German Official: Our Relationship With The U.S. Will Never Be The Same

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The acting foreign minister said in Trump's view, even allies can be seen as economic adversaries.

In remarks on Tuesday, Germany's acting foreign minister indicated that changes brought by the Trump administration necessitate a change in the country's posture toward foreign policy, specifically it must "define and defend" its own interests.

The official, Sigmar Gabriel, called for a new willingness to clash with Washington on any range of issues, including trade and Iran.

Mr. Gabriel made his remarks in a speech to a foreign policy conference hosted by the Körber Foundation in Berlin, before he traveled to Brussels, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived to a cool reception even as he tried to reassure his European partners that Washington remained committed to the trans-Atlantic partnership.

Gabriel laid out in no uncertain terms that U.S. allies are both skeptical of Trump and ready to part ways if need be.

“We must be able to define our own position and, if necessary, draw red lines, in partnership, but oriented around our own interests,” Mr. Gabriel said, adding that the Trump administration sees the world as an arena for competition in which even Europe can be an economic adversary.

He also argued that the U.S. as a guardian of European security and economic interests is a thing of the past.

He pointed to the most recent United States sanctions against Russia passed by Congress this summer, which may affect German economic interests, as well as to Mr. Trump’s disavowal of the Iran nuclear deal and the American president’s plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.