We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

July 11, 2018

Trump is already succeeding in his goal to divide the EU

Donald Trump has descended on Brussels for what is going to be an interesting Nato summit today. We spare you our thoughts on his latest tweets, but would like instead to focus on the substantive point of his accusation - that Germany is not spending enough money on defence. What strikes us as particular interesting is that German commentators, who normally get very upset when other countries miss their targets, seem to be rather oblivious to the Nato defence spending commitment. Nobody, not even Trump, says Germany should be spending 2% of GDP now. The target is for 2024. But Germany’s commitment is moving from a very low level, 1.22% in 2017, towards an even lower percentage by 2021. If Germany took its target seriously, it would need to raise defence spending to at least 1.5% of GDP by the end of this coalition, and make another quantum leap afterwards. This is also what Ursula von der Leyen, defence minister, is asking for. The truth is that Angela Merkel does not want to sacrifice her coalition and the SPD is implacably opposed to the target. Fudging the target, and depleting the Bundeswehr’s capacity, has been the easier option politically. Until Trump came.

We agree that one should not reduce the debate to a single number. We have seen in the eurozone that the focus on singular targets can often produce undesirable side-effects. And the latest defence report from the Munich Security Conference suggests that the gap between US and non-US spending in Nato has undergone large fluctuations, as this graph shows. But it also shows that the US vastly outspends the other Nato members on defence.

What can Trump do today? He cannot pull out of Nato. He would need two-thirds majorities in the House and the Senate to get out of an international treaty. But he is in a position to damage Nato simply by casting doubt on the Article 5 commitment. 

