Summits are typically boring affairs in the current year. Everything that is said and done is meticulously scrutinized beforehand by political hacks to allow each summit participant the maximum approval rating in their respective homeland. President Trump is thankfully a maverick who still calls a spade a spade.
Prior to the NATO summit, it was widely known that President Trump was going to ask for NATO members to increase defense spending to 2% of their respective GDPs. For once, an American President strode into the lion’s den of NATO, and instead of promising to spend more and more American dollars to protect NATO from evil Russia, made the NATO summit about American interests.
President Trump also had an agenda to reduce the $100 billion deficit the US has with the EU. One way to reduce the deficit would be to export American natural gas to the EU. American production of natural gas has been on a significant increase for the last 10 years. In 2017 for the first time, the US actually exported more natural gas than it imported, and the numbers show this trend will continue. From 2005 to 2015, the production of American natural gas increased by 50%. During the same time frame, American export of natural gas went from 2 billion cubic feet per day to 9 billion (a 450% increase) while liquified natural gas went from 0.2 billion cubic feet per day to 2 billion (a 1,000% increase).
NATO, and especially Germany, continuously voices concern over future Russian aggression. They do this knowing full well that the EU’s collective GDP is 10 times higher than Russia’s. When you consider the fact that Germany has sealed its fate and Europe’s fate with its future dependence on Russian natural gas by jointly building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to service Germany’s and Europe’s natural gas needs, it becomes clear why President Trump asked the NATO members at the summit why America should be paying for Germany and NATO’s defense against Russia when they are collaborating with the Russians on this project. This is what prompted the president to declare that Germany is “a captive of Russia.”
This is the essence of the problem with NATO and the EU. They suck the US dry to the tune of $100 billion per year in surplus trade and expect the US to spend 3.5% of its GDP to maintain a military to protect them. In the meantime, countries like Germany free ride, spending only 1.2% of their GDP on defense.