Trump Roasts Germany as ‘Totally Controlled by Russia’ before NATO Summit
US President Donald Trump has lashed out at Germany for its dependence on energy resources from Russia as well as its failure to spend more on defense in abrupt comments on the eve of the NATO summit in Brussels.
Trump’s tirade of criticism against Germany came during a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday
In addition to Germany’s overall dependence on Russian energy and its failure to boost its defense spending, the US President explicitly criticized America’s long-time NATO ally for going ahead with the Nord Stream II pipeline project which is going to bring more Russian natural gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
“I think it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we are supposed to be guarding [it] against Russia, and Germany goes and pays billions and billions of dollars per year to Russia,” Trump said.
“We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all these countries, and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. So we are supposed to protect you against Russia but they are paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think it’s very inappropriate,” the US President elaborated.
Trump even remind NATO chief Stoltenberg that Gerhard Schroeder, the former Chancellor of Germany, “is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas.”
The 1,200-kilometer Nord Stream II pipeline has the capacity to deliver more than 55 billion cubic meters (2 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas to Germany beginning at the end of 2019.
“Ultimately, Germany is going to have almost 70% of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas. You tell me if that’s appropriate, I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got… It should’ve never been allowed to have happened. But Germany is totally controlled by Russia. Because they are getting from 60% to 70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate ’cause I think it’s not. I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened, and I think we have to talk to Germany about it” the US President argued.
Trump even compared the defense spending of Germany with that of the United States.
“On top of that, Germany is just paying a little over 1% where the United States in actual numbers is paying 4.2% of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also. So we are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting everybody, and, yet, we are paying a lot of money to protect. This has been going on for decades,” he expressed his indignation.
Speaking in Brussels, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen responded almost immediately to Trump’s criticism of Nord Stream 2, DW reports.
“We have a lot of issues with Russia without any doubt. On the other hand, you should keep the communication line between countries or alliances and opponents without any question,” she argued.
Trump’s criticism of Germany came less than a day after a verbal exchange he had with European Council President Donald Tusk over the insufficient defense spending of the European members of NATO.
Tusk hit back at Trump for “criticizing Europe almost daily” and said the American President should acknowledge that Europe is the US’ closest ally.
“Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” he stated.
Only eight of the 29 NATO members are expected to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense in 2018 — the US, Estonia, Greece, the UK, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Germany’s defense spending is currently 1.24 percent of its GDP.
(Banner Image: Video grab from Radio Liberty)