Of President Donald Trump’s explosion at Angela Merkel’s Germany during the NATO summit, it needs to be said: It is long past time we raised our voices.
America pays more for NATO, an alliance created 69 years ago to defend Europe, than do the Europeans. And as Europe free-rides off our defense effort, the EU runs trade surpluses at our expense that exceed $100 billion a year.
To Trump, and not only to him, we are being used, gouged, by rich nations we defend, while they skimp on their own defense.
At Brussels, Trump had a new beef with the Germans, though similar problems date back to the Reagan era. Now we see the Germans, Trump raged, whom we are protecting from Russia, collaborating with Russia and deepening their dependence on Russian natural gas by jointly building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
When completed, this pipeline will leave Germany and Europe even more deeply reliant on Russia for their energy needs.
To Trump, this makes no sense. While we pay the lion’s share of the cost of Germany’s defense, Germany, he said in Brussels, is becoming “a captive of Russia.”
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Impolitic? Perhaps. But is Trump wrong? While much of what he says enrages Western elites, does not much of it need saying?
Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the U.S. spends 3.5 percent. Why?
Why — nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the crackup of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Moscow — are we still defending European nations that collectively have 10 times the GDP of Vladimir Putin’s…