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Cracks in NATO

The NATO summit predictably began with US President Donald Trump launching a tirade against Germany, the most powerful member of the organisation in Europe. He said that a natural gas pipeline deal had left Germany totally controlled by and captive to Russia. He is due to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin shortly and did not see how he could support Germany against Russia. The western powers are critical of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and grab for the Baltic Republics. Trump lobbed fresh complaints about delinquent defence pending by the allies. He made a special reference to Germany which was a rich country and should not spend only 2% of its GDP on defence. It may be recalled that former US President Barrack Obama had also made the same complaint but was more compromising. Trump suggested that NATO countries should commit to spending 4% of their GDP on defence which would be double the goal of 2% by 2024.

Donald Trump had a bitter exchange with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He repeatedly described Germany as captive to Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back insisting that Germany should be allowed to make its own decisions. She had experienced how her part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. She was happy that the two Germanys were united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany. It had been anticipated for some time that President Trump would make a move to pull out of NATO. It is part of US policy of isolationism and its new found alliance with Putin’s expansionist Russia. He has already waged a trade war against EU countries. Now comes his imminent break with NATO. All this augurs ill for the war on terrorism especially in Afghanistan and Syria.

We are seeing a reorganization of world powers which could have long term impacts. Whether this will be reversed once Trump serves his time as the US President is a matter of conjecture.

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