‘We’re not prisoners’: German FM berates Trump for ‘Russia captives’ remark

Cheryl Sanders
July 12, 2018

After meeting with embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May in London and a golf weekend at a Trump-owned course in Scotland, the president travels to Helsinki for next week's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the United States for defense.

Rachel Rizzo, who works on Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation issues at the Center for a New American Security, said that while it is positive that allies have reversed years of decreases in defense spending, pegging defense spending to an arbitrary percentage is problematic.

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia, " Trump said, referring to the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline. "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

His demand that they raise their contributions to 4 percent came as a surprise during the first meeting of this week's Brussels summit.

"This has gone on for many presidents". "This has been brought up by other presidents". Trump made it clear he's exhausted of America shelling out more money on defense than its allies.

This alliance of 28 countries from around the world is a pillar of American interests since its inception many decades ago.

Germany invested 1.24 percent of its GDP in 2017 and estimated to do the same in 2018. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany".

He described the current situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

"I'm very pleased to have this opportunity for this exchange about the economic future and migration and the future of trade relations", Merkel said.

Alluding to Trump's comments about Germany, Kerry also said that "European energy security is an important topic for allies to discuss, even when they disagree".

Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries". "How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection against?"

After Putin complained that White House officials tried to stop their phone call from happening, Trump told Putin, "Those are stupid people; you shouldn't listen to them", according to NYT via The Hill.

Trump, who allies hope will sign off on a summit deal to step up the West's deterrence of Russian Federation, will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Wednesday.

"I think we can cope with it", von der Leyen said. His surprise demand came after he clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling Germany a "captive" of Russian Federation because of its gas links.

Other reports by iNewsToday