In Stunning Pair Of Interviews, Trump Slams NATO And EU, Threatens BMW With Tax; Prepared To "Cut Ties" With Merkel

Tyler Durden's picture

In two separate, and quite striking, interviews with Germany's Bild (paywall) and London's Sunday Times (paywall), Donald Trump did what he failed to do in his first US press conference, and covered an extensive amount of policy and strategy, much of which however will likely please neither the pundits, nor the markets.

Among the numerous topics covered in the Bild interview, he called NATO obsolete, predicted that other European Union members would join the U.K. in leaving the bloc and threatened BMW with import duties over a planned plant in Mexico, according to a Sunday interview granted to Germany’s Bild newspaper that will raise concerns in Berlin over trans-Atlantic relations. Furthermore, in his first "exclusive" interview in the UK granted to the Sunday Times, Trump said he will offer Britain a quick and “fair” trade deal with America within weeks of taking office to help make Brexit a “great thing”. Trump revealed that he was inviting Theresa May to visit him “right after” he gets into the White House and wants a trade agreement between the two countries secured “very quickly”.

Trump told the Times that other countries would follow Britain’s lead in leaving the European Union, claiming it had been deeply ­damaged by the migration crisis. “I think it’s very tough,” he said. “People, countries want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity.”

Elsewhere, quoted in German from a conversation held in English, Trump predicted Britain’s exit from the EU will be a success and portrayed the EU as an instrument of German domination with the purpose of beating the U.S. in international trade. For that reason, Trump said, he’s fairly indifferent whether the EU breaks up or stays together, according to Bild. According to Bloomberg, Trump’s comments "leave little doubt that he will stick to campaign positions and may in some cases upend decades of U.S. foreign policy, putting him fundamentally at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues from free trade and refugees to security and the EU’s role in the world."

Trump then attacked another carmarker, previosuly unnoticed by the president-elect, when he warned the United States will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market.  A BMW spokeswoman said a BMW Group plant in San Luis Potosi would build the BMW 3 Series starting from 2019, with the output intended for the world market. The plant in Mexico would be an addition to existing 3 Series production facilities in Germany and China. Trump said BMW should build its new car factory in the United States because this would be "much better" for the company.

He went on to say Germany was a great car producer, borne out by Mercedes Benz cars being a frequent sight in New York, but there was no reciprocity. Germans were not buying Chevrolets at the same rate, he said, making the business relationship an unfair one-way street. He said he was an advocate of free trade, but not at any cost. The BMW spokeswoman said the company was "very much at home in the U.S.," employing directly and indirectly nearly 70,000 people in the country.

Going back to foreign policy, Trump discussed his stance on Russia and suggested he might use economic sanctions imposed for Vladimir Putin’s encroachment on Ukraine as leverage in nuclear-arms reduction talks, while NATO, he said, “has problems.”

“[NATO] is obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago,” Bild quoted Trump as saying about the trans-Atlantic military alliance. “Secondly, countries aren’t paying what they should” and NATO “didn’t deal with terrorism.”

While those comments expanded on doubts Trump raised about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his campaign, he reserved some of his most dismissive remarks for the EU and Merkel, whose open-border refugee policy he called a “catastrophic mistake.” He further elaborated on this stance in the Times interview, where he said he was willing to lift Russian sanctions in return for a reduction in nuclear weapons.

When asked about the prospect of a nuclear arms reduction deal with Russia, Trump told the newspaper in an interview: "For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.”

Additionally, Trump said Brexit will turn out to be a "great thing."  Trump said he would work very hard to get a trade deal with the United Kingdom "done quickly and done properly".

Trump praised Britons for voting last year to leave the EU. People and countries want their own identity and don’t want outsiders to come in and “destroy it.” The U.K. is smart to leave the bloc because the EU “is basically a means to an end for Germany,” Bild cited Trump as saying. “If you ask me, more countries will leave,” he was quoted as saying.

While Trump blamed Brexit on an influx of refugees he said that Britain was forced to accept, the U.K.’s number of asylum applications in 2015 was a fraction of the 890,000 refugees who arrived in Germany that year at the peak of Europe’s migrant crisis.

With Merkel facing an unprecedented challenge from the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany as she seeks a fourth term this fall, Trump was asked whether he’d like to see her re-elected. He said he couldn’t say, adding that while he respects Merkel, who’s been in office for 11 years, he doesn’t know her and she has hurt Germany by letting “all these illegals” into the country.

