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Berlin can’t defend relationship with ‘America the bully,’ says ex-German envoy to US

An artist wearing a silicon mask depicting US President Donald Trump boxing in a punchball with a portrait of German Chancellor Angela Merkel performs during a live performance at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Berlin on August 14, 2018. (AFP photo)

Policies forged under US President Donald Trump could push Germany towards Russia and China, warns the former German ambassador to the United States.

Wolfgang Ischinger made the comments in an interview with Reuters on Monday ahead of the publication of his book “World in Danger.”

“The longer Trump remains in office, the harder it will be to stand up to those in this country and elsewhere in Europe who have been arguing since the Vietnam war that we need to cut the cord with America the bully,” said Ischinger, who currently serves as the chairman of the Munich Security Conference.

“It would become much harder for the German government to stay the course and defend this relationship… And the forces calling for a closer relationship with countries like Russia or China might be emboldened.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and US President Donald Trump (C) make a statement to the press, next to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (3rdR) after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit at the NATO headquarters, in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. (AFP photo)

Since he appeared in office, Trump has had a tough relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ischinger further praised Merkel for her emphasis on Germany’s independence in the wake of Trump’s grip to power at the White House.

“It’s not enough to declare that we want to assume more responsibility. We need to show where the beef is, and that there is beef. There need to be budgetary consequences.”

Apart from threatening to impose tariffs on German cars, Trump has also blasted Berlin for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia.

"If US sanctions are applied to prevent Nord Stream 2, the repercussions will be poisonous for the transatlantic relationship,” Ischinger said. “Even if you have doubts about the wisdom of Nord Stream 2, it is hard not to see this as a serious violation, as an instance of the US forcing its views on the Europeans.”

The Republican president has been undermining international alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), and pulled Washington out of the Iran nuclear deal as well as the Paris climate change agreement.

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