Tag Archives: trump and merkel

Achtung, Baby!

The president’s continual insistence that America’s allies need to contribute more to their own defense is not without some merit.  After all, if this country is helping to defend its allies it’s not unreasonable to ask those allies to help pay for that defense.

But making such demands may have consequences, too – some of which could be pretty scary.

Consider this:  in light of Agent Orange’s demands, his repeated insistence on “America first,” and the specter of an angry, ambitious Russia that the U.S. is unlikely to confront under almost any circumstances, Germany decided earlier this year that it should increase its investment in its own national defense with a military build-up of its own.

“Ach! I can’t believe the Americans elected this dummkopf!”

Earlier this year Trump met in Washington with German chancellor Angela Merkel and spent several hours afterward insisting that the meeting went well even though all you had to do was look at the two of them after the meeting to see that it really, really did not.

Then, her plane was barely in the air when Trump told his Twitter followers that

Germany owes vast sums of money to Nato & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

So much for things going well.

Last week was practically a rerun:  during the NATO conference, Trump abused pretty much every country participating – The Curmudgeon will take a closer look at this in his next “Trump Watch” – but succeeded in getting NATO members to agree to invest more in their own defense.  As the meeting closed, they said they would come back with a plan for doing so.  (Of course, these wheels were set in motion during the last year of the Obama administration, but as Agent Orange has learned, if he keeps giving himself credit for things he didn’t do then eventually his supporters will come to believe him and treat any suggestion to the contrary as “fake news.”)

So what did Trump do after the leaders of other countries said they’d do more to support NATO?  Practically as soon as the wheels on Air Force One hit the runway back in the U.S. he turned around and criticized Germany, the most important of those other countries.

We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO’s military.  Very bad for U.S.  This will change.

But put aside that the NATO meeting he characterized as a “home run” was widely viewed as a swing and a miss by pretty much everyone who doesn’t work in the west wing.

And put aside that the U.S., and most of the rest of Europe, created NATO in part because they wanted the U.S. to take primary responsibility for Germany’s defense because the last thing they wanted was for Germany to start ratcheting up its capability to make war again after the havoc it wreaked on the world not once but twice during the first half of the twentieth century.

And put aside that this country considers Germany an important ally and you don’t treat your friends like that.

When you think about it, why shouldn’t Germany pursue a course of militarization?  If we’re going to insist that Germany shoulder anywhere near the full cost of its defense and the U.S. is going to become the kind of ally that the Trump administration suggests it’s going to become, isn’t Germany justified in concluding it had better start taking its defense into its own hands because when the chips are down it may no longer have good reason to believe the U.S. will be there when it needs it?

Is it any wonder, then, that Merkel declared, after the disastrous NATO meeting, that Europe needs to start taking care of its own needs because the president of the United States has made it clear that Europe can’t count on the U.S. for military support anymore?  Specifically, she said that

Recent days have shown me that the times when we could rely completely on others are over to a certain extent.  Europe must take its fate into its own hands.

And this wasn’t Merkel-as-candidate-for-re-election saying things she thought voters wanted to hear, either:  her opponent in that contest expressed strong support for her and her response to Trump’s shenanigans.

But for The Curmudgeon, here’s the real issue:

Doesn’t a Germany with a greater ability to defend itself – and therefore considerable offensive military capabilities as well – make you, well, a little…uneasy?