Thursday, 12 July 2018

USA President Trump on Facebook: "What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?"

Here's the Facebook post and associated video: https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump/videos/10161249259250725/, 12th July 2018 (as Indian Standard Time). The video is around 45 seconds.

The video has clips from a political campaign event in the USA where Mr. Trump is speaking plainly about Germany and its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel. I felt it appropriate to transcribe the words in the video:

[Mr. Trump says:] And I said, you know Angela, I can't guarantee it. But we are protecting you and it means a lot more to you than protecting us. Cause I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you. And then they go and out and they make a gas deal - oil and gas from Russia where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. Okay?

So they wanna protect against [be protected from] Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia and we are the schmucks [American word meaning, in this context in my view, stupid guys, fools, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Schmuck] that are paying for the whole thing.

I am going to tell NATO. You got to start paying your bills. United States is NOT going to take care of everything.
--- end transcript of video ---

The text of the Facebook post is as follows:

What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025
--- end text of Facebook post ---

Ravi: Hmm. That is very plain speaking from Mr. Trump. One does not have to be a seasoned diplomat to understand his view of the matter. Note that whether Mr. Trump is fully accurate in his words above do not matter so much. He is commander-in-chief of the USA armed forces and President of the USA. For survival of NATO now, Mr. Trump's view matters far more than whether his view is fully accurate or not.

I think this publicly articulated stand followed up in the NATO summit by public statements of similar type by USA president Trump may well turn out to be the milestone that marks the end of American superpower created and protected order since the end of World War II in 1945, for most countries of the world including Western European countries, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia etc. This has been the American superpower protected world order (with some level of balancing of this power by the former Soviet Union and its communist allies till 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved), in which I have lived my entire life so far [I was born in 1962 in independent India and as an international software development professional, I have done a lot of work for USA and European customers. I have also lived for a year and a half in Western Europe, and for around two years in the USA in the 1980s and 1990s. I now live in India].

Now it is upto each country to be able to protect itself via its own armed forces and also with military alliances but where the voice of a member of the alliance is based directly on military power of the member. Of course, economic power is the basis of military power in this technological early 21st century (one needs big money to buy and maintain high-tech military weapons and defense equipment). So economic power of countries would also be very important.

I wonder how European heads of state in NATO including the big powers of Western Europe namely Britain, France (both nuclear weapon powers) and Germany (economic power but NOT nuclear weapon power), will respond in their plans and actions in the future, to this decisively clear and negative stand of USA president Trump regarding NATO.

The Facebook post of Mr. Trump is titled, "What good is NATO?"

I wonder how NATO will ride out this existential crisis and whether it will continue to exist in the form it is today. I would not be surprised if, over the next few years, we see a new West European security alliance created in place of NATO.

The world order is changing and changing fast under super-change-agent USA president Trump. One wonders what sort of new world order will emerge after this period of disruption of existing world order ends.

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