11 July 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Donald Trump turned up at a welcoming breakfast for the NATO summit and turned a meet-and-greet photo op into a diatribe against Germany. He opined that Germany is under Russian control citing falsehoods to support his ridiculous claim. His obsession with the US trade deficit is now undermining the national security of every NATO member. Right before he meets with Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump has decided to distance himself from America's allies. The only word that fits is "idiocy."
Mr. Trump stated incorrectly and maliciously, "Germany is totally controlled by Russia . . . They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that is appropriate because I think it's not." He added, "If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia, because they supply . . . .they got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it's something NATO has to look at." Mr. Trump is either lying or ignorant.
First off all, natural gas provides 7% of Germany's energy needs, about a tenth of what Mr. Trump claims Russia provides. Wind is good for 20%, hard and brown coal combined amount to 37%, with uranium adding 13%, solar 9% and biomass another 8.5%. The vulnerability caused by German dependence on Russian gas is not that serious.
Secondly, while Germany does have a dependence on Russia for gas, Russia depends on the revenue from that gas to fund much of its government and line the pockets of the oligarchs. Russia could cut off the gas, but it would be cutting off a revenue stream in doing so. Which country could outlast the other? The Russians will go broke before the Germans.
Third, Mr. Trump is obsessed with America's trade deficit. He seems to think that a deficit with the EU means the US lost money trading with Europe. In fact, the $155 billion deficit means the Europeans were willing to take US dollars in exchange for real goods and services. Mr. Trump, for his part, almost certainly has a trade deficit with McDonald's (he's not paid to eat there), but that doesn't mean the relationship is an abusive one. Still, it matters to him.
Undoubtedly once someone explained things to him, he saw an opportunity to shutdown a proposed pipeline from Russia to Germany and replace the gas with US liquefied natural gas shipped by tankers. It's the kind of thing a second-rate businessman might think is clever, but which will have serious effects on American defense capabilities for years, if not decades.
Mr. Trump will then head off to Britain where Prime Minister May leads a fractured government and where the capitol city is so hostile to him that he will be given tours of stately homes to avoid the mobs. Little will be achieved there unless it is negative.
Finally, he will go to Helsinki to meet Mr. Putin. Mr. Trump has suggested a one-on-one without note-takers or staff, just translators. There is no real agenda set, and this is all a recipe for disaster. However, his Amen-corner will hail him as a great diplomat when he returns next week.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.