- Germany is the new “frontline “in the West’s cold war with China and Russia, according to a new report by a leading British think tank.
- UK think tank RUSI says the Kremlin is waging a campaign of political interference, while Beijing sees Germany as its main target for economic expansion, the report suggests
- The relationship between Berlin and Washington has worsened since Trump became president.
- “Shortcomings” in Germany’s relationship with the US meant that working with the Trump administration is “not easy,” Germany’s ambassador to the UK told Business Insider.
- The report comes as the White House confirms that the US will pull out thousands of troops from Germany.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Germany has become the new “frontline” of the West’s Cold War with Russia and China, but “no longer feels it can rely on the US” for protection, according to a new report.
The report by the London-based defence think tank, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) comes as the White House formally announced that it will pull out thousands of troops from Germany.
It suggests that the Kremlin is waging a campaign of political interference in the country, focused on creating instability in the region.
The threat from Russia comes as Beijing also focuses on expanding its own influence in Germany, posing “a series of political and economic-based hazards emanating from China.”
The report’s author, RUSI’s John Kampfner, states that “Germany is on the frontline of Russian and Chinese hybrid actions of interference and influence in Europe.”
However, Merkel’s government feels that it can no longer rely on the US to “underpin its security” after a series of clashes between Chancellor Merkel and President Trump.
“With President Donald Trump well into his fourth year as president, it no longer feels it can rely on the US to underpin its security,” the report states.
The RUSI report suggests that while Russia’s interference is “largely political, attempting to undermine public confidence in democratic institutions,” China’s has been focused “mainly on economic assets.”
“It faces different dangers from Russia, revolving mainly around cyber-security, but by no means confined to that,” Kampfner says.
Andreas Michaelis, Germany’s ambassador to the UK, recently told Business Insider that “shortcomings” in Germany’s relationship with the US meant that working with the Trump administration is now “not easy.”
“With all the shortcomings in terms of information policy, and things being decided without consultation, this untidiness that has crept into the relationship is something that worries us,” he said.
Germany’s alliance with the US under historic strain
Merkel’s relationship with Trump has been under strain recently amid a series of high-profile foreign policy clashes.
Merkel’s government reacted angrily to Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Germany later this year.
Johann Wadephul, a senior figure in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, last month said: “We expect our leading ally to act as a model, with orientation and balance – not maximum pressure.
“You don’t treat partners like this.”
Peter Beyer, Germany’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation,said it was “completely unacceptable.”
In a separate row, EU officials were “furious” with the Trump administration, Bloomberg reported, after the president moved to shut Germany and the rest of the EU out of White House talks between leaders of Serbia and Kosovo. Merkel has played a leading role in trying to broker reconciliation between the two countries.
Trump also triggered outrage in Germany after reportedly seeking to obtain exclusive access to a coronavirus vaccine being developed in the country.