According to CNN analyst Nic Robertson, Donald Trump’s inexplicable plan to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany is a parting gift to Vladimir Putin that has the added benefit of angering a staunch U.S. ally much to the delight of the Russian strongman.
Noting that the president re-election prospects are in “freefall,” Roberson called Trump, “the gift that keeps on giving for the Kremlin: his unpredictability, while often a pain, for them is continual grist for their propaganda mill.”
At issue has been the president’s contentious relationship with Germany’s Angela Merkel who he considers a rival on the world stage, which has led to several years of confrontations.
“The reality is Trump has bullied German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the get-go, and not just on Germany’s sub-par defence spending commitment of 1.38% of GDP, but about exports of BMW cars and trade in general,” he wrote. “At their first meeting in the White House in spring 2017 the President barely looked Merkel in the eye, refusing to shake her hand; at a NATO summit in 2018 he berated her over breakfast. And now this.”
“Whatever Trump’s motive, be it petulance or indeed a strategic pivot to Asia, as [Defense Secretary] Esper has explained in recent weeks, the reality leaves allies rattled and runs counter to the US’s long-term benefit; now those European countries must look to themselves for defense — not for a quick fix, but as a major strategic shift,” Robertson explained. “Trump hasn’t caused a common European defense agreement to spring up overnight but he has compressed the wait until there is one, and none of this is good for America right now.”
He went on to note that it is unlikely the president will back off on his decision which has been widely criticized, saying one need only look at how badly Trump has managed the coronavirus pandemic and his refusal to change course or take responsibility for it.
“He is simultaneously enabling Russian President Vladimir Putin, a strategic foe who is already on the offensive, while disabling allies vital in that same fight. It is a double own goal, typical of a US President who insists on playing by his own rules. If the Covid-19 pandemic, which appears to be running the clock down on his presidency, can’t teach him that sometimes convention does have the answers, there is little likelihood he’ll reverse course on the 12,000 troops,” he wrote. “Perhaps a new American president will be elected this November with enough time and persuasive powers to repair the rift Trump has caused with his country’s allies. It won’t be easy, as Trump’s trust deficit is compounded by all those who stood by his side.”