Germany is no longer referring to the United States as a “friend” anymore.
According to Reuters, the country has dropped the label entirely. Compare this to the past where they repeatedly referred to the United States as their “most important friend.”
This just underscores the further worsening relations Germany has had with Washington since Donald Trump became president.
“The times in which we could fully rely on others are, to a certain extent, in the past. We Europeans must take our fate into our own hands more decisively than we have in the past,” stated a campaign program for the German election.
Shortly after Trump called the Germans “very, very bad” for their trade surplus with the United States, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided to cancel his trip to meet with Germany Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries.
Instead, he gave a remote video address to the event hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. When Ross tried to criticize the Germans for their trade surplus, he was cut off mid-speech. They shut off the video. According to reports from people in attendance, the audience cheered when he was silenced.
Trump met with Merkel several weeks ago at the G7 summit and hinted at the possibility that conversations were bad with the Trump White House and would only worsen.
“The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent,” Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich on Sunday, before adding, “That’s what I experienced over the past several days.”
Since Trump became president the PEW Research Center showed that only 35 percent of Germans now have a favorable view of the United States, compared to 57 percent when Barack Obama was in office. That’s a significant decline.
Germany isn’t the only ally of the United States to condemn Trump’s policies.
Canada’s Foreign Policy Minister Chrystia Freeland last month announced that it was charting a major new course for the country – saying Canada will need to step up its leadership role around the world in response to Trump. It says it can’t count on the United States anymore, either.
“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” she said.
“For Canada, that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order. We will follow this path, with open hands and open hearts extended to our American friends, seeking to make common cause as we have so often in the past.”
She went on to praise the U.S. for its role in the past but says voters in the last election have cast doubt on America’s ability to lead due to the person they put in the White House.
Freeland said there was “deep disappointment” with Trump’s policies on trade and climate change specifically.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is expected to release more details on what they plan to do next – but that the major change was that Canada is starting to realize they can’t count on the United States to provide them protection anymore.
“To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state. And although we have an incredibly good relationship with our American friends and neighbours, such a dependence would not be in Canada’s interest,” she said.
At least Canada still refers to the United States as a “friend.”