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POLITICS

Trump nominates new ambassador to Germany

President Donald Trump on Monday named an outspoken critic of US military deployments as ambassador to Germany, as he moves to pull troops from the NATO ally.

Trump nominates new ambassador to Germany
The US embassy in Berlin in June. Photo: DPA

The White House said that Trump had nominated retired colonel Douglas Macgregor, a frequent commentator on Fox News who has written about German military history.

The nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate, where Trump's Republican Party enjoys a majority but which has limited time to act before November 3rd elections as lawmakers focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

Macgregor has been blunt in his criticism of the Iraq war, denouncing the often celebrated David Petraeus as a “useful fool” promoted by politicians and the media.

READ ALSO: Trump ally Grenell officially steps down as US ambassador to Germany

He has been a guest on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's show, a favourite of the television-loving Trump, where Macgregor staunchly defended the president over criticism of his withdrawal from Syria.

Breaking with conventional wisdom in Washington, Macgregor has argued that the United States has no compelling interest to keep troops in Iraq or Syria and said that Turkey, not Iran, presented a key threat. 

“Trump wants a contrarian as ambassador in Berlin” reads this Twitter post from Tuesday morning. 

Macgregor, who holds a doctorate, has studied East Germany's relationship with the Soviet Union and caused a stir with his 1997 book “Breaking the Phalanx,” which pushed for a reorganisation of the army.

Trump frequently criticises US deployments overseas and in June approved plans to withdraw 9,500 troops from Germany after accusing the NATO ally of treating the United States unfairly on trade.

READ ALSO: Trump 'to withdraw thousands of US soldiers by end of 2020'

Trump has had tense relations with German chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently snubbed his offer of an in-person Group of Seven summit in the United States, pointing to coronavirus risks.

If confirmed, Macgregor would succeed another voluble figure, RichardGrenell, who startled Germany with uncharacteristic remarks for an ambassador, including vowing to empower anti-establishment right-wingers in Europe.

Grenell returned to Washington to become Trump's director of national intelligence before resigning as ambassador in June.

 

Member comments

  1. So, hat a surprise.
    The Orange Child is sending yet another lapdog to bark out his misguided views. This isn’t an Ambassador; Ambassadors are supposed to have some Class!

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POLITICS

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

Germany will reinstate its so-called debt brake in 2023 after suspending it for three years to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources in the finance ministry said Wednesday.

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The government will borrow 17.2 billion euros ($18.1 million) next year, adhering to the rule enshrined in the constitution that normally limits

Germany’s public deficit to 0.35 percent of overall annual economic output, despite new spending as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the sources said.

The new borrowing set out in a draft budget to be presented to the cabinet on Friday is almost 10 billion euros higher than a previous figure for 2023 announced in April.

However, “despite a considerable increase in costs, the debt brake will be respected,” one of the sources said.

Although Germany is traditionally a frugal nation, the government broke its own debt rules at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and unleashed vast financial aid to steer the economy through the crisis.

READ ALSO: Debt-averse Germany to take on new borrowings to soften pandemic blow

The government has this year unveiled a multi-billion-euro support package to help companies in Europe’s biggest economy weather the fallout from the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russia.

Berlin has also spent billions to diversify its energy supply to reduce its dependence on Russia, as well as investing heavily in plans to tackle climate change and push digital technology.

But despite the additional spending, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has maintained the aim to reinstate the debt brake in 2023.

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