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Brussels - At NATO, Abrasive Trump Lashes Germany For Being Russian 'Captive'

Published on: July 11, 2018 07:38 AM
By: Reuters
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US President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, 11 July 2018. EPAUS President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, 11 July 2018. EPA

Brussels - U.S. President Donald Trump accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia on Wednesday as Western leaders gathered in Brussels for a NATO summit where Trump wants Europeans to pay up more for their own defense.

In a startling public outburst against the second biggest economy in the U.S.-led alliance, Trump told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany was wrong to support a new $11-billion Baltic Sea pipeline to import Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for contributing to NATO defense spending intended to protect Europe from Russia.

“We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium.

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But remarks in which he seemed to overstate by a factor of three Berlin’s reliance on Russian energy and said that “Germany is totally controlled by Russia” drew a tart riposte from German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrived later at the summit.

“I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said of her youth in Communist East Germany. “I’m very glad that today we are united in freedom ... because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions.”

She also defended Germany’s contribution to an alliance which Trump says places too much burden on the U.S. taxpayer.

Aside from putting the share of Russian energy at 70 percent of Germany’s consumption when it is in fact about 20 percent, Trump appeared to suggest the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was a public project while Merkel insists it is a private commercial venture.

With tensions in the Western defense alliance already running high over Trump’s demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, and a nationalistic stance that has seen trade disputes threaten economic growth in Europe, the latest remarks will fuel concerns among allies over the U.S. role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War Two.

After the two-day summit in Brussels, Trump will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

Stoltenberg later told reporters that Trump had used “very direct language” but that all NATO allies were agreed that the cost of defense spending must be spread around and that last year had seen the biggest increase in a generation.

The NATO chief was frank about the impact of Trump’s criticism on the Western allies at a broader level and he referred to non-NATO issues such as trade, where Trump is angry over the U.S. trade deficit with the European Union.

“There are disagreements on trade. This is serious. My task is to try to minimize the negative impact on NATO,” Stoltenberg told a forum in the margins of the summit.

“So far is hasn’t impacted on NATO that much, I cannot guarantee that that will not be the case in the future. The transatlantic bond is not one, there are many ties, some of them have been weakened.”

“DEPENDENCE” ON RUSSIA

Trump said Germany’s closure of coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds had increased its dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas.

Trump said: “We’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia ... I think that’s very inappropriate.”

Merkel has supported Nord Stream 2, despite criticism from other EU governments. But she insists it is a privately funded commercial project with no input of German public money.

Trump said: “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.”

Trump also renewed his call for other NATO allies, including Germany, to “step it up” and pay in more to the Western alliance after years in which U.S. taxpayers have, he said, borne an “unfair” share of military spending:

“Germany is a rich country, they talk about increasing it a tiny bit by 2030. Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem,” Trump said.



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Read Comments (21)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 11, 2018 at 08:01 AM Educated Archy Says:

Love it ! Time to challenge the status quo . That's why we got a junkyard madman CEO . No Trump is not my idol . He is the mad man that I want as CEO .

To those that cry , oy he is just engaging in demogaogary . Please do address the key issues rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks . Why is Germany purchasing so much gas from Russia instead of getting more independent? Sure it's a private investor . But the govt can influence private sector esp in Germany . And why is she shutting down coal and nuclear ? Lastly , why are we in Europe to begin with ? The war ended over 70 years ago . Can't they ever fend for themselves?

2

 Jul 11, 2018 at 09:19 AM Anonymous Says:

Why would Putin's man in DC lash out at the Germans over a Russian trade deal? Could it be a diversion from attention focusing on Trump's upcoming meeting with his puppet master Vlad Putin?

3

 Jul 11, 2018 at 09:49 AM ARI Says:

Look, we rebuilt Germany after World War Two with the Marshall Plan; their cities were in ruins, and their people were starving. Now, it has ultra modern cities, and Germany is extremely prosperous. We've protected them from the Russians, for over 70 years. Germany has a very good army, and it is about time that it paid more for its own defense. The 35,000 GI;s who are stationed there, should be withdrawn. The American taxpayer, should not longer have to pay for Germany's defense.

