The Heat: Germany and Transatlantic alliance

The Heat

President Donald Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Europe and the United States have enjoyed a close political, trade and military relationship that has endured for decades. But since Donald Trump took office as U.S. president, there is concern on both sides of the Atlantic that things are changing.

Trump has criticized Europe for not paying enough to cover its defense as part of the NATO alliance. And, he hammered that point home when addressing European leaders at NATO headquarters in Brussels last month.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years, and not paying in those past years.”
U.S. President Donald Trump

And, just days after attending the G-7 summit in Italy, Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Plus, he’s been critical of Germany on its trading relationship with the U.S. All of this led German Chancellor Angela Merkel to openly question the reliability of America, as a European ally, when she addressed supporters at a political rally in Munich.

“We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands. Our friendship with the U.S., the UK, our good neighborhood with Russia, as well as with other countries, this counts of course. But we should know, we have to fight for our own future, for our own destiny, and I would like to do this together with you.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

So, what does all this mean for the future of the transatlantic alliance that has been rock solid for so long? And, will Germany’s chancellor take a more active role in defining a future for Europe that is less reliant on the U.S.?

Tonight’s panel takes a look at what’s happening with the transatlantic alliance:

  • Martin Ganslmeier, Washington Bureau Chief for the German radio network, ARD
  • Kurt Volker, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and a leading expert on U.S. foreign policy
  • Vladimir Golstein, an analyst on Russian foreign policy and he’s a professor of Slavic Studies at Brown University