German Chancellor Merkel and Donald Trump hold tense meeting in Washington


German Chancellor Merkel and Donald Trump hold tense meeting in Washington

Peter Schwarz

28 April 2018

Yesterday’s meeting between US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared superficially friendly. Neither held back with compliments. But on the fundamental issues discussed, the nuclear agreement with Iran and the imposition by the US of trade tariffs on the European Union, Trump made no concessions. Instead, Merkel endorsed Trump’s confrontational policy towards Iran, which threatens to culminate in yet another major war in the Middle East and a direct military clash with the nuclear power Russia.

Even though the tariffs imposed by Trump on steel and aluminium are set to take effect on May 1, he was not prepared to grant a delay, let alone withdraw them. Like French President Emmanuel Macron before her, Merkel was firmly rebuffed on this issue, which threatens to escalate into an all-out trade war.

Responding to a journalist’s question on where things stood with the tariffs, Merkel merely answered, “The President will decide.” During the press conference, Trump repeatedly complained about the US trade deficit with the EU, which amounts to €150 billion. This is “unfair” and a “great injustice” that has to be put right, he said.

Trump also gave no ground on his possible decision to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran, with a final decision due May 12. At the press conference, Trump launched into a vicious tirade against Tehran and threatened it with war. He described the Iranian government as a “murderous regime” which encouraged “violence, bloodletting and chaos” throughout the Middle East.

Responding to a question from a journalist on whether he would go to war with Iran after leaving the nuclear deal if Tehran…

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