4

 Jul 11, 2018 at 10:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Why would Putin's man in DC lash out at the Germans over a Russian trade deal? Could it be a diversion from attention focusing on Trump's upcoming meeting with his puppet master Vlad Putin?

Very perceptive. Not beyond Putin's style of disinfo and deflection. He is, after all, a former KGB thug who specializes in this kind of warfare.

5

 Jul 11, 2018 at 10:29 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Why would Putin's man in DC lash out at the Germans over a Russian trade deal? Could it be a diversion from attention focusing on Trump's upcoming meeting with his puppet master Vlad Putin?

Umm no that's not why but nice theory .

Trump is disturbed by the fact that we are paying big bucks so that Germany is not dependent on Russia . And then they do things to become dependent on them . You see there is a difference between becoming dependent and just taking to Russia

6

 Jul 11, 2018 at 10:31 AM Phineas Says:

It's not an apt comparison. Russia can be a threat to Germany while Germany still buys oil from it. No different than U.S. buying Saudi oil for years while Saudi Arabia funds terror groups.

7

 Jul 11, 2018 at 10:47 AM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

Let the Nazis police themselves

8

 Jul 11, 2018 at 11:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Why would Putin's man in DC lash out at the Germans over a Russian trade deal? Could it be a diversion from attention focusing on Trump's upcoming meeting with his puppet master Vlad Putin?

Where do you come from? The Bizarro world?

9

 Jul 11, 2018 at 11:13 AM hashomer Says:

Last night US SENATE voted 97-2 against Trumpf's tirade vs NATO. Look it up. It denounced Russia as a danger to USA, at the same time the Orange Idiot visciously attacks our Allies and kisses Bloody Tsar Pootin on mouth. FEH. He's a total disaster.

10

 Jul 11, 2018 at 12:10 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #6  
Phineas Says:

It's not an apt comparison. Russia can be a threat to Germany while Germany still buys oil from it. No different than U.S. buying Saudi oil for years while Saudi Arabia funds terror groups.

Umm Yoni not really true.

If germany shuts down coal and nuclear plants further distancing itself from Russian independence than it is fair comparison. The USA has worked on becoming it own oil independent state thereby distancing itself from the Saudi's . Whether its fracking, nuclear etc.. we have made great strides to distance ourselves. And in my humble opinion I think it actually did nudge the saudi's to moderate and crack down on terror. They no longer are a threat like 9/11/ That's because they know we don't need them as much so they better behave.

11

 Jul 11, 2018 at 12:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
hashomer Says:

Last night US SENATE voted 97-2 against Trumpf's tirade vs NATO. Look it up. It denounced Russia as a danger to USA, at the same time the Orange Idiot visciously attacks our Allies and kisses Bloody Tsar Pootin on mouth. FEH. He's a total disaster.

So, it's a good thing the President - not Congress - determines US foreign policy. It's a even better thing that unhinged TDS-afflicted people like you don't.

By the way, what color is your hair? We need to start calling you an idiot, too.

12

 Jul 11, 2018 at 12:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
hashomer Says:

Last night US SENATE voted 97-2 against Trumpf's tirade vs NATO. Look it up. It denounced Russia as a danger to USA, at the same time the Orange Idiot visciously attacks our Allies and kisses Bloody Tsar Pootin on mouth. FEH. He's a total disaster.

Hey, Mr. Trump Derangement Syndrome, guess what? The President's "vicious attacks" of our allies worked.

"NATO nations agree to ante up for defense after Trump browbeating" - Fox News.

Thank you, President Trump. #MAGA

13

 Jul 11, 2018 at 01:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
hashomer Says:

Last night US SENATE voted 97-2 against Trumpf's tirade vs NATO. Look it up. It denounced Russia as a danger to USA, at the same time the Orange Idiot visciously attacks our Allies and kisses Bloody Tsar Pootin on mouth. FEH. He's a total disaster.

The Trump crazies here are living in Trump fantasy land. Uneducated Archy Bunker and his ilk are suffering from Trump lunatic syndrome.

