President Donald Trump kicked off the 2018 NATO summit by blasting Germany over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal. At the opening reception, Trump declared:
“We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. I think that is very inappropriate.”
The Western press was stunned. CNN posted as its website headline “Trump starts visit by insulting allies.”
Of course, readers and watchers of CNN probably have no idea what President Trump is talking about. That network has been so busy talking about Michael Cohen, Rod Rosenstein and other sideshows it has ignored many of the world events that really shape our future.
If you think about it, it’s pretty incredible that readers of this blog, and the excerpts that I post sometimes on Linkedin and that get posted by other sites, are better informed about the Nord Stream 2 issues than readers and listeners of CNN, MSNBC or Fox. My guess is that you will see a lot of scrambling today as these “news organizations” try to explain what the pipeline is all about. It’s even possible that because of this, Stormy Daniels’s lawyer might not get on the air – at least for a day or two.
President Trump is absolutely right in both what he said about Nord Stream 2 and how he said it. As I discussed last week, Nord Stream 2 is a problem from an economic standpoint in that it ties Germany more closely to Russia, it is bad environmentally because it encourages continued Russian development of natural gas without environmental constraints in a delicate Arctic ecosystem, and it is wrong politically in that it bypasses Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States, cutting them off from transshipment payments.
Further, the Germans are doing this as they continue to fail to live up to their NATO commitment to spend 2% of the country’s GDP on defense. As of 2016, only Greece, the UK, Estonia and Poland joined the US in living up to its NATO commitment. Again as I mentioned last week, the Estonian Foreign Minister just came out against Nord Stream 2.
None of this has swayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who pushes forward with the pipeline plan. Today she acted offended when the American President calls her out on it.
Much to the chagrin of the “smart set”, I imagine Donald Trump will get a lot of credit from Mr. and Ms. America for standing up to this sort of action by a European leader, which we have seen over and over again. Don’t be surprised if the Baltic States and Poland reinforce President Trump’s concerns over Nord Stream 2 as the summit continues. Donald Trump may have looked like the isolated leader coming into the NATO summit, but due to energy issues it may look very different coming out.
Questions? Let Dan know.