Navarro and Trump’s demand is so effective because it points to an underlying political weakness of the German position. The buildup of Germany’s TARGET2 claims on southern Europe is much more uncertain and more unpopular in Germany than China’s dollar assets or Switzerland’s reserves are in those countries. Germans are not worried that they are too successful as exporters, but they are deeply concerned about the quality of assets purchased with their current account surplus: . subprime mortgage paper before 2008, southern European debt after the financial crisis. German taxpayers face a potentially large bill but one that would only be due if the euro collapsed.