Ulrich Speck (@ulrichspeck) makes a number of good points in a tweet storm about the shifts in the transatlantic relationship. The old deal was that the US was providing a safe space in which Germany could develop its own economy and its own social contract. It bought stability in Europe. Germany is now totally stunned by Trump. Merkel’s strategy to engage with Trump has failed. There are now three alternative courses: the left wants to break with the US and re-position Germany closer to Russia; the right wants to emulate Trump - Germany first. And the least likely of all is a European solution. Speck argues that Trump’s strategy to divide the Europeans is already succeeding.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • July 27, 2017
  • Löfven's move
  • The nearing end of petrol and diesel engines
  • Why a second referendum in the UK won’t happen, and why it would be wrong
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • June 20, 2017
  • How to soften Brexit?
  • The deep roots of Brexit: Thatcher and the Germans
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • May 31, 2017
  • Getting real in the debate on the euro's future
  • Russia's growing influence in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 29, 2019
  • What comes after plan B fails? Plan C, of course. C for cliff-edge
  • Gilets jaunes, how to structure a movement in free flow?
  • European Court of Auditors criticises Juncker’s investment fund
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 23, 2019
  • Corbyn’s last big battle
  • Germany’s CO2 compromise meets all targets - except the climate targets
  • November 13, 2018
  • Peak Salvini?
  • Protest uberisation
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • February 28, 2017
  • Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?
  • Something we just don’t understand
  • Solve the problem
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 31, 2019
  • Salvini’s frightening strength
  • The significance of Corbyn’s latest flipflop on the referendum
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • November 09, 2017
  • From street protests to road closures
  • What Russia wants
  • January 31, 2017
  • Project fear against Italexit
  • On how not to frustrate Brexit
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 07, 2019
  • Forget Tusk - the real action is elsewhere
  • On David Malpass and the Trump legacy
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • September 15, 2017
  • Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
  • What to say in Florence
  • How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 26, 2019
  • How Brexit has given rise to different perceptions of reality
  • The EP, not Madrid, will boost Spanish clout
  • How realistic is a Gaullist Europe?
  • September 17, 2018
  • About the new partnership between Russia and China
  • EU ponders Irish backstop protocol to help May
  • February 07, 2018
  • A short note on bitcoin
  • July 04, 2017
  • On the CDU’s programme
  • Macron defines his presidential style
  • Why do we criticise modern macro?
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 30, 2019
  • A pyrrhic victory for Kurz
  • Will there really be UK elections?
  • April 01, 2019
  • Meaningful IV
  • Caputová elected: a turning point for central Europe?
  • October 02, 2018
  • Whatever it takes - diesel version
  • Is Macron's European discourse too simplistic?
  • April 06, 2018
  • Schleswig Holstein collapses Spain's strategy against Catalan separatism
  • On the implausibility of conspiracy theories in the Skripal case
  • October 09, 2017
  • UK is starting to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
  • Why Germany will resist meaningful eurozone reform
  • April 12, 2017
  • Macro in a state of denial
  • Where Schulz is vulnerable
  • Schäuble’s three party tricks
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • February 04, 2019
  • Watch out for the resurgence in Tory unity
  • The gilets-jaunes' effect on the European elections
  • What did he possibly mean by that?
  • September 27, 2018
  • Two ways out of the Brexit impasse
  • May 22, 2018
  • A €60bn ESM credit line - is this what they call a backstop?
  • Will Nato survive Trump?
  • Northern Ireland's Brexit disillusion
  • Would Corbyn become prime minister if he accepted the single market?
  • January 15, 2018
  • Is the section on Europe for real?
  • Can Drahos upset Zeman?
  • September 11, 2017
  • Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
  • How nasty is the AfD?
  • May 08, 2017
  • A message of hope
  • Barnier's not so easily agreed Brexit principles
  • The rebirth of the paranoid conspiracy theory
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 24, 2016
  • Towards a hard Brexit
  • Is there a pact of Ventotene?
  • La rentrée
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 01, 2019
  • AfD now going for the climate change deniers
  • Tancos - a game changer in Portugal's election?
  • September 02, 2019
  • Prorogation already served its purpose - events will come to a head this week
  • EU citizens in the UK are the biggest victims of no-deal Brexit
  • August 05, 2019
  • No deal first, elections later
  • Free movement of labour? Not for politicians
  • Europe already lost the digital battle
  • July 09, 2019
  • What the UK polls are telling us - and what not
  • June 13, 2019
  • On the large and rising risk of a no-deal Brexit
  • Unite and divide - Act II of Edouard Philippe
  • May 20, 2019
  • Far right on the march
  • A plot against the EU - a new weapon to stop Le Pen?
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • April 01, 2019
  • Meaningful IV
  • Caputová elected: a turning point for central Europe?
  • March 11, 2019
  • Ask what Europe can do for Germany - AKK's EU manifesto
  • February 18, 2019
  • How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit
  • January 28, 2019
  • Battle of the amendments
  • How the Prespes deal affects the next Greek elections
  • January 07, 2019
  • What to look out for in the Brexit debates
  • Macron's last-resort tool for the gilets jaunes
  • December 21, 2018
  • Not just Brexit makes 2019 a year of EU uncertainty
  • Sentiment is fickle, especially about sentiment
  • Father Christmas - French edition
  • King suspends Michel's resignation
  • EP has objections to the withdrawal treaty
  • Let's break the law
  • December 05, 2018
  • Unilateral Brexit revocation is possible, but only until March 29
  • French government suspends diesel tax - too little, too late?
  • Schauble supports Merz
  • November 19, 2018
  • May’s pushback is kicking in
  • November 05, 2018
  • Macron trails behind Le Pen in European elections poll
  • How the CDU will organise leadership campaign
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • October 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • September 14, 2018
  • Carney warns about dramatic hard Brexit impact on housing market
  • Can Africa thrive on free trade with Europe?
  • September 05, 2018
  • May’s gamble
  • The ultimate migrant
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • July 30, 2018
  • Brexit midsummer madness
  • July 25, 2018
  • Future of euro debate: can the ECB do the heavy lifting?
  • July 20, 2018
  • Why preparations for no-deal Brexit are a positive development
  • On confirmation bias in the Brexit commentary
  • July 16, 2018
  • How to think about the three Brexit options
  • How to respond to Trump
  • July 13, 2018
  • Can Spain's PP turn eurosceptic over Catalonia?
  • July 12, 2018
  • Remainers are facing an acute dilemma now