Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lied about American troops in Germany.

In trying to explain his decision to redeploy American troops currently stationed in Germany, almost universally seen as a gift to the Putin regime, Trump tweeted this today:

It's not clear whether Trump is still genuinely confused about what NATO is "all about," or simply hoping his Twitter audience is. American troops are stationed in Germany to advance American interests, which include a stable and democratic Europe.

There is no "2% fee to NATO." (NATO's administrative budget is tiny, and Germany is paid up on its obligations.) But it will cost the United States billions of dollars to redeploy its forces.

Germany trades with Russia for the same reasons that the United States does with every country—like China, for example—with which it is not actively at war. Not only does Germany need some amount of natural gas, Russia's desperately fragile economy cannot survive without selling it. This economic reality has helped keep the peace even as Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed part of its territory—something Trump would like to forgive.

Of course, Trump is personally beholden to Russia in both political and financial ways. It's impossible to ignore the possibility that he is doing this simply because Putin wants him to. Trump has spoken with Putin eight times since Trump was warned that Russia was paying the Taliban bounties to kill American troops and destabilize the peace process, but Trump insists the subject has never come up. He defended Putin again today, calling his own government's intelligence reports "fake news."

Why should I care about this?

  • There should never be any doubt about what country a president's loyalties lie with, much less this much doubt.
  • A president who can't remember basic facts about our most important military alliances is unfit to be commander-in-chief.
  • Germany is a military ally of the United States and Russia is not.