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“We grew up in the certain knowledge that the United States wanted to be a world power,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with a group of six European newspapers, published on June 26. “Should the U.S. now wish to withdraw from that role of its own free will, we would have to reflect on that very deeply.” The world has indeed grown accustomed to Pax Americana, the period of relative peace from the end of World War ii to the present. Chancellor Merkel disagrees with much of U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, but her recent comments were likely in response to his decision to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany.

“American troops in Germany help to protect not only Germany and the European part of nato but also the interests of the United States of America,” she warned.

President Trump has been urging other nations to contribute their fair share to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, threatening to pull out of the organization if they failed to do so. In Ms. Merkel’s opinion, however, Germans “know that we have to spend more on defense; we have achieved considerable increases in recent years, and we will continue on that path to enhance our military capabilities.” Yet even as they are spending more, America is still drawing back.

The U.S. withdrawal from Europe serves as additional incentive for Europe to pursue military cooperation and independence from the U.S. “Look at the world; look at China or India,” Merkel said.