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Merkel Draws the Line Against Trump

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Written by Tom Luongo; Originally appeared on tomluongo.me

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has turned the corner on relations with the United States. Her speech at the Munich Security Conference should be considered Germany’s divorce filing from the U.S.-led post-WWII institutional order.

Merkel Draws the Line Against Trump

IILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE: EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV / POOL

It’s clear that to me now that Merkel’s priorities for what is left of her term in office are as follows:

  1. Carve out an independent path for EU foreign policy from the U.S. through the creation of an EU army, obviating the need for NATO and…
  2. End U.S. occupation of Germany.
  3. Secure Germany’s energy future, which also secures its political future as the leader of the European Union, by stitching together the continent with Russian energy arteries — Nordstream 2, Turkstream.
  4. Manage the shift away from NATO as a controlling force in Europe’s relationship with Russia which doesn’t serve Europe’s long term purposes.

Merkel will play both sides of the game for as long as she can but Trump and his merry band of Neocon psychotics are determined to stop Nordstream 2. They realize pipelines like these represent near permanent connections between Europe and Russia which the deadens Trump’s desire to maintain the empire through controlling the flow and price of energy.

For Trump there are three areas he is pushing Merkel. As I noted in my latest piece for Strategic Culture Foundation:

Trump’s pressuring Germany over the Nordstream 2 pipeline, withdrawing from the JCPOA and increasing NATO funding all have a common theme…
… Trump is trying to make Germany’s economy uncompetitive by raising the cost of imported energy.

This is obvious when we look at the US’s opposition to Nordstream 2….

… Ending US involvement in the JCPOA was meant to destroy the agreement and end all European investment in Iran’s energy sector, thereby stopping a steady flow of relatively cheap Iranian oil to Europe through its oil majors like Total (France) and Eni (Italy)…

{Increasing NATO funding} — Germany, in particular, would have to raise defense spending to such a degree that it would be unsustainable for them to maintain their current government funding in other areas.
This will pull capital out of the productive part of German society and lower their competitiveness vis a vis US producers.

In my interview with Radio Sputnik Moscow recently I made the point that if Germany were to spend two percent of GDP on defense it would represent spending 20% of the annual government budget on defense.

But the numbers are even worse than that.

The German government’s budget in 2018 was just shy of €143 billion. Nominal German GDP was €3677.44 billion, 2 percent of which is €73.54 billion or nearly 50% of the German budget.

Merkel understands that would grind the German government and its economy to a halt. What Trump wants is for Germany to plough its budget surplus (which stood at €59.2 billion in 2018) wholly into defense spending while also maintaining complete control over NATO’s mission.

We pay the lion’s share of NATO’s costs because we receive the lion’s share of the benefits NATO provides. And those benefits are not protecting Europe from the scourge of the evil Russians contrary to the insane fulminations of the laptop bombardiers on K Street.

No, the benefits of NATO exist wholly to weaken Russia and keep Europe from hooking up with its natural ally to the east. And along this vector, Merkel is, for once, acting in Germany’s best interests, but only because they dovetail with the EU’s.

Guys like John Bolton and all of our top brass at the Pentagon lie awake at night fearful most of a German/Russian economic and political alliance. And everything we do is to force Merkel into difficult choices, especially as an occupied country.

The Silence Heard ‘Round the World at Munich during Mike Pence’s speech should be a wake up call to everyone in D.C. that the world as we’ve known it has changed.

And regardless of the future of the European Union as it stands on the edge of political and economic collapse, Germany will command some transnational bloc of countries in the coming years.

Pipelines outlast presidents. Trump is demanding our allies destroy themselves for no tangible benefit to themselves. The threat of Russia is to U.S. hegemony, not Germany’s.

This is why Bolton, Pence and Pompeo were ignored and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was the toast of the conference. Russia has made it very clear it will look east to China, Iran and the rest of Asia if Europe continues to kowtow to the U.S.

This is why Germany is no longer interested in adding new sanctions on Russia and is now officially looking for new political solutions to the situation. Germany needs new growth opportunities now that a no-deal Brexit is upon them.

This wasn’t that hard to see coming. Last summer’s garden summit between Vladimir Putin and Merkel set the stage for this shift in tone. I said at the time that I felt Trump’s belligerence was pushing Merkel into Putin’s arms.

Merkel, for her part, has been so terminally weakened by her immigration policy and strong-armed approach to dissent that this whirlwind weekender by Putin was as much for her benefit, politically, as his.
The implication being that if Merkel wants to stay in power with her weakening coalition and poll numbers it’s time for her to reverse course. And if that means cozying up to Russia then so be it.
Merkel will continue to talk a good game about Crimea and Ukraine while Putin will speak directly to the German people about ending the humanitarian crisis in Syria as a proxy for ending the threat of further immigration.

Rubber meet road. The times they are a’changin’.

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  • Barba_Papa

    If only we were so lucky.

    About Germany still being an occupied country, occupied countries don’t get a say in their future. If Germany still were occupied by the US then the only things coming out of Merkel’s mouth would be yes sir and how high to anything any US president were to say. Germany is not an occupied country. It is however a vassal, Vassals have less say in their foreign policy, as they sworn to their liege lords. Vassals can renege on their liege lords, but they need shrewd diplomacy, a weak liege lord or a very strong rival as a new liege lord. It has happened before, it can happen again.