Among Trump's other comments to Bild::

  • the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq may have been the worst in U.S. history;
  • that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is a natural talent who will bring about an accord with Israel
  • Trump plans to keep using social media including Twitter once he’s in the White House to sidestep the press and communicate directly with his followers
  • People entering the U.S. will face “extreme” security checks, possibly including some European nationals

But perhaps the most troubling, if only to legacy US diplomatic relations, was that, as the Times noted, "despite all of Mr Trump's expressions of admiration for Mr Putin and Mrs Merkel, he revealed that he was prepared to cut ties with both: "Well, I start off trusting both -  but let's see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all."

It is unclear if this litany of strategic and tactical announcements, many of which quite shocking in their audacity and scope, is merely meant to serve as a launching pad for further negotiations, something Trump has proven quite adept at doing by stunning his counterparties into a state of abrupt silence, or if these are actually meant to serve as a basis for future US policy; if it is the latter, when US markets reopen they may have a distinct case of indigestion because while the market had desperately hoped for more clarity out of Trump on his policies, what emerged in these two interview is hardly it.

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Croesus's picture

Merkel needs to be dropped into a vat of sulfuric acid, or fed to starving feral dogs.

CheapBastard's picture

... after German patriots stone her for a half an hour or so. She'll appreciate that multicultural touch!

HowdyDoody's picture

Now for the Ukrainian Nazis and the Polish Pillocks.

One reason why the Poles are so gungho about taking on Russia (other than money in secret bank accounts) is that, unlike the rest of Europe, most of Poland's energy comes from coal and not Russian gas. The Poles don't give a fsck if Russia turns off the gas once WW II starts.


FreezeThese's picture
FreezeThese (not verified) HowdyDoody Jan 15, 2017 6:57 PM

Thankfully he's too busy tweeting SNL reviews a week ahead of his presidency to take any of this shit seriously

Latina Lover's picture

Here's to Trump torching the NWO!

Mister Ponzi's picture

Abolish NATO! It's long overdue.

Croesus's picture

Love this quote from that link, Xythras:

"(German Chancellor Angela Merkel). Europe is clearly her favorite project, too, and yet she seems hell-bent on stuffing immigrants from outside of Europe down every European nation’s throat, including her own, to a degree that is clearly over stressing indigenous cultures and creating fractures everywhere".

The very definition of a traitor. She, like Soros, and plenty of others, are screwing-up the world for everyone. "Leaders"...bullshit; they are anything but. I am all in favor of seeing these people publicly executed,French Revolution style.

cheka's picture

feels weird...having a man as president

BaBaBouy's picture

NOW Im Convinced TRUMP Reads ZH ~~~

Joe Trader's picture

People take Trump too literally, even here - Trump made clear he wants good relations with Russia - then everyone assumes Trump will end NATO & pull out of Europe...

the "NATO is obsolete" comment is because he's angry that rich European countries depend on the US for defence and don't spend 2% of their GDP on defence....his end goal is saving tax dollars by not paying for rich European countries' defence.

Scuba Steve's picture

good read on him, good post

Déjà view's picture
US troops in Europe to outnumber all European troops combined

Still wondering why 'Euro P on' workers have such great BENEFITS...have American workers ever been thanked for their sacrifice...


Bumpo's picture

Bring the Troops home and stick them on the border. Defend our country and BUILD THAT DAMN WALL.

OldPost's picture

If he used Ron Paul's Foreign policy.... bring the troops home close all those foreign bases, put those lease payments back in the the troops along the border... he won't have to lay a single brick.....

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Many decades ago America agreed to all these one-sided trade policies long with our assurances that we wouldn't debase our currency and that we would turbocharge our engines of consumerism. This was all in exchange for allowing us to come off of the gold standard with the USD as the world reserve currency, along with various  agreements for the World to swallow all of the bond debt we could throw at them.

As we've seen this short-lived inflationary star has begun its collapse into a debt singularity. The grift on the American middle class is revealed and the house (reality that is) wants us to settle up.  I guess it's fitting that since we've reneged on all of the agreements we'd made, we might as well see what happens when we attempt to level out the trade playing field. The real patsys here are those holding our $20T in bad debt. (Assuming, of course, that they're unwilling to go to war over our default). I don't expect good things to come in the near term.

jeff montanye's picture

brling them home indeed.  we must free ourselves from the chains of israel.  it is not our friend or our ally.  it spies on us, shakes us down for billions and billions, attacks and kills our military and civilians and leads us into catastrophe after catastrophe.

people will argue with the truth that israel and its traitorous allies in the u.s. did jfk and 9-11 but no one argues that the israelis and the neocons didn't do the iraq war.  

what does that tell you?

heuvosYbacon's picture

That's right. Not only does Trump understand the fundamnetal commercial reality of the situation, he is also the only person open minded enough to see the future deal to be made.

