23:39 GMT +314 October 2019
Listen Live
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron meet at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 15, 2017

    Prof Not Ruling Out That 'Fragmentation of EU & NATO is on the Horizon'

    © REUTERS / Guido Bergmann/Courtesy of Bundesregierung
    Opinion
    Get short URL
    580
    Subscribe

    The Pentagon has commissioned a study on the consequences of withdrawing US forces from Germany. Speaking to Sputnik, Dr. Germano Dottori, a professor of strategic studies at Luiss University in Rome, outlined the broader significance of the study, and what Trump's vision means for Washington's NATO allies.

    Sputnik: What was it that drove Washington to reassess the cost of stationing troops in Germany now? Should this be a matter of concern for the US's NATO allies?

    Germano Dottori: I think the White House is looking for options. It's not a mystery that President Trump advocates for a different US posture in world affairs; he is not a confrontational president, at least not vis-à-vis Russia. He relies more on the economic strength of America than on the US forward military presence.

    Yes, the attitude [toward NATO] is a problem to all those who still look at international security as if we were living in Cold War times. These days are now over. New realities are emerging, in my opinion.

    Sputnik: Should it be a matter of concern for US allies in NATO though?

    Germano Dottori: I think it could be perceived as a problem, because the European integration process was set in motion during the Cold War era, when the United States provided the Europeans with a strong, uncontested leadership. Now that leadership is over; it's opened a new competition for leadership in Europe. 

    Each country in Europe is called on to make a choice. The choice will be based in each state on its own national interest, and these interests are competing. So it's not to be ruled out that the fragmentation of Europe and NATO is on the horizon.

    An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter stands in front of a Galaxy C-5 transport plane at the US Air Base in Ramstein, western Germany, February 22, 2017.
    © AFP 2019 / MARTIN GOLDHAHN / DPA
    An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter stands in front of a Galaxy C-5 transport plane at the US Air Base in Ramstein, western Germany, February 22, 2017.

    Sputnik: While Trump has expressed an interest in pulling US forces out of Germany, a Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said there was 'no intention' to withdraw any troops. Which do you think it is?

    Germano Dottori: The possible military withdrawal from Germany has to be put in a wider context. America should transition in Trump's opinion to a 'remote control mode', one more cost-benefit-effective to his eyes, giving up the pattern of expanded forward presence. It's the same approach that the White House adopted vis-à-vis North Korea. 

    Of course the deep state, including the Pentagon, will do whatever it takes to stop Trump. The battle is underway, and is fought also outside the United States, in my opinion. It involves the whole of Europe, or the former West.

    Sputnik: Do you think that we're going to see a major shift in the way the US relates with the European Union? Trump recently said that the EU was 'worse than China' as far as trade was concerned.

    Germano Dottori: I think the narrative stressing the so-called unfair [lack of European NATO spending] is just a bit more than propaganda. Even Trump cannot desire a German military expenditure jumping to some $80 billion per year. He is just signaling that Germany is no longer the strong ally it was during the Cold War, and is instead a competitor and maybe even a prospective rival.

    By the way, even the special relationship between Washington and London is in trouble. We are entering a new world, more similar to the one imagined in 1945 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt than to the one later put in place by President Harry Truman.

    In my opinion, even if there are some tactics at play, it's a tactic that fits well with the strategic global vision envisioned by Trump. There is consistency.

    (L-R) US President Donald Trump, China's President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Argentinia's President Mauricio Macri and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull turn around for photographers at the start of the first working sessionthe G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017
    © REUTERS / Kay Nietfeld, Pool
    (L-R) US President Donald Trump, China's President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Argentinia's President Mauricio Macri and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull turn around for photographers at the start of the first working sessionthe G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017

    Sputnik: Do you think that this is consistent though with where America was heading prior to the Trump administration? Or is this something temporary that Trump is going to put into place and then we'll see things getting 'back to normal' once Trump is gone?

    Germano Dottori: That is very difficult to predict at the moment. While it's very clear that the vision that Trump long embraced is of course not only the master in command in the United States. The United States is a very complex country, with lots of centers of power and influence, so if there is a degree of unpredictability, it is not in the will of Donald Trump but instead in the way that Donald Trump should adopt to put this program in motion. 

    I think that a global agreement with Russia is the strategic cornerstone of the Trump plan for the future United States posture in the world. The main competitors and enemies – the main one is China and the second one is Germany – they have to be contained; in the midst of China and Germany is Russia. Russia is strategic to Trump, and there is nothing that could alter this perception. 

    I would like to stress that even in the Cold War era, when there was still the Soviet Union…Trump didn't perceive the Soviet Union as an existential threat to the United States. Instead he was looking at that time at Japan, because the Soviet Union was not able to put at risk American [economic] competitiveness in the world at large. This vision is still in place in Trump's mind in my opinion.

    The views expressed by Dr. Germano Dottori are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Related:

    US Mulls Pulling Troops From Germany as Trump-Merkel Tensions Mount - Reports
    'Longstanding Shortfall': Trump Slams Germany for Being Slow on Defense
    Tags:
    pullout, expert analysis, troop withdrawal, geopolitics, NATO, Donald Trump, European Union, China, United States, Russia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik