Merkel Draws the Line Against Trump

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.

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. The Russia Hoax: The I... Gregg Jarrett Best Price: $4.95 Buy New $12.25 (as of 01:15 EDT - Details)

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. Ship of Fools: How a S... Tucker Carlson Best Price: $2.23 Buy New $8.27 (as of 12:20 EDT - Details)

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’.

Reprinted with permission from Gold Goats ‘n Guns.