The Germans and the Ruskis have profound reasons for redrawing the security architecture of Europe, and scrapping NATO. For a start, Germany needs what Russia sells, and Russia needs customers. A military border is a complete waste of money for both.

At the same time, both Germany and Russia want to compete for weapons sales to the combined new European Security Architecture (ESA). They want a slice of that pie.

Now NATO, being dominated by US manufacturers, currently enjoys the bulk of western European military material supply contracts. But the Germans, and the rest of Europe outside the UK, want NATO gone because they want to spend all that good defence budget on their own weapons, thus creating much needed jobs in their own economies. So NATO is a very bad deal for Euro politicians, and so they want it dead and gone. Sharing the total security pie with the ruskis is MUCH better business, because the Ruskis would be a lot of high tech german kit for their military.

So along comes Trump, the business guy. He sees that NATO has half the European security pie, but that the Euro trash nations are not spending what they promised to spend. Not even half. He also hears serious legal counsel that NATO blows dead goat cock, and that nobody wants it in the brave new world of tomorrow. He also understands that Vlad the Amazing is a business kind of guy, and that the size of the potential ESA is vast, being all of western europe, eastern Europe and perhaps also the CIS states in central Asia.

Trump naturally sees the huge new contract and he want a part of that. He also sees the ancient and decrepit old deal and he wants that fucking thing taken out back of barn and put to rest. It isn't that Trump hates NATO cause it is full of bad folks getting fat off war. He just doesn't like useless old things.

The MIC are going to come around to the Trumpiuan way of dealing with the world, because he is going to find their next meal ticket for them.

Joe Trader's picture

First Trump will have to determine if Russia's a true friend or foe - we haven't had a president who's been as open-minded on Russia as Trump - a lot of that has to do with the systemic issues, special interests, & a degree of corruption which plagues the US defence community.

The issue is how much give and take there is on both Russia's & US/NATO's part - as far as reducing the number of nukes both countries have. Don't be surprised if Trump doubles down and deploys more troops to Europe, if negotiations & relations really go south. It's not Trump-like to withdraw troops from Europe after getting inaugerated, dismantle NATO, and let Putin have his way - as many seem to believe...there will be demands from the US about Russia's nukes, and Ukraine (like it or not) --- while Russia will have demands about troop deployments & missile defence. Plus or minus, those seem to be the main issues, I'm not pretending to know exactly how it will end.

I hope negotiations are amicable, but Trump will absolutely show strength if he has to, aka NATO ain't goin anywhere. Why would Trump get rid of one of the strongest military alliances? It won't happen, NATO's an asset as long as he can get Europe to pay its own share, which will allow the US to strengthen itself, Europe to increase its own troop levels, and you end up with an even stronger military alliance - smart thinking by Trump..NATO's not going anywhere..

brianshell's picture

My view is that reducing the nuclear arsenal comes after a reduction of confrontational bluster. Trump strikes me as a purveyor of truth and I think he will see this. I don't see Putin as a loose cannon so if the neocons don't effectively interfere, we should have a safer world soon.

jeff montanye's picture

excellent choice of word: "effectively", cause interfere they will.  that will be the question over so much of foreign policy.  nearly all of the national politicians of both parties have been vetted and controlled via campaign contributions by aipac, etc.  this is the cancer in u.s. politics that must be removed.

brianshell's picture

Yes, it is amazing how skillful the deep deep actors are at remaining hidden and at deflecting attention when exposed. I guess after a thousand years, they have perfected their craft.

As with the super powerful and wealthy families, they have devised methods to pass the mantle on through the generations. In the case of zio, they promote a victim status wherein it is them against the world. Since they were not allowed to own land in so many of their adopted lands, they became adept at retailing and smithing. They learned  how to manipulate human nature covertly. They learned about gold and money. As Bill Still frequently writes, the borrower is slave to the lender. Perhaps their crown jewel is the Federal Reserve Bank.

This strategy may be effective but doesn't lend itself to being a good global citizen. It, if unchecked leads to global dominance. Perhaps that is why it naturally is attracted to directing the powerful US to its own goals.

