Liberal talking heads are flipping out over comments President Trump made during a NATO summit concerning Germany being “controlled” by Russia.
The United States president brought attention to how Russia has a firm hold over Germany’s energy sector.
Here’s what Trump said:
So we’re protecting you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate. And the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas. Ultimately, Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas.
So you tell me, is that appropriate? I mean, I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should have never been allowed to have happened. But Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and i don’t think it should have happened. And I think we have to talk to Germany about it.
On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also. You know, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody. And yet we’re paying a lot of money to protect.
Sounds rough. The comments were definitely pointed, but the facts support his argument.
It is believed this is because a former chancellor of Germany is heading Russia’s energy industry. Check it out, from DW (in Dec 2017):
A Russian government decree published late on Friday night nominated former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join the board of the Russian energy giant Rosneft. The company is majority-owned by the Russian government and has its headquarters near the Kremlin in Moscow.
Schröder was nominated as a non-executive director of Rosneft as part of the company’s plans to increase the number of board directors from nine to 11. His name was one of seven presented in the decree signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the Russian government’s website.
Rosneft is the world’s largest publicly traded petroleum company and is headed by Igor Sechin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who served as deputy prime minister until 2012. The company has been hit by Western sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Full transcript of Trump remarks on Germany shows he also took aim at former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s new role as a Russian gas company executive. This has been a matter of concern in Europe for some time now. More context here: https://t.co/2T5BcthoUC pic.twitter.com/QCRbSlAmaz
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) July 11, 2018
And, via the Washington Post:
For seven years, Gerhard Schröder was the leader of the most populous democracy in Western Europe. He modernized the country’s social security system, angered George W. Bush by refusing to participate in the invasion of Iraq and was only narrowly ousted in an election defeat to Angela Merkel in 2005. Schröder could have easily spent the rest of his career as an elder statesman, attending summits and writing books.
Instead, Schröder — a friend of Vladimir Putin who has defended Moscow’s top man as a “flawless democrat” — opted for a career in the Russian business world.
Schröder has spent much of the past decade working for the Russian energy industry, serving as a board member of several consortia in which Russian-government-controlled energy company Gazprom is either the majority or sole shareholder.
His astonishing career in the Russian energy industry reached new heights this week when the former chancellor was nominated for a position as an independent director on the board of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company — and one in which the Kremlin also holds a controlling stake.
— Mike Bastasch (@MikeBastasch) July 11, 2018
The comments come amid a series of disagreements between the United States and its European allies. President Trump wants American allies to do what they ought to be doing anyway: being an ally to America, rather than just share the title of “ally.” The U.S. president has argued allies pay more to NATO’s defense fund and renegotiate trade agreements to be more beneficial to the U.S. The turbulent trade negotiations are still ongoing.