OP-ED/NATO, Trump and Germany

OP-ED/NATO, Trump and Germany

This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al

By Eduard Zaloshnja

During the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump was always repeating: “NATO countries are not paying for NATO, because we’re paying for them”. In fact, all NATO member countries are paying what they need to pay for joint expenses. On the other hand, what they don’t do is spend enough for their respective armies. Based on a decision taken in 2006, until 2024, each NATO member should spend 2% of its GDP for its army. Only 6 NATO countries (out of 28) have achieved this target (6 years before the deadline).

None of these details really matter for president Trump and uneducated voters (a statistical observation conducted after the US elections showed that three quarters of president Trump’s voters have no higher education). So, he continues to repeat that “NATO countries are not paying for NATO, because we’re paying for them”.

According to Churchill, NATO was created to keep the Russian bear in its steppes and to keep the German bulldog asleep. This is why Germany was prohibited from producing or buying offensive weapons, while the two largest American bases were set up in the country which had started two of the bloodiest world wars. This is why Germany’s military expenses amount to 1.2% of this country’s GDP.

On the other hand, Germany argues that it’s true that the US spends 4.3% of its GDP for the army, but half of these expenses go toward the military bases in the Pacific and the Indian oceans (bases in Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, Guam, etc.), which are far from the European stage (for which NATO was created).

However, none of these details really matter for president Trump and uneducated voters. They have constantly attacked Germany since the German chancellor Merkel declared that she didn’t support the presidential candidate Trump. By imposing customs tariffs for Mercedes and Volkswagen, by accusing Germany for its military expenses and policies followed with refugees, president Trump has constantly attacked chancellor Merkel’s Germany with the aim of damaging her politically.

Recently, there have been rumours that US senior military officers are looking into the possibility of removing US military bases from Germany. It’s not known if these are tactical electoral rumours spread by president Trump ahead of the mid-term elections (to satisfy his uneducated voters) or a promise that he will make to president Putin in the meeting that the pair will soon have.

If the latter happens, geo-strategic balances will change dramatically in Europe. This is the reason why the prominent statesman, Henry Kissinger is worried about a possible withdrawal of American bases from Germany. According to him, this will lead to the German Bundestag to approve a higher military budget than the current one. What’s more, Germany will be forced to build its own nuclear umbrella. And according to Kissinger, a militarized Germany with nuclear weapons could be the next nightmare for today’s European children…

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy