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Angela Merkel: Europe should unite against China, Russia, and the US

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a recent interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung she believes the post-war global order built over seven decades is over — and grouped the United States as a rival of Europe along with China and Russia.

Merkel, who has served as Germany’s chancellor since 2005 and the leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union party since 2000, said that the traditionally strong diplomatic and military alliance between the European Union and the United States forged after World War II is now on shaky footing.

“There is no doubt that Europe needs to reposition itself in a changed world,” Merkel told Süddeutsche Zeitung in an interview reported on by the Guardian. “The old certainties of the post-war order no longer apply…they are forcing us, time and again, to find common positions,” she said of the US, Russia, and China.

Read more: Trump offends Europe with diplomatic snub revealed at George H.W. Bush’s funeral

Merkel said that she believes the rise of right-wing populism — which many scholars cite as the force behind seismic geopolitical events like Britain’s exit from the EU, the election of President Donald Trump, and the rise of populist leaders throughout Europe — has fundamentally shifted the global order of alliances and leaves Europe and its political and economic union on the defense.

“Simply stating that we’ve enjoyed seven decades of peace is no longer enough to justify the European project,” she said. “Without forward-looking arguments to justify Europe, the European peace project would also be in greater jeopardy than one may think.”

Less than three years ago, Germany was one of the US’s closest allies, and Merkel was working harmoniously with former President Barack Obama. Merkel and Obama not only shared perspectives on various foreign and economic policy issues but were also close friends.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump slammed Merkel for allowing Syrian refugees to resettle in Germany, accusing her of “ruining Germany” and tried to smear his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by comparing her to Merkel.

And over the past year and a half, Trump has consistently attacked Germany over trade and falsely accused them of not contributing their fair share to NATO’s budget, leading to several tense interactions between him and Merkel, who has publicly decried Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia.

Read more: 11 photos show how close Merkel was with Obama, and how different things are with Trump

In May 2017, Merkel launched a subtle jab at Trump, saying at a campaign event: “The times in which we could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days. We Europeans really have to take our destiny into our own hands.”

Trump then hit back on Twitter a few days later, writing, “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.”

Germany’s longstanding ties to the US military date back to the end of World War II, and there remain roughly 33,000 US troops based in the country to assure European security against adversaries like Russia.

Merkel said that in the face of the rising geopolitical influence of populism and the military prowess of China and Russia, European nations banding together to defend liberal values and principles will be more important than ever before.

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