>> The times when Germany could fully count on others are over. Those were Angela Merkel's words to a packed beer tent in Munich on Sunday, after days of tense and tricky meetings with US President Donald Trump. These were uncharacteristically blunt words from Merkel, why did she make them, and why did she make them now?
I'm Noah Barkin, Europe Correspondent for Reuters in Berlin. I've been speaking to German officials close to Merkel, who say her comments were the result of mounting frustration with Trump, domestic election factors, and also the fact that she has a new partner in Paris in Emmanuel Macron, the new French President.
Merkel has gone out of her way to establish a good working relationship with Trump, despite deep policy differences between the two leaders. But the Germans came away from Trump's first visit to Europe deeply disturbed, according to officials that I've spoken to. Trump in Brussels speaking to NATO, bashed Germany and other NATO members for not spending enough.
So the Germans came away from this trip concerned about Trump and the future of US policy. There are also domestic reasons for why Merkel made the statement that she did, she faces an election in four months' time. She's ahead in the polls right now, but her opponents, the social democrats, have signaled that they're gonna run a very anti-Trump campaign.
They oppose Trump's demands for more German defense spending. Merkel has supported those, despite the political risks. From a political point of view, you can argue that her remarks were well timed, but from a strategic point of view, there are big questions about Germany or Europe distancing itself from the United States.
Germany depends hugely on the United States for intelligence in the security and defense areas, so it will be very, very difficult for Germany to distance itself too quickly and too far from the United States, Donald Trump or no Trump.