… from Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: The US world reputation has never been lower than it is now, and it is not all because of Trump. The Republicans have been fully onboard all the way, with the Democrats not far behind.
Surprisingly Merkel admits that the jury is still out on whether liberal economic democracies are the superior system. The US loved emerging power China when it and Japan were buying the US debt every year, like it was a colonizer collecting tribute.
Trump found himself trying to play tough guy against a country holding huge dollar cash reserves, large gold stockpiles, little foreign debt and a booming economy.
China held off modernizing its military while it was doing something much more important long term, establishing China as an economic powerhouse, which could then afford a large, state of the art military to protect it.
Merkel’s call for the EU to begin accepting the reality of defending itself rings hollow, as such a thing will not be financially viable until after a full Covid recovery. The EU was struggling before the virus.
What is missing, showing poor leadership on her part, is that the EU has loved stoking the Russian Bear image, when Putin’s economy was fully absorbed in trying to provide a credible modern defense of his huge country.
A typical example is that despite Russia having the top fighter superiority in its new S-57, it will take a decade of manufacturing production to have the numbers needed for a full air defense, due to its huge territory. Yet, it continues to be falsely labelled an ‘aggressor’, when any military analyst can see it does not have the economy to feasibly support taking and holding territory.
Modern Russia has always presented itself as a good trade partner being in Russia’s best national security interests. It is the US, EU and NATO who thought it would be cool to slowly push NATO up to Russia’s eastern border to have a first strike missile staging threat, a pointed gun at Russia’s head in all future negotiations.
Russia’s response was to use its famed technical expertise to have the most advanced retaliation weapon systems in the world, which were also affordable, funding much of that via conventional arms export sales.
Who really made the bad decisions to bring us to where we are now? The Russians and China? Hardly. China is at the front end of a decade long process to field a modernized and large enough military to defend itself… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … June 27, 2020 –
European nations need “to carry more of the burden than during the cold war” in terms of defense spending, Merkel said, because they cannot assume that the US will be there to protect them.
“We grew up in the certain knowledge that the United States wanted to be a world power. Should the US now wish to withdraw from that role of its own free will, we would have to reflect on that very deeply,” she said, in an interview published in six European newspapers.
The German leader stopped short of advocating a joint EU military force, the idea favored by French President Emmanuel Macron. She said she saw the value of NATO capabilities, including the shared nuclear umbrella, in a world of the rising Asian powers China and India.
The French leader has a much more skeptical attitude towards the transatlantic defense bloc. Last year he said NATO was “brain dead.”
Merkel lamented the increasing selfishness of nations today, which, she said, contrasts with the unified multilateral response to the 2008 financial crisis. “These days, we have to do all we can to stop ourselves collapsing into protectionism,” she said.
If Europe wants to be heard, then it needs to set a good example.
Protectionist approaches are at the core of the Trump administration’s foreign policy. Under Trump, Washington pushed for the renegotiation of trade deals that the US president saw as unfavorable to his country.
He also dialed up to 11 the criticism of European NATO members like Germany, which fail to meet their military spending obligations, calling them freeloaders. And his administration has made confrontation with China on all fronts a priority, ramping up the pressure on third nations to scare them away from cooperating with Beijing.
Speaking about China, Merkel said its rise “shows that even an undemocratic state can be economically successful, which is a major challenge for our liberal democracies.” This example and other post-cold war developments, from the emergence of the Islamist terrorist threat to the disappointing results of the Arab Spring, are a matter of grave concern for believers in liberal causes like herself.
We have not yet been able to furnish absolute proof that the liberal system is about to win the day.
But Merkel seems reluctant to join the US and go for a major confrontation with China, saying Beijing’s new-found power is a reality that other nations have to learn to live with.
“China has become a global player. That makes us partners in economic cooperation and combating climate change, but also competitors with very different political systems,” she said.
Not to talk to each other would certainly be a bad idea.
The same is true for Russia, the country that the US sees as its other strategic rival. Berlin needs to remain engaged with Moscow despite all issues in their bilateral relations.
“In countries like Syria and Libya, countries in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood, Russia’s strategic influence is great,” Merkel explained. “I will therefore continue to strive for cooperation.”