted: “America first never meant America alone.”
Pence repeatedly challenged Europe، saying it was time to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and accusing Iran of trying to commit a fresh Holocaust. He also demanded the EU step forward for freedom and recognise Juan Guaidó as the sole legitimate representative of Venezuela.
In an uncompromising speech، he also called on Germany to increase its defence spending، and abandon its plan to build a new gas pipeline from Russia – Nord Stream 2.
In Merkel’s speech، punctuated by warm applause largely absent from Pence’s address، the outgoing chancellor effectively challenged Trump’s world vision with a practical، point-by-point rebuttal of nationalist isolationism.