Unlike the UK, Germany realises that the EU is the only game in town as America wavers and Asia boomsby Dominic Hinde / June 3, 2017 / Leave a comment
In the summer of 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made a speech to an adoring crowd in Berlin, riding a wave of hope that the difficult relationship between the US and Europe during the Bush years could be brushed aside.
That day Obama invoked the Berlin airlift as German democracy’s finest hour, and there is no doubt that without British and American assistance West Berlin would have been unable to survive the Soviet blockade.
Throughout the Cold War, West Germany was reliant on the military and economic support of the US and UK, and Obama was merely imitating what Kennedy and Reagan had done before at the gates of Berlin in a bygone age.
Obama’s widely lauded speech was part of his electoral strategy, designed to show TV viewers back home that he could rebuild the bridges burned by the Republicans in Europe. Fast forward a decade and Angela Merkel was the one drawing attention with her campaign speeches, and burning some bridges as she did so.
At a beer festival in Munich last weekend, and in an orchestrated and strained show of unity with the Bavarian sister party to the CDU, with whom she has a famously difficult relationship, she declared that “We Europeans must take our fate into our own hands.” Britain, Russia and the US remain neighbours and partners, said Merkel, but the time had come for the continent to assert itself.