German Chancellor Angela Merkel educated President Donald Trump on Wednesday for having the gall to claim that Russia is holding Germany “captive” as he prepares to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During breakfast with NATO members earlier Wednesday morning, Trump once again attacked our allies and called for them to increase defense spending by 4 percent of GDP instead of the 2 percent they need to reach by 2024, a percentage that will be incredibly difficult to pull off considering only the United States has done it by sacrificing domestic spending and heavy borrowing that has increased U.S. debt.
Trump then targeted Germany specifically and hypocritically accused our ally of being under Russia’s thumb.
“We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump bellowed. “If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia. They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of their oil and gas from Russia. I think it is something NATO has to look at.”
So, Trump is basically trying to get NATO paranoid about Germany even though Trump has repeatedly praised Putin and refuses to confront him for attacking our democracy in 2016. In fact, Trump treats Putin better than he has treated our allies, constantly going to bat on Russia’s behalf, including calling for Russia to be brought back into the G-7.
Merkel, despite playing nice with Trump during a meeting later in the day, fired back by pointing out that she lived in East Germany when it was under the control of Russia, so she knows exactly what it feels like for her nation to be a “captive of Russia” because that was the reality in East Germany from the end of World War II to when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
“I myself experienced that a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union, and I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany,” Merkel said. “We decide our own policies and make our own decisions.”
Indeed, Germany only imports one-third of its gas from Russia. The Netherlands and Norway, both NATO members, make up the rest.
And while Germany and many European Union countries rely on Russian gas, they are working towards reducing that dependence by developing new energy sources such as solar, wind, and battery power.
In fact, Germany crossed a milestone in January when renewable energy sources covered 100 percent of the nation’s energy use for the first time.
Trump, meanwhile, has stunted America’s clean energy growth by doubling down on coal and oil while withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accords.
Germany may have to still use Russian gas for now, but at least Merkel didn’t have to rely on Russia to get elected as the leader of her people. Merkel is also not acting like Russia has something on her the way Trump does.
And the way Trump is attacking NATO while gushing over Putin, NATO should be suspicious of Trump, not Germany.
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