14

 Jul 11, 2018 at 01:25 PM Hoshomer Says:

Obama gave $150 billion to Iran to build nuclear warheads and had relations with sanctioned Cuba. Remind me who the terrorist is again.

15

 Jul 11, 2018 at 02:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
ARI Says:

Look, we rebuilt Germany after World War Two with the Marshall Plan; their cities were in ruins, and their people were starving. Now, it has ultra modern cities, and Germany is extremely prosperous. We've protected them from the Russians, for over 70 years. Germany has a very good army, and it is about time that it paid more for its own defense. The 35,000 GI;s who are stationed there, should be withdrawn. The American taxpayer, should not longer have to pay for Germany's defense.

The only reason we are still in Germany because the Republicans want Big Defense bills instead to give it to the american middle class. Obama decreased the defense budget, Trump increased it instead of bringing back troops. He is a big talker and doing nothing. The troops could come back tomorrow if he chooses and save us billions. Repeal Obamacare the first day. Remember? All talk for the base, than feed the billionaires with middle class money.

16

 Jul 11, 2018 at 02:29 PM Phineas Says:

Reply to #10  
Educated Archy Says:

Umm Yoni not really true.

If germany shuts down coal and nuclear plants further distancing itself from Russian independence than it is fair comparison. The USA has worked on becoming it own oil independent state thereby distancing itself from the Saudi's . Whether its fracking, nuclear etc.. we have made great strides to distance ourselves. And in my humble opinion I think it actually did nudge the saudi's to moderate and crack down on terror. They no longer are a threat like 9/11/ That's because they know we don't need them as much so they better behave.

Um, not Yoni.

The U.S. was a captive to Saudi interests until the technology was developed to develop our own resources. In the meantime, we did business with the enemy under Bush. Not talking about now, talking about under Bush right before and after 9-11.

17

 Jul 11, 2018 at 05:14 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

The only reason we are still in Germany because the Republicans want Big Defense bills instead to give it to the american middle class. Obama decreased the defense budget, Trump increased it instead of bringing back troops. He is a big talker and doing nothing. The troops could come back tomorrow if he chooses and save us billions. Repeal Obamacare the first day. Remember? All talk for the base, than feed the billionaires with middle class money.

Defense bills are different than military bases. We should increase defense spending so we remain strong. But we should shut down bases to. not a stira.

Re obama, thats not entirely true. Defense spending was cut under sequester rules with the republican house.

Genuik shoin with your repeal Obamacare nonsense. Look at all he has done with tarrifs, embassy move, tax cuts etc... He has kept many of his promises. Noone expects 100% day one. That's political talk. He has done a pretty good job with most of his promises. Even the libs are troubled by that

18

 Jul 11, 2018 at 05:15 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #16  
Phineas Says:

Um, not Yoni.

The U.S. was a captive to Saudi interests until the technology was developed to develop our own resources. In the meantime, we did business with the enemy under Bush. Not talking about now, talking about under Bush right before and after 9-11.

Yasher kocah. we had no choice. We needed oil. Germany has a choice. open nuclear plants, dig for coal.

Very simple yoni

19

 Jul 11, 2018 at 07:16 PM Dr_Obvious Says:

Reply to #14  
Hoshomer Says:

Obama gave $150 billion to Iran to build nuclear warheads and had relations with sanctioned Cuba. Remind me who the terrorist is again.

Obama Derangement Syndrome!

20

 Jul 12, 2018 at 08:26 AM Dr_Obvious Says:

Reply to #17  
Educated Archy Says:

Defense bills are different than military bases. We should increase defense spending so we remain strong. But we should shut down bases to. not a stira.

Re obama, thats not entirely true. Defense spending was cut under sequester rules with the republican house.

Genuik shoin with your repeal Obamacare nonsense. Look at all he has done with tarrifs, embassy move, tax cuts etc... He has kept many of his promises. Noone expects 100% day one. That's political talk. He has done a pretty good job with most of his promises. Even the libs are troubled by that

You used to say that he's kept all of his big promises. I feel bad for you.

21

 Jul 12, 2018 at 01:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Dr_Obvious Says:

Obama Derangement Syndrome!

It's more like TLS, Trump Lunatic Syndrome!

22

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