US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has lambasted Germany's reluctance to participate in a Washington-organised military operation to secure the Strait of Hormuz and to ensure the freedom of navigation there in an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
Justifying his disappointment, Grenell pointed out that the US has done a lot for Germany and suggested that the latter should now participate in the American endeavour, as it has grown to become a major power in the EU.
"America has made many sacrifices to help Germany stay a part of the West. And we currently have 34,000 troops stationed in Germany - that's billions of dollars spent by the American people. Germany is the largest economic power in Europe. That's why this success brings with it global responsibilities", Grenell said.
Washington has invited Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, South Korea, the UK, as well as other countries to participate in an international coalition aimed at ensuring the safety of civilian vessels sailing through the Strait of Hormuz. The call came following a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf by unknown perpetrators and the seizure of a British vessel by Iran over alleged maritime violations.
The US believes the seizure was illegal and that Tehran was behind the attacks on tankers in order to disrupt the oil trade going through Hormuz, but has failed to present credible evidence substantiating the claims. Iran denies involvement in the attacks and has noted that the detention of the UK tanker was absolutely legal. An official investigation into the attacks on the tankers conducted by the UAE showed that they had been carried out by a state actor, but failed to pinpoint which.
While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted that building a coalition would take time, Germany has already shown its reluctance to participate. German Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the matter was being discussed with the US, but German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated on 1 August that Germany would not participate in the "US initiative".
"We must make every effort to avoid a further escalation in the Strait of Hormuz […] We will look for a way to ease tensions. There can be no military solution to it", he said.
This is not the first time that the US has expressed its discontent at the actions of its NATO ally. Last year, US President Donald Trump castigated Chancellor Angela Merkel over spending not enough money on NATO, calling on it to boost spending to 2% of the country's GDP.