0444 GMT December 13, 2019
In his recent two-day visit to Germany, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was still insistently asking German Chancellor Angela Merkel to meet two demands put forward by US President Donald Trump.
He presented the demands in a meeting with Merkel, which was also attended by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the country’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
The first demand was for the cancelation of a project to lay a pipeline dubbed ‘Nord Stream 2’ for transferring gas from Russia to Germany, and in general Europe, and the second one was for an increase, equal to two percent of Germany’s annual gross domestic product (GDP), by Berlin in its share of NATO’s military and defense budget.
These are the two requests that Trump has been, and is still, making from Berlin imperiously since the beginning of his term in the Oval Office.
Although on the surface and at first glance, the requests appear to be aimed at ensuring the West’s international security, they are, in fact, a clear manifestation of Trump’s excessive demands and part of his efforts to implement his “America First” idea and foreign policy against Europe, the EU’s political and economic security and the “united Europe” vision.
By constantly presenting these two illegitimate demands, Washington seeks to slow Germany’s economic growth and force the country into acquiescing to purchasing gas from US, instead of Russia, at a higher price.
However, the truth is Merkel has so far managed to refrain from giving in to these demands by adopting a smart diplomacy.
The ‘Nord Stream 2’ pipeline, with a length of 1,200 kilometers, is expected to come on stream in 2020. The pipeline is jointly under construction by European, particularly German, and Russian firms.
European firms hold 49 percent of the shares in this joint venture and Russian companies own 51 percent of them. By implementing the project, the two sides seek to achieve a number of joint economic and security goals. The venture has infuriated the US and been described as a disaster by Trump.
This comes as regarding Trump’s request concerning the rise in Germany’s share of NATO’s military and defense budget, Berlin has increased its NATO spending by up to 37.1 percent of the imposed ceiling.
* Hossein Ziaee is an Iranian freelance journalist.