TEHRAN (Iran News) – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized US President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy approach, saying such perspective would stoke global insecurity.
“Our closest ally, the United States of America, under the current administration, rejects the very concept of the international community,” German President, Steinmeier said at the annual Munich Security Conference on Friday.
“‘Great again’ – even at the expense of neighbors and partners,” he added without naming Trump but referring to his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Steinmeier further criticized Russia’s and China’s approach to global affairs, accusing them of amplifying global insecurity in pursuit of “great power” competition.
He called for a European policy toward Russia and China, saying that “in this scenario, the security of one is the insecurity of others.”
Steinmeier further said the US’ interests are gravitating away from Europe toward Asia, emphasizing that Germany should raise defense spending to contribute more to European security.
He also emphasized the importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance, which has been frequently criticized by Trump.
NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance with 29 member states, enjoys a budget of over 20 times that of Russia.
NATO members are required to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on military affairs, while the US currently spends around 4 percent.
Trump has been a fierce NATO critic, mostly accusing other military alliance members of not paying their “fair share.”
The Trump administration has been pressuring Germany and other European members to raise their military budget and contribute more towards the cost of the alliance.
It has also threatened to reduce US military support if allies do not increase spending.
In January, Germany said it planned to build at least four new multi-role warships worth nearly 6 billion euros in an effort to increase its military capabilities.
Germany has announced to increase military spending by more than 5 billion euros this year to 47.32 billion euros, the biggest rise since the end of the Cold War.
The announcement came amid a brewing dispute between the US and the Europeans over military spending by NATO members.
The push for an integrated European military comes as the EU is searching for answers to a US president who views the EU with contempt.
Last November, French President Emmanuel Macron warned European countries that they could no longer rely on America to defend NATO allies.
“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Macron said, citing lack of coordination between Europe and the US.
He said there were clear signs that the US, under the presidency of Trump, was “turning its back on us.”
Macron further noted that Europe was strong enough to defend itself without help from the US.
He said Europe stood on “the edge of a precipice” and needed to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power; otherwise, it would “no longer be in control of” its destiny.
Separately on Friday, France and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to a $50-billion ($34 billion) submarine deal.
Australia signed a production contract with French shipbuilder Naval Group in February 2019 for a fleet of 12 attack-class submarines.
Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds met with France’s Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to discuss the project.
“We agreed on a follow-up process at our level for the implementation of the program on a quarterly basis this year with a meeting in France in April and another in Australia in mid-year,” the two said in a joint statement.
Australia’s 12 new submarines are at the center of its plan to significantly expand its military to protect strategic and trade interests in the Asia-Pacific region. The first of the new submarines are scheduled to be delivered in the early 2030s and the final vessel during the 2050s.
- source : PressTV, Iran News