Trump Opens NATO Summit by Blasting Germany

In May of 2017, I urgently warned: "Trump is working very hard to undermine goodwill with our NATO allies, with a special insult to Germany. Since the end of WWII, Russia has had an explicit objective of busting up the U.S.-German alliance, because the combined strength of the U.S. and Germany, in both military might and democratic cultural influence, provided a check on the empiric aspirations of the Soviet Union, now Russia. Trump's subversion of the U.S-Germany relationship is providing a dangerous opening to Putin, who has already made abundantly clear his intent to rebuild Russia's reach with his annexation of Crimea and moves in Ukraine."

Today, Donald Trump opened the NATO summit in Brussels by launching a blistering jeremiad against Germany, accusing them of being a puppet state of Russia — an attack that simultaneously gives the illusion of Trump being in opposition to Russia (without actually ever condemning Russia) and actually further subverts the U.S.-German alliance (to Russia's benefit).

Michael Birnbaum and Seung Min Kim at the Washington Post report:
"Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia," Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a fiery on-camera exchange that was among the harshest in the history of the post-World War II alliance.

"We have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that's being paid to the country we're supposed to be protecting you against," Trump said, referring to European purchases of Russian natural gas.

...Even [NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg] — a mild-mannered former Norwegian prime minister who has cultivated a positive relationship with Trump — appeared reduced to spluttering as Trump cut him off after he started to explain that allies traded with Russia even during the Cold War.

..."We're supposed to protect Germany but they're getting their energy from Russia," Trump told Stoltenberg, as aides on both the U.S. and NATO side of a long table shifted in their seats and sat stone-faced. Chief of Staff John Kelly jerked his head away as U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison looked up at the ceiling. "So explain that," Trump said. "And it can't be explained and you know that."

Trump's criticism set off immediate anxiety in Germany. Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung headlined its story: "It is not only bad, it is catastrophic."

...Trump's laser-focus on Germany has unsettled Berlin, which had grown accustomed to a strong relationship with then-president Obama. Trump plans to meet one-on-one Wednesday afternoon with Merkel, where he will reiterate the same tough message to her face, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Trump is going to tell Angela Merkel, who grew up in Soviet-occupied East Germany, that her country is "captive to Russia," despite the fact that Trump is a demonstrable puppet of Vladimir Putin. Fucking hell.

Here is part of the above-described exchange, so you can understand the exact tenor of Trump's attack, which mere descriptions cannot due justice:

But Germany is totally controlled by Russia. Because they are getting sixty to seventy percent of their energy from Russia — and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that's appropriate, because I think it's not, and I think it's a very bad thing for NATO, and I don't think it should have happened, and I think we have to talk to Germany about it.

On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over one percent, whereas the United States in actual numbers is paying four-point-two percent, of a much larger GDP. So I think that's inappropriate also. We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting everybody, and yet we're paying a lot of money to protect.

Now, this has been going on for decades. This has been brought up by other presidents — but other presidents never did anything about it, because I don't think they understood it, or they just didn't want to get involved. But I have to bring it up, because I think it's very unfair to our country; it's very unfair to our taxpayer. And I think that these countries have to step it up, not over a ten-year period; they have to step it up immediately.
Trump also reiterated his belief that other countries in the NATO alliance owe the United States money, telling Stoltenberg: "Many countries are not paying what they should. And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them. So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you'll just add it all up. It's massive amounts of money is owed."

That is just a straight-up lie, which he constantly repeats, despite (or because of) the fact that it is both dishonest and gravely insulting to the other members of NATO.

Trump's strategy appears to be: Continue to tell lies about the structure of NATO to underwrite demands that NATO members will not possibly meet, because they are absurd, then use their refusal to justify the United States' withdrawal from NATO. I hope I'm wrong about that, and fear that I'm not.

In the meantime, however, he is without question doing the most to weaken the United States' alliance with Germany, which is a massive gift to Putin. With whom he will meet after the summit.

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