When Hillary and the CIA were persuaded to do Arab spring for the advancement of the yenon plan, they used bribery, extortion, blackmail and carried out the coordination with a network of agents in well placed positions. Damn they are good. They use the seven deadly sins masterfully, as if lucifer himself were calling the shots.

Joe Trader's picture

Brian - I agree that the first issue at hand is resolving minor disagreements before the topic of Nukes comes up. The first stage is strengthening NATO. Trump always said that he was going to negotiate from a position of strength with Putin -- getting Europe to build up their armies, saving US tax dollars, strengthening the US military - the end result is an even stronger NATO alliance.

Not everyone liked my last comment as much - but I'll say it again: Trump will double down and send even more troops to Europe if negotiations don't get anywhere with Putin. You have to be very primitive minded and beta-male to think that Trump will just pull out of Europe and let Putin have his way. Trump's open to friendship with Putin - to a fault. Trump's comment that he'll keep sanctions against Russia in place "for some time" - until Russia proves that it can be trusted - is all the proof you need that Trump won't constantly roll over for Putin

We need Trump to figure out what Putin's really all about. All Putin needs to do, is guarantee the security of its neighbors - why wouldn't they do this considering Russia depends on their demand for energy? I'm rooting for Trump to pull off some win-win deals with Putin - but rest assured NATO will absolutely stand its ground and defend NATO members - a NATO attack on Russia is completely out of the question.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Men, or is it is not as simple as most of you make it out to be. Curious to see this board, who I have recommended to so many people as one of the finest on the webz, sounds like a cheerleaders cum-soaked rag now.

Russia needs to prove it's friendship. Germany is angry. China is this that or the third thing. These are meaningless soundbytes. Empty talk. 

Trump's school-boy level of geo-politics is not a refreshing change as some point out. It's like having a schizophrenic as the captain of your 747. I like you, I hate you, you are not my friend. Only a child speaks like that.

BTW, here is something for all trumpettes to pay attention to, his campaign was PURPOSELY carried out at a 4th grade comprehension level. Even Hildary gave the people she was addressing more credit regarding their brains. Trump was speaking to grown up 4th graders...congratulations if you were/are one of them.

You've been fugging HAD!


americanreality's picture

I'll bet you a $20 dollar bill that you're wrong.  What?  No, I don't accept "electronic" payments, why?

TheReplacement's picture

Worst case, we've been had.  At least we didn't have to attend a pizza party.

CNONC's picture

Another self proclaimed intellectual who mistakes complexity for sophistcation.  Geo-politics may have a lot of moving parts, but it does not require an especially great degree of intellectual power to understand.  Nations, and the governments which control them, act in their own short term self interest.  The pseudo academic approach used by the "sophisticates," with its various theories, like Rostow's take off, Dependecia, World Systems, etc., is sterile masturbation, used to obfuscate the truth that nobody has any clue, or even cares, what the outcome of their policies will actually be.  When the little people object, after the fact, to the deleterious effects of the striped suit crowd' policies, the puffed up blowhards and their sycophantic fanboys put on their best proffessorial stutters and lament the lack of sophistication of the benighted rubes. 

Zero Hedge is "one of the finest on the webz" until it doesn't reinforce your own opinion of yourself as an "intellectual."

I have my own problems with Trump's incipient foreign policy.  I do believe the United States, alone among nations, has a responsibility to consider the welfare of the world, along with its own self interest, in setting its foreign policy.  But I accept that a policy that specifically focuses on US self interest is legitimate.  In fact, given the last twenty years of "protecting and serving the shit out of" the rest of the world, perhaps a US which ceases to "help" might be a good thing.  You, Oh Regional Indian, might even agree.


Oh regional Indian's picture

Props for your voca-bull-ary...

Other than that...yeah yeah yeah....this is the system, we need to deal with it. your utopia sounds good but is entirely un-feasible without absolute destruction of the world as we know it. 

CNONC's picture

What Utopia did I describe?  I described a world ruled by the short term interests of a pseudo intellectual elite which acts without concern or regard for the people who will be most affected.  That system is self limiting.  The irrationality and destruction of real wealth it creates will eventually lead to its demise.  The farther along we get in this process of increasing irrationality, requiring increasing authoritarianism, the more convinced I become that the collapse of Soviet Communism was not so much a victory of the West, as simply the first symptom of a crawling rot that has already fatally infected the global economic and trade system. 

