Sunday, May 28, 2017

'Watershed Moment': Merkel Says Germany Can No Longer Rely On The U.S., N Korea Launches Another Ballistic Missile

In "Watershed Moment" Merkel Says Germany Can No Longer Rely On America

One day after Donald Trump infuriated Angela Merkel and the rest of his G-7 peers, when the US president refused to endorse the Paris climate treaty, prompting the German chancellor to say  that “the whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory... here we have the situation that six members, or even seven if you want to add the EU, stand against one", Germany's prime minister made what many have dubbed, an "era-defining" statement.
Speaking at a CDU election rally in Munich, Merkel said that Europe "must take its fate into its own hands" or as the AFP put it, "Merkel warns US, Britain no longer reliable partners."

Video: Merkel's speech in Munich saying Europe can't rely on the US & UK anymore & "must take destiny in own hands"

Faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency, Merkel said "die zeiten, in denen wir uns auf andere völlig verlassen konnten, sind ein Stück vorbei", or loosely translated "the times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out" and added that "I've experienced that in the last few days." 

Merkel today: "The times in which [Germany] could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days."

Merkel then said that while Germany and Europe would strive to remain on good terms with America and Britain, "we have to fight for our own destiny" and she also said that special emphasis was needed on warm relations between Berlin and newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.

Her comments came after Trump said during the G-7 meeting he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal, which has frustrated European diplomats. A subseqent report by Axios, Trump privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that "he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change" which will likely further infurate his European allies.

During his trip, Trump also echoed his past criticism of NATO allies for failing to meet the defensive alliance's military spending commitment of two percent of GDP. 

On Friday, Trump also described German trade practices as "bad, very bad," in Brussels talks last week, complaining that Europe's largest economy sells too many cars to the US.
Reactions to Merkel's striking comment came pouring in from the likes of Edward Snowden who called her speech an "era-defining moment":

... the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Richard Haass, who called it a "watershed moment"

... the editor of the Financial Times, calling it a"big moment in transatlantic relations"

... and many others:
In short, it seems that the time for a New-er World Order may be at hand, and many are not too happy.

It's becoming a weekend tradition. 
Almost exactly one week after the latest ballistic missile test launch by Pyongyang last Sunday, and two weeks after a similar launch the weekend prior, North Korea has fired its latest unidentified ballistic missile early on Monday, South Korea's military said according to Yonhap News. According to NBC, the North Korean missile flew for 6 miles after launch and landed in the Sea of Japan.
The launch will be the 12th missile Pyongyang has fired this year (according to the WSJ, and 9th according to Bloomberg, which count launch "errors" differently).

The unidentified missile was fired from near the North Korean coastal city of Wonsan, Seoul's Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said. The missile flew in a easterly direction, sources said. 
The launch was immediately reported to President Moon Jae-in, who called a meeting of the National Security Council at 7:30 a.m. (2230 GMT Sunday), the South Korean office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, according to Reuters.
While there was little initial information, the North Korean projectile may fall into waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK which cited the Japanese government.

NHK also adds that the Defense Ministry is analyzing details such as projectile path, and added that the foreign ministry will - again - protest to North Korea using diplomatic channels.  Prime Minister’s office collecting information in task office from related agencies and heighten alert.
There has been no official response from the White House yet, altough we expect the token "the White House is aware of the launch" will be fortcoming momentarily. 
Trump, who has said all options are on the table to deal with Kim’s regime, has repeatedly sought more help from China to rein in its neighbor and ally. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton on Friday acknowledged China’s efforts such as banning North Korean coal imports and tightening border controls, while adding that “they clearly have to do more.” Clearly, because on Friday Yonhap reported that North Korea's grain imports from China showed a more than fivefold surge last month from a year ago.
At least North Korea has so far this year refrained from conducting a nuclear test, something which even Beijing has said would be a 'red line."
Meanwhile, as reported yesterday, a third US aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz is now making its way to the Korean Peninsula where it will join the Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan, ahead of what many anticipate could be a "decapitation" attack on the North Korean regime.

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