  • Valerianus Maximus

    Despite the preposterous analysis of the nature of German vassalage to the US by the troll immediately above, the US will attempt to use its military presence in Germany as an occupation force if the Germans move too close to establishing ties with Russia. There will be a sudden announcement that the drawdown of USAREUR in the 90s was a mistake, and that USAREUR will henceforth host the majority of the US Army’s active force (just as was the case before 1991), along with copious reinforcements by the National Guard. Also, the new US nuclear forward posture will see Germany held hostage to US nuclear blackmail. There isn’t an “ally” of the US anywhere on earth that DC would not screw over in a heartbeat if circumstances warranted it.

    • Pave Way IV

      “There isn’t an “ally” of the US anywhere on earth that DC would not screw over in a heartbeat if circumstances warranted it.”

      I know exactly how they feel. There isn’t a citizen of the US anywhere on earth that DC would not screw over in a heartbeat if circumstances warranted it. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!

      • Sinbad2

        Yes it’s sad the way the American people are little more than cattle in their own country.
        They think they are Kings, they believe the BS rather than their own eyes.

    • Barba_Papa

      The US screwed the Netherlands over twice. First during the Indonesian war of independence when they forced us to give in. Oddly enough they supported the French in Vietnam when they tried to squash the Vietnamese independence movement, so go figure. And in 1962 they screwed us over again when they sided with Indonesia and forced us to hand over Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia. And still Dutch politicians bend over backwards to please the US and talk about ‘the special relationship’.

      • Brother Thomas

        Oh Yeah – poor Dutch having to relinquish their colonies. If America could have had a Vietnam for the French, surely they could have had another genocidal war in Indonesia for the Dutch?

        (Actually, the Indonesians conducted their own genocide of “communists” on behalf of America).

        • Sinbad2

          All this stuff happened when the US overthrew the Indonesian Government and installed the Suharto regime back in the 1960’s.

        • Barba_Papa

          Its not about getting to keep your colonies. Indonesia fully deserved independence form the Dutch. Although it can be argued that in this case only Java gained actual independence and gained the rest of Indonesia as its own colonial territory. The rest of that country only exchanged the Dutch for new colonial masters. And its also weird that the US embraced the Indonesian independence movement, which had been nurtured, fostered and armed by the Japanese to be used against the US, whereas in Vietnam the Viet Minh used to allied to the US during WW2.

          But I’m getting sidetracked again. The real point is that the US did not side with its own ally in a conflict and that it cannot be trusted. They could have been neutral, but actually sided against us.

          • Bob

            Post 1945 European power decolonization was full of contradictions – US rhetoric over colonial independence was window dressing for new paradigm – it was largely about reordering control over the prior European colonial dominions (and their resources) – either by soft or hard power – depending on the situation.

      • Sinbad2

        Dutch New Guinea was about gold, the largest goldmine in the world.

        Freeport has never paid a cent to the Indonesian Government, and there are no environmental or human rights issues. Cyanide is dumped in the local creeks, killing all wildlife, including the Papuans who live there.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasberg_mine

      • Sinbad2

        Oh and New Guinea should be one country, it was divided up by Germany and the Netherlands.
        I met a guy in Rabaul who could speak German Japanese English Pidgin and his native tongue. He lost an arm, when the hand grenade he stole from the Japanese exploded.
        Japanese doctors saved his life.

        • Barba_Papa

          It makes a lot more sense to be one country then to have the Western part be an Indonesian colony.

          • Bob

            But as with Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus – Indonesia has been bringing in large numbers of Indonesian nationals, mostly Javanese, into West Papua for decades, with state subsidy incentives to encourage this migration, to boost Indonesia’s ethnic support demographics and political control over West Papau.

            https://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/cline/papua/transmigration.htmn

          • Barba_Papa

            Yup, it became a colony of Java alright. Just like much of Indonesia. they supplanted Dutch colonial rule with Javanese rule.

    • verner

      you don’t make much sense, work it out and be coherent and improve the analytical ability which more or less has zilch penetration of the matter.

  • verner

    yeah that was something to behold and pedo pence stood there agape and little silly donny’s cuddly thing, ivanka, was just quiet – nothing much to say where there is a mutiny being launched and then donny can rail an fatso threaten and bedbugcrazy bolton just looking more insane by the minute. there is some hope for europe after all when matters are threatening the future, like german car exports being hit with 25% taxes. then all hell breaks out. and donny doesn’t stand a chance.

    • FlorianGeyer

      The EU leaders ideology is essentially the same as Trumps and if Hillary had won, the EU leaders would have likely agreed with her doing the same things as Trump.

      What Trump has done in to blow away the Democratic mask of the USA, to reveal a very ugly persona.

      EU leaders are more concerned with the Trump image, than what Trump does I think, as what he does is no different to what past US presidents have done. With the exception of course that past US Presidents feigned respect for EU leaders, whereas today, Trump treats EU leaders as the craven vassals they have always been since 1945.

