Trump Claims Germany “Controlled” by Russia, Merkel Differs (Vid)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, FILE)

BRUSSELS (AP) — President Donald Trump barreled into a NATO summit Wednesday with claims that a pipeline deal has left Germany “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia” as he lobbed fresh complaints about allies’ “delinquent” defense spending at the opening of what was expected to be a fraught two-day meeting.

Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russia.

“I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia,” Trump said at a breakfast with Stoltenberg. “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate.”

Trump repeatedly described Germany as “captive to Russia” and urged NATO to look into the issue.

Drawing on her own background, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back sharply, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions.

President Donald J. Trump attends the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, with opening remarks from Sec. Gen. Jens Stoltenberg and welcoming remarks by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Posted by Fox News on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

“I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good,” she said.

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe.

In their back-and-forth, Stoltenberg stressed to Trump that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences. “I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart,” he told the president, trying to calm tensions.

Trump’s pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has appeared eager to improve relations with Putin and dismissed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump win.

Back in the U.S., Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement describing Trump’s “brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany,” as “an embarrassment.”

“His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” they wrote.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also took issue with Trump, saying “I don’t agree with that. Germans wouldn’t agree with that. They are a very strong people.”

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, told CNN that Trump’s complaining about NATO was “like turning a family squabble into divorce proceedings.” He said the pipeline arrangement goes back to 2002 “when everybody viewed Russia in a benign way.”

“Now is not the time” to be alienating allies, he said.

But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, a strong supporter of the president, said the pipeline issue strikes at the “heart of NATO unity.”

“The pipeline gets cheap Russian gas to Germany while bypassing smaller Eastern European nations, allowing Russia to pressure them while Germany is held harmless,” he tweeted, adding: “No amount of preening in Berlin will cover this nakedly selfish policy.”

Despite Trump’s claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing — and maintaining — sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the international order established after World War II. The president is also not the first leader to point to the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Europe, echoing complaints from Eastern European allies who note it would cut out transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine.

Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press.

Trump told reporters during brief remarks at the end of the meeting that the two had a “very, very good relationship” and congratulated Merkel on her “tremendous success.” Asked if they had discussed the pipeline, he said, “Yes,” but declined to elaborate.

Merkel, for her part, called the two nations “good partners” and said “we wish to continue to cooperate in the future.”

Trump then met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he disagreed with Trump’s pipeline assessment.

Trump’s dramatic exchange with Stoltenberg set the tone for what was already expected to be a tense day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance as Trump presses jittery NATO allies about their military spending.

“The United States is paying far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some. So we’re going to have a meeting on that,” Trump said, describing the situation as “disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States.”

“They will spend more,” he later predicted. “I have great confidence they’ll be spending more.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, listens to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump has been pushing NATO members to reach their agreed-to target of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products on national defense by 2024 and has accused those who don’t of freeloading off the U.S.

“Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made,” he tweeted Tuesday en route to Europe, asking: “Will they reimburse the U.S.?”

That’s not how the spending works. Two percent represents the amount each country aims to spend on its own defense, not some kind of direct payment to NATO or the U.S.

NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.

During his campaign, Trump called NATO “obsolete” and suggested the U.S. might not come to the defense of members if they found themselves under attack — a shift that would represent a fundamental realignment of the modern world order. He also called Brussels a “hell hole” and “a mess.” Trump has moderated his language somewhat since taking office, but has continued to dwell on the issue, even as many NATO members have agreed to up their spending.

Stoltenberg, for his part, credited Trump for spurring NATO nations to spend more on defense.

“We all agree that we have to do more,” he said, describing last year as marking the biggest increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada in a generation.

Trump also took credit for the spending, telling the NATO chief that “because of me they’ve raised about $40 billion over the last year. So I think the secretary-general likes Trump. He may be the only one, but that’s OK with me.”

Brussels is the first leg of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the “easiest” leg of the journey would be the sit-down with Putin — a comment that did little to reassure allies fretting over his potential embrace of a Russian leader they regard as hostile.

On the eve of the NATO summit, European Council President Donald Tusk pushed back against Trump’s constant criticism of European allies and urged him to remember who his friends are when he meets with Putin in Helsinki.

“Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have all that many,” he said.

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By JONATHAN LEMIRE and JILL COLVIN , Associated Press

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller in Washington and Maria Danilova in Moscow contributed to this report.

