October 30, 2020

GERMANY: Germany Favors US Partnership To Thwart Russia, China’s "Global Supremacy" Guest. Germany Will Now Work To Meet NATO Obligations After President Trump Calls Out Their Deficiency.

The Washington Examiner
written by Joel Gehrke, Foreign Affairs Reporter
Monday October 26, 2020

European allies must improve their partnership with the United States to counter growing threats from Russia and China, according to senior German leaders.

“Today, the West as a system of values is at risk in its entirety,” German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told a German-American friendship forum this weekend, an English text of which was published Monday. “Only America and Europe together can keep the West strong, defending it against the unmistakable Russian thirst for power and Chinese ambitions for global supremacy.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s speech provided one part of a double-barreled message from German national security leaders. She and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas struck a note of gratitude for U.S. aid during and after the Cold War in an apparent attempt to quell anti-American sentiment in Germany, while signaling a growing awareness of the threat posed by Beijing, even in Berlin — where close economic ties with China have slowed U.S.-German consensus on issues such as Huawei.

“The future of transatlantic relations will also depend on finding the right approach to China. Washington perceives China’s ascent as the major strategic challenge of the century – irrespective of party affiliation,” Maas said in a Sunday publication. “Americans and Europeans have a shared interest in open societies, human rights and democratic standards, fair trade, unrestricted maritime routes, and the security of our data and intellectual property. If our aim is to persuade China to abide by international standards of this sort, then the US can also benefit from the EU’s role as Beijing’s largest trading partner.”

Such cooperation will depend on setting aside the trade clashes that have afflicted U.S.-European relations in President Trump’s first term, according to Kramp-Karrenbauer.

“It should not be an absurd idea to negotiate an agreement between the European Union and the United States that would completely remove all customs duties and trade restrictions between the transatlantic partners,” she said. “And that is open to anyone who wants to strengthen and support the liberal, rules-based order.”

U.S. and European Union officials have previously agreed to “work together toward zero tariffs,” after Trump’s use of national security legislation to impose tariffs on the EU and Canada irritated allies abroad and even Republican lawmakers. The defense minister also agreed that Germany, in particular, and European powers in general “have to prove that we are serious about our defense,” despite the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have to ease some of the burden the United States is shouldering as a regulatory power, particularly in our own neighborhood,” she said. “What is keeping us from showing increased presence in the Baltic region, the North Sea, the Balkans, and in the Mediterranean? After all, this is predominantly to ensure our own European security!”

She positioned that proposal as a “signal to Washington,” in addition to rebuffing French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent calls for Europeans to rely on France’s nuclear arsenal for security rather than the U.S. and thus gain more “strategic autonomy” from Washington.

“The nuclear threat potential emanating from Russia has increased dramatically,” she said. "I am especially emphasizing nuclear sharing because it is so central and symbolic, and because it sometimes threatens to slip into the realm of the unspeakable here ... It is above all the political value of nuclear sharing that is of such paramount importance. It shows that we have understood the seriousness of the strategic situation and that we are prepared to do the right thing.”

And German public opinion should support close cooperation with the U.S. — though not “blind allegiance" — even if Trump wins reelection, Maas added.

“Whatever the outcome of the U.S. election, there is one thing that we must not forget amid the ensuing exultation or gloom: America is and remains more than a one-man-show in the White House,” he said, as both German leaders acknowledged that German public opinion makes it riskier for politicians in Berlin to work with the Trump administration. “When Donald Trump was elected four years ago, calls were voiced on both sides of the Atlantic to do just this: heal divisions, embrace opposing points of view, and dare to engage in dialogue beyond one’s own comfort zone.”
The Sun published June 16, 2020: Donald Trump to cut half of US troops in 'delinquent' Germany who 'owe Nato billions of dollars' 

Germany is very deliquent to their payments to NATO for years.

