Donald Trump has been looking to do something to punish Angela Merkel for standing up to him. Even before he took office, Merkel tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, putting to one side his vulgarity and extremism. He simply loathed her and all she stood for – calm, thought-through mainstream, multilateral politics.
When a few months ago the US president floated the idea of cutting back the military deployment in Germany, he used it as an excuse to insult her. When he confirmed his harebrained idea this week, he couldn’t resist further digs.
Germany, he declared, wasn’t paying up. Berlin’s refusal, or inability, to meet the target of 2 per cent expenditure on defence is a long-standing US bugbear. It frustrated