Does Germany Owe Us 'Vast Sums'?
President Trump's recent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel went about as well as could be expected. He treated her with thinly veiled contempt, avoiding her gaze, staring off into the middle distance whenever possible, his body language proclaiming his true feelings. Whether he heard her softly muttered request for a photo-op handshake at the end of their meeting doesn't matter: his mien made his feelings abundantly clear.
Germany, or bits of it, has gone from being a mortal enemy in 1941, to a four-power protectorate in 1945, to an American client state until 1989, to a nominal ally up to the present. The German media -- and the Trump-haters in the American press -- acted as if the president had just delivered her an ultimatum about the Sudetenland -- even though, as you can see below, Trump shook hands with the chancellor at least three times.
But Merkel, more than anyone, is the woman who destroyed the notion of European cultural cohesion, the unity of its history, and its Western identity. Her folly in throwing open the borders of the European Union (which is itself a Franco-German political fantasy now coming unglued) to the "migrant" hordes of an invading Islamic world will reverberate for decades to come. In an effort to replace the German population -- which, largely thanks to its women, is almost wholly uninterested in reproducing itself -- the childless chancellor could only see a mechanical solution to a problem of reproductive biology, without ever once (in true East German fashion) asking herself why.
Trump also spoke some unwelcome truths to the German people, foremost among them their debt to the United States of America from liberating them from Hitler, for midwifing the Federal Republic of Germany, for supporting Germany unification (despite the wretched George H. W. Bush/ James A. Baker III administration's indifference, if not outright opposition, to it) and, paramount, for the American nuclear umbrella and thousands of troops that allowed the postwar Germans to establish and maintain their cushy social-welfare state. The Allies wanted a defanged Germany, and boy did they ever get it.
And yet that denatured Deutschland is what is killing Germany. When you enter the workforce in your mid-to-late twenties and retire in your fifties, your exposure to the vicissitudes of life is as minimal as it can be. And when that work is punctuated by six weeks of vacations, multiple days off, spa treatments and a strictly regulated set of working-hours... well, Bruder, you were on Easystrasse.
Throw in Germany's historical notion of Kinderfeindlichkeit -- hatred of children -- and you have a surefire prescription for national suicide: Germany, literally, has nothing to live for.
But the free ride's now over, and the Germans don't like it one bit:
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States "vast sums" of money for defense. "There is no debt account at NATO," von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.
"Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism," von der Leyen said. She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a "modern security concept" that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.
A "modern security concept" sounds very much like the Obama administration's notion of "soft power." And no power in Europe is softer than Germany's.
Trump said on Twitter on Saturday - a day after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington - that Germany "owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!" Trump has urged Germany and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet NATO's defense spending target.... During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany's commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.
Big deal. Trump got all kinds of grief from the foreign-policy establishment when he voiced his skepticism about NATO during the campaign, but he was on to something. The rapid expansion of what used to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (essentially, the U.S. and Britain, with other spear-carriers, and minus the French) has gobbled up several of the former Soviet client states in eastern Europe, pushing itself right up to the Russian border. To say this is provocative to the Russians under the Soviet-restorationist (in territory rather than Marxist philosophy) regime of Vladimir Putin is an understatement.
I'm not privy to what Trump told Merkel in private, but it's hard to imagine the president didn't put the iron laws of political economics to her in the bluntest possible way. Merkel has had the freedom to import and support a million cultural hostiles a year with no meaningful work skills in large part because Germany pays so little for defense, and can afford to amuse itself with virtue-signalling while its citizens are robbed, raped, and murdered -- although even that largesse is coming to an end.
So it's amusing to watch the knee-jerk Left instantly come to the side of the country they used to love to hate -- Germany -- the instant Trump criticizes their beloved Angela Merkel. Here's the Washington Post, which under Jeff Bezos and editor Marty Baron has turned into a snarling, rabid dog of Trump-hatred, spouting the new Party Line:
Since World War II, Germany has intentionally kept its military small. The country defines itself by its pacifism and its commitment to the idea of “never again.” Germany’s defense spending — or lack thereof — has frequently been criticized and mocked in the past. In 2014, for instance, German forces made headlines when they were forced to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise, exposing the state of its underequipped military.
But, Germans argue, they make up for this in other ways. As Merkel argued in a speech last month, mutual security goes beyond military spending. International development aid on things like hospitals and schools does as much for peace as warheads in Europe. “When we help people in their home countries to live a better life and thereby prevent crises, this is also a contribution to security,” Merkel said in Munich. “So I will not be drawn into a debate about who is more military-minded and who is less.”
She and other German leaders also point out that they’re bearing the brunt of the Syrian refugee crisis, spending 30 to 40 billion euros a year. If that was included in the tally, they say, they’d be putting more than 2 percent of their budget a year toward security. (They’re also quick to note that U.S. military interventions are one reason there are so many displaced people from the Middle East.)
Now that is the very dictionary definition of chutzpah.
Although it's -- alas! -- unlikely to happen, sensible Germans who wish to maintain and further their cultural patrimony need to dump Merkel in the upcoming elections. What will come after her might well be worse -- it may well be a Leftist coalition, unlike the current closeted leftism of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party -- but if Europe is to have any chance at survival, that's a chance that's still worth taking. And least then we can see the German government for what it really is.