President Trump said, "In addition to that, I was the one who brought it up. Everyone talks about Trump with Russia. Well I brought this up a long time ago. Why is Germany paying Russia BILLIONS of dollars for energy and we're supposed to protect Germany from Russia. How does that work? It doesn't work. So Germany is deliquent. They've been deliquent for years and they owe NATO billions of dollars and they have to pay it. So we're protecting Germany and they're deliquent. That doesn't make sense. So I said we're going to bring down the soldier count to 25,000 soldiers. It varies. It's around 52,000 now. But it varies. Those are well paid soldiers. They live in Germany. They spend vast amounts of money in Germany. Everywhere around those bases is very prosperous for Germany. So Germany takes and then on top of it they treat us very badly on trade. We have trade with the EU and Germany being the biggest member. Very very badly on trade. We're negotiating with them on that. But right now I'm not satisfied with the deal they want to make. They've cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars over the years on trade. So we get hurt on trade and we get hurt on NATO. Now with NATO I've raised other countries 140 billions dollars. They're paying 140 billion dollars more because I interceded. I said look we're protecting you and you have to pay your bills. Because it was going like this until I got here. Now it's gone up like a rocket ship. But one of the only countries that hasn't agreed to pay what they're supposed to pay is Germany. So I said until they pay we're removing our soldiers, a number of our soldiers, by about half. Then when we get down to 25,000 will see where we're going. But Germany has been deliquent and why should we be doing what we're doing if they don't pay and they're supposed to pay."
Guardian News published July 11, 2018: 'Germany is totally controlled by Russia': Trump at Nato summit. In the first meeting of the two-day Nato summit, Donald Trump said Germany was 'totally controlled by Russia' because of its energy dependency. At a breakfast briefing with Nato representatives, he said: '[Germany] will be getting up to 70% of its energy from Russia and a new pipeline ... you tell me if that is appropriate because I think it is not.' Trump is in Brussels on the first leg of a six-day European trip. Angela Merkel hit back at Trump's comments, saying 'I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom'.

The Daily Wire
written by Ashe Schow

Thursday August 20, 2020

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany will work to meet its obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), just a week or so after the U.S. Ambassador to Germany called the country out for ducking its responsibilities.

Stars and Stripes reported last week that Merkel announced Germany would improve its military and boost its contributions to NATO. Member nations are required to spend 2% of their GDP on defense spending, yet Germany – Europe’s largest economy – barely pays more than 1%.

President Donald Trump has criticized Germany for failing to meet its NATO obligations even as other members have increased their defense spending.

“People are paying and I am very happy with the fact they are paying,” Trump said in April while meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Trump added, “Germany, honestly, is not paying their fair share.”

Earlier in August, Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, heavily criticized Germany’s failure to fund its military, which appears to be what prompted Merkel’s change. In a statement to The Daily Wire, Grenell emphasized the need for Germany to increase defense spending.

“We have made clear that meeting the NATO obligation of paying 2% of your GDP for defense is important for the largest economy in Europe,” Grenell said. “There is lots of talk in Europe about multilateralism but I can’t think of a more successful multilateral organization than NATO.”

Grenell, according to Stars and Stripes, also released a statement calling it “actually offensive” that the U.S. was paying to keep troops stationed in Germany while the country wouldn’t even meet the minimum defense spending target of 2% GDP.

The 2% requirement started in 2014, under President Barack Obama. Other European nations have increased their defense spending since Trump took office. Poland has even offered $2 billion to build a permanent base of U.S. troops. Grenell and other Trump administration officials had previously threatened to move troops out of Germany and into Poland if Berlin didn’t start increasing defense spending.

Now Merkel appears to have gotten the message, announcing last week that Germany would move toward contributing 2% of GDP to its military.

“I think that the German (bases) are good locations for the American soldiers,” Merkel said Wednesday after meeting with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

“There are good reasons for the (U.S.) bases here in Germany but at the same time we know that we must take the pains to get the German military in better shape,” she added.

Germany is a long way from 2%. Stars and Stripes reported that the country would strive to contribute 1.5% of GDP toward defense spending by the end of 2020 and wouldn’t likely reach 2% until after 2024.

“So this means in the direction of 2%, and we will continue to go in this direction also after 2024,” Merkel said, according to Reuters.

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