From Reuters:

President Donald Trump will ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her views on how the United States can help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine when they meet next week, senior Trump administration officials said on Friday.

Putin wanted Trump in power; that much is clear, according to U.S. spies.  Is it because he hoped for a grand bargain over Ukraine?  If so, Putin’s belly must be turning to ice over this report.

There are a few