  • MichaH

    As a German, I disagree with nearly everything in that article.

    First to mention, Merkel already stepped down from her main party position and will not be part of the next general election.
    Second it is a journalistic myth that Merkel fought back against Trump, and in no way she ever ever questioned, or would question the NATO, she never doubts any actions of the US or Nato when bombing or ruining countries from Lybia to Syria, Iraq to Serbia. She also never questioned any sanctions against Russia. During her speech she mentioned the Nato as an example of value-based multilateral actions for the benefits of the world….And worth to mention that she is part of the „Atlantik-Brücke“, an organisation of the family around the Council of foreign relations.

    I could go on and on and on …

    • Joe Kerr

      If recent polling of Germans suggesting rising anti-U.S. sentiment is correct, Merkel will be irrelevant anyway. The question is how the U.S. responds to this, and its actions elsewhere to those bucking the self-proclaimed exceptionalists isn’t encouraging.

      • FlorianGeyer

        The US will attempt to send a US AID convoy from Poland to deliver aid to the needy in Germany perhaps?

        Elliot Abrams is brushing up his German skills in anticipation.

        How dare the Germans refuse to spend 20% of the nations net income on expensive US weapons :)

        The circa 12 million ethnic Germans who died in the year or so after May 1945 are a lesson to us all that the US seeks total control of everything. Even the price of US gas.

    • Brother Thomas

      Good points. The light dawned for me on Merkel’s response to her phone calls being listened to by the NSA, and Eva Morales’ plane being forced down to searched when Snowden was in hiding and in need for asylum (Germany denied Morales’plane German air space).

      • verner

        evo, evo morales

        • Brother Thomas

          Thanks. Evo Morales.

    • Sinbad2

      It is difficult for politicians in most countries.
      If they criticize the USA they are quickly removed. Even if they resist the US, their country suffers.
      New Zealand wanted to create a nuclear free South Pacific, so the US threw them out of the ANZUS military alliance and crushed their economy. I was so ashamed that my country sided with the US against the Kiwis, but if we had our economy would also have been crushed.

      Should politicians do what is morally right or do the best for the people they serve?

      • Joe Kerr

        Australia only ever had one PM with the moral backbone to say no the U.S., Gough Whitlam 50+ years ago. The passing years since then have been a sad embarrassment, with the zero tax paying zionist Murdoch in control of Australia’s media and its corrupt govt. No surprise that Australia led the way in following the U.S. dictat to ban Huawei 5g equipment, and its media recently jumping on the blame China wagon when IDF unit 8200 (or the CIA) hacked govt. computers to cause friction between Australia and China. Australia needs to be careful in how far it’s willing to follow the U.S. in its game of confronting China, lest China crushes Australia’s economy.

        • FlorianGeyer

          Oh well, because of the Australia banging the US drum, the Chinese no longer want Australian coal now :)

          • Sinbad2

            They are also behind the real estate boom, and now bust.
            Our leaders think they can play China, that America will protect us, fools.

  • Sinbad2

    I read an article probably 10 years ago, and the author made the claim that Russia’s objective was to steal Germany away from the US.
    That seems to be the way it is working out.
    Americans don’t see the significance of a Russian German alliance, but the rest of Europe sure does.

    • Pave Way IV

      Hah! I’m sure the Germans are amused by such a characterization. This is undoubtedly the narrative that NATO is pushing. NATO has no reason to exist if European nations have normal diplomatic and trade relations with Russia. NATO simply being the military arm of the globalist banking cabal.

      The US chickenhawks can bribe or beat smaller, weaker European countries into our ‘Russia Haters’ club, but Germany is too big and powerful to force to do anything. FFS, we have to tap Merkel’s cell phone to keep an eye on Germany. In any case, Germany does little more than tolerate irritating and insane US leaders – best not to upset the psychopaths. It’s only the US via the MSM that characterizes our relationship with Germany as ‘Best Friends Forever’.

      Nordstream2 is proof enough that the Germans are not totally cucked by the US. And the actual extent of US influence over German is clear in the US leaders reaction: indignation followed by total paralysis. We are stunned and don’t know what to do when someone big enough to punch us in the face won’t ‘obey orders’. Sanctions on Germany? Hah – that only works on… well, mostly it doesn’t work. World Bank? IMF? Nope – Germany doesn’t need our payday loan sheckels. Honestly, we got nothing.

      Russia and Germany don’t want to form an alliance or be best friends forever – they simply want NORMAL mutually-beneficial diplomatic and trade relations. The US is like a psycho ex-girlfriend (who was never actually your girlfriend) constantly calling, texting, stalking you, bothering your friends, keeping an eye on you with an RQ-4 Global Hawk, tapping in to your public phone network to listen in on every last German citizens’ conversations. And then there’s the nukes we insist on keeping there.

      German and Russia have to be getting pretty damn worried by now. Chimp with a live hand grenade in your house problem – you can’t just throw shoes at it and hope it goes away.

  • gustavo

    Maybe about gas agreement between Russia and Germany could be a line, but it is impossible to see this line on other matters (military, for example). Rather, it looks like USA has almost total control of Germany.