German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had enough of President Trump. Speaking last Sunday in a Munich beer hall, Merkel suggested that Europe may no longer be able to rely on the United States as a faithful ally and that the continent “really must take our fate into our own hands.”I had three reactions to this. The first was: You ingrate. We bailed you out twice in the 20th century at enormous cost in blood and treasure. After World War II, the Marshall Plan rebuilt your nation, even though your people elected Adolf Hitler and brought the destruction on yourselves.My second reaction was: Good! It’s about time Europe started paying its own way and stopped relying on its U.S. “sugar daddy” for protection while nations focused on their own economies.Then a third thought occurred to me: This is precisely what Russia’s Vladimir Putin wants to happen. Separating Europe from the United States would give him more opportunities to expand Russian territory and engage in other ventures not in the best interests of Europe, or America.What irritates Merkel and even her opposition in the September election, apparently, is President Trump’s refusal to accept “climate change” as fact and to assure Europe the U.S. will honor the Paris Agreement signed by President Obama. Trump has called climate change a “hoax,” but during the G-7 meeting in Brussels he used less acerbic language in conversations with other leaders. Some media reports quoted a “White House adviser” as saying the president’s views are “evolving” on the issue. The adviser added the president will do what’s in the best interests of the U.S.For conservatives, “evolving” has come to mean one’s mind is about to change to a position opposite the one he once fervently held. Last December, Politico reported that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who believes in climate change, wants to use her position as an adviser to her father to change his mind.Europe has often been on the wrong side of issues (Merkel’s open border policy to Muslim immigrants being just the latest), and this time appears to be no exception. A poll published in February by FG Wahlen for German public broadcaster ZDF, found 78 percent of Germans “very concerned” about the policies of President Trump. That was 20 percent more than those concerned about the policies of Putin.More evidence that a majority of Germans are making bad choices came from an event featuring Merkel and former President Barack Obama. For reasons that appear to have nothing to do with his accomplishments (he received the Nobel Peace Prize, an indulgence in wishful thinking), most Germans still admire Obama, as evidenced at an appearance with Merkel in Berlin last week.Whatever electoral benefit Merkel might gain from her statements about Trump, neither Europe nor the U.S. can afford a rupture in their Atlantic partnership. If “climate change” is the main cause of the tension, then a debate about it should take place with climate scientists from both sides participating, something that is rarely if ever seen because climate change fanatics behave like cult members, ignoring all contrary evidence and intimidating and silencing opposing views.While Merkel probably won’t carry through on her threat she needs America, as does the rest of Europe to keep Putin at bay just the suggestion of a separation could be enough for Putin to try and seize more territory and solidify Russia’s annexation of Crimea and his occupation of parts of Ukraine.The partnership between Europe and America for the last 70-plus years is too important to let emotions and personalities divide us.Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.
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