FILE – In this April 9, 2010 file photo a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 km (106 miles) north-west from St. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, file)
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, prior to their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

1 Comment

  1. What does the citizen of the world …not understand. The United States government is a Tyrannical Fascist Regime! They have raped our treasury ….and racked up 26 trillion in debt, and leaving 45% of the population of the United States living under the poverty line, while they drop a bomb every 12 minutes on a country of the world ….in order to overthrow any government of an independent country…not compliant to the economic, political, and military control of the United States or United Kingdom! They are nothing more than ….the leaders of an Organized Crime family called Nato..running a Protection racket…..based on the 1930’s Mafia doctrines of the “Black Hand” in which legitimate businesses were required to pay tribute and allegiance to these mobsters, because the Mob…. had advised them that their were dangerous people in their neigborhoods, who could do harm to them! And only these gangsters could protect their businesses! Those business owners who refused to comply with this extortion….would be bombed by the mob….in order to demonstrate, that they really needed the mob to take over their businesses for their protection! Today, the United States is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes on countries of the world not compliant to their control, and proving that they need to depend on the United States, to stop their war crimes economic and military wars against the world! The Russian narratives…..supported by the Aristocratic media….are merely false presentations to demean another country who is independent, and most importantly, able to protect its sovereignty against the United States and its Neo liberal degenerates and sadist… who are formenting hostilities against Russia, China, and even the EU…because they do not represent the economic interest of the leaders of the Organized Crime Family called Nato! These degenerates are so crazed with power and money….that the consequences of war with Russia….which would devastate Europe at a minimum…and mostly likely the world, should demand by rational human beings….a genuine effort to improve relations with Russia by all members of Europe! Russia is not a communist threat, because, it is now a parliamentary form of government, and their military budget is 66 billion dollar, with only one foreign base in the world! On the other Hand ….the Neo Fascist regime of the United States….has a military budget of almost 800 billion dollars which also supports 800 bases around the world, 20 aircraft carriers, and a newly approve 1 trillion dollar expenditure to develope even more powerful nuclear weapons, at the same time , they are threatening war on North Korea, for developing a nuclear arsenal to defend themselves …and excercise their sovereign right of protection!
    The model of United States and Nato take over of Independent countries of the world….and destroying those not obedient like Iraq, Afganistan, Yemen, Syria,, lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, and who can forget the entire destruction of the country of libya….that is a cesspool of sharks and religious fanatics of the allies of Nato…..Saudi Arabia…where freedom of religion does not exist…but with the leaders of Israel ….are merely capo’s in this organized crime family….that now grips the world, and is exposing itself in Greece and Cyprus! Apparently, unlike Mr. Tsipras and the surprizingly Syriza ruling party, has told the Godfather….that she , at this time, wishes to , in the interests of her country, finish a contracted pipeline deal with her neighbor the Russian Federation, which would provide much cheaper gas and oil for the people of Germany! However, that does not fit into the war against the enemies of the degenerates regime of the United States…who has been called recently, Gangsters by the North Koreans, and Mafia …by even an Australian diplomat, because the alternative to buying oil and gas from Russia, would be expensive oil and gas from the new Fraking generated gas and oil from the United States! So add up, the U.S. threatens Nato Member Turkey for buying Russian superior anti Ballistic missiles, not the U.S. Patriot missiles…with cancelling approved plans to provide them with 100 F-35 advanced fighters, which can easily be used against Greece, and Mr. Edrogan tells them to take a hike! Like Mrs.Merkel….she tells the degenerates….Russia is our neighbor…not an enemy! The outcome….for money….the sale of these F-35’s are going to go thru…despite the threat to Greece and Cyprus , and their interests! Something TNH and Mr. Theros ….their in house State Department liason…will not tell you!

    On the other hand Mr.Tsipras ….has made Greece the model of a subserviance to the United States and Nato…by handing over the name of Macedonia to the new prize of Nato …Fyrom, to continue their march to war in Europe …by adding another stooge country to Nato….in their never ending war against Russia by degenerate sadist….who have not found a war they haven’t liked….or an enemy created to start one with!
    Mr. Tsipras and Syriza …have proven that they can renege on removing bases of the United States from Crete, and getting out of Nato….which right now ….would be a great time, because they are compliant stooges of the degenerates…who would probably do what they did to libya…for closing U.S. and U.K bases in libya!
    like the current regime in the United States…. Greece should have snap elections to put in people required to get out of Nato, EU, and close U.S. bases…and demonstrate that the people of Greece……are independent citizens…who will determine who they allow to have influence in their country…..not the United States!
    As an American…..we should not be satisfied with maintaining fundamental rights….by surrendering our rights to stop a fascist and criminal foreign policy….that has killed over 31/2 million people of the Middle East and counting, and is clearly, attempting to kill millions in Europe , by instigating hostile and degenerate policies towards Russia, with an outcome….that will be put in the hands of Vladimir Putin….when he grows tired of these actions against his country! The only question…is whether Mr. Putin will surrender his sovereignty to Nato and allow them to recruit and add more countries on his borders to strangle Russia, and prepare for launching war! That is the only question…because if he decides otherwise…..then he faces the last issue …..the morality of killing millions of people …..to defend his country! And that is the only issue for Mr. Putin…who unlike Greece and Cyprus…is very capable of taking out Nato!

    And we in America and Greece….can act stupid…and be fooled by TNH and the Aristocratically controlled Mainstream Media…who are the primary position …the world is in this state now, and probably responsible for the deaths of 3 1/2 million in Vietnam and the millions since then!
    And don’t blame Donald Trump….he like the other presidents …are merely actors …performing a play and script….which has been dictated by an aristocracy…that has been in control …since, the independence of the country….from their white Supremacist Tutors in England!

    Michael Gianakos

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