I don't believe in Utopia.  Absolute destruction of the world as we know it is coming anyway.  The apparent Trumpian retreat from global leadership and focus on national problems should be seen in the context of a failing world system.  Perhaps Trump's Wall will come to be seen as having the same significance as Hadrian's Wall.

Frozen's picture

Your anti-American tirades here are getting annoying.  I used to like reading your blog and posts, you have some pretty interesting thoughts.  But for you to come here, after making your loot in the U.S. and then beating feet back to India to complain about Americans is low and you know it.

Oh regional Indian's picture

If you think dissing trump is an anti-american tirade, I'm sorry my friend, you need help. Those are my opinions and it's my prerogative to be sarcastic. Downvotes mean jack shite. 


11b40's picture

Hopefully, we have not been "had" the way India has been.  Don't you have some rupees you need to convert?

WillyGroper's picture

when ur turn comes, don't think you'll be near as vitriolic.

Mr. Pain's picture

End the wars, bring the troops home and start to rebuild the slum know as the USA. And to keep the world from ever going this route of global hegemony, prosecute the neocons and lock their ass up, or even execute them for being traitors to Amerika.


Trump will out do Ron Paul.

z80kid's picture

NATO IS obsolete. We're not fighting an ideological war over communism anymore. And Europe is rich enough to handle it's own military affairs. If they decide to spend it on social handouts, that's their business. There's no reason for us to pick up the slack.

Joe Trader's picture

In Trump's view it's because it "doesn't deal with terrorism" and "countries aren't paying what they're supposed to".

1. "Doesn't deal with terrorism":.......I bet, speculate that he's going to us NATO to go after islamic immigration into Europe IMO as a package deal that requires them to deploy troops to fight ISIS. NOW IT MAKES SENSE. What's the other solution -- station NATO troops everywhere throughout Europe?.....

2. (Broken record at this point) Rich european countries will start paying 2% of their GDP on defence, build up their European militaries, and the US' savings will go towards building up the US military as well. Together this results in a stronger NATO - allowing Trump to negotiate from a position of strength against Russia - as he said many times during his campaign...

the artist's picture

Alternatively, His aim might be to break up the Gladio operation used by the globalist pedophiles to topple regimes in the MENA to stel their treasure and sew mayhem. 

jeff montanye's picture

i sure hope so.  imo those were stirring and heartening words he said.  what toadies and chickenshits we have been led by for so long.  he's not "threatening" russia.  he wants to get something useful (and probably something putin wants too) for lifting the sanctions which he very much wants gone (ditto putin).  the art of the deal.

someone told me some democrats were boycotting the inauguration in protest.  any republicans?

why exactly did the voters in az and sc elect john mccain and lindsay graham?  who else needs to go?

detached.amusement's picture

Good, then read this one, DT


Fuck you trolls, stashing fucking weapons around DC

brianshell's picture

Lets see if the weapons had verifiable serial numbers.

Manthong's picture

Pssst… Alger Hiss, the Communist mole,  was a founding member of the UN.

The UN should be sent to Riyadh where it belongs.

Manthong's picture

Pretty soon I hope we can say:

“Duterte and the P.I. has nothing on us. “

Déjà view's picture

U.S. built automobiles exported are disadvantaged...E.U. import car tax: 10%...INCLUDES S. CAROLINA BUILT BMW's exported to Europe.

Either tariffs are FINALLY equalized after 45 years PLUS of this nonsense or BMW moves S. Carolina production to Mexico which has free trade agreements covering 60% global population.

E.U. expects U.S. to pay most of NATO costs with such a great 'Free Trade Deal' previous administrations worked out...NOT IN AMERICAN WORKING CLASS FAVOR! trade will not collapse...ADVANTAGED merchantilists will have some very tough decisions coming up CONCERNING A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD...U.S. market is way to important to ignore...

U.S. car import tax: 2.5% 

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Déjà view Jan 15, 2017 10:51 PM

So if Germany is outsourcing their  biggest export why do they need the Hadji migrants?

Troy Ounce's picture contribute to the pension system for zee Germans

RiverRoad's picture

A surplus of workers keeps wages low.  More $ for the elites.

11b40's picture

How is that possible when they are not working.  Only a tiny percentage have jobs.  Virtually all have zero marketable skills, and the language barriers, combined with lack of education and medevial mentality mean they wil be a net drag on German society for generations.

kommissar's picture

"The UN should be sent to Riyadh where it belongs."

THAT is an awesome idea!  let that whole useless talking shop try to operate under sharia law.

brianshell's picture

Nominated for best comment.