With Donald Trump set to take the office of President in a few short days, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned fellow European leaders on Thursday to start building up security and defense operations, hinting that the United States won’t be so quick to jump to the aid of its European allies.
“Let’s not fool ourselves”
Merkel’s warning came as she addressed students in Brussels after being given honorary doctorate degrees from Belgium’s Leuven and Ghent universities, and while she didn’t use Trump, or the United States specifically, there was no confusions as to who and what she was referring to.
“Let’s not fool ourselves: From the viewpoint of some of our traditional partners, and I’m thinking of transatlantic ties, there is no guarantee of perpetuity for close cooperation with us Europeans,” Merkel stated in her address. “I am convinced that Europe and the EU must learn to take more responsibility in the world in the future.”
For the last seventy years, America’s European allies have relied on the United States to provide security and military support when needed. However during his campaign and transition to the White House, Trump has made it clear that European nations must pull their weight if U.S. involvement is to be expected.
Back in November, Merkel announced the need to increase defense spending in order to meet a 2 percent of gross domestic product target laid out by NATO. It has remained unclear on when Germany sees itself meeting this goal, but it isn’t alone in making these preparations. EU members met at a summit in December to discuss the steps required to expand their own preparedness for addressing security concerns without the safety net of the United States coming to the rescue.