CCTV Published: 2018-07-12 16:03:31
Before the two-day NATO Summit opened in Brussels on Wednesday, United States President Donald
Trump said repeatedly that he would not let Europe take advantage of his
country, raising concerns that the summit might become embroiled in
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and US President Donald Trump (R) make a
statement to the press after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the
NATO summit at the NATO headquarters, in Brussels, on July 11, 2018.
[Photo: AFP/Brendan Smialowski]
These were not unreasonable concerns. Before the summit opened, President Trump called Germany "a
captive of Russia", saying that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia
because they will be getting 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia
and a new pipeline." The remark promptly started a war of words between
the United States and Germany, and pushed German Chancellor Angela
Merkel to tell the waiting media at the start of the summit that Germany
is perfectly capable of making its own policies and decisions.
A few hours later, during a break at the summit, President Trump had
changed his tune somewhat, claiming that the meeting between him and
Chancellor Merkel went very well, and that they were on good terms. For
her part, Chancellor Merkel said that Germany and the United States are
allies and that direct meetings between the leaders of the two sides are
German Foreing Minister Heiko Maas [File Photo: AP/Sina Schuldt]
But Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was more direct in his comments.
"We are not a prisoner, neither of Russia nor of the United States," he
told reporters on the sidelines of the summit. Some German scholars
believe that President Trump has an ulterior motive for claiming that
Germany is captive to Russia. The United States wants to sell gas to
Germany and the rest of Europe – a market in which Russia is one of
America's major competitors, explained Claudia Kemfert, a researcher
from the German Institute of Economics.
Claudia Kemfert, a researcher from the German Institute of Economics [Photo: CCTV]
The NATO summit is not the first hostile encounter between the United
States and Germany in recent times. It seems that President Trump is
especially fond of picking on the Germans. For instance, he slammed
German automakers for occupying the American market, and complained that
Germany was gaining an unfair advantage from the United States because
of what President Trump considers to be their insufficient spending on
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with U.S. President Donald
Trump, seated at right, during the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie,
Quebec, Canada, on Saturday, June 9, 2018. [File Photo: AP/Jesco Denzel]
Perhaps the best portrayal of the current state of the relationship between the
leaders of the two countries was captured in a photo taken on the
sidelines of the G7 summit in June that was shared widely online.
Whatever the two leaders might choose to say publicly, the message
captured by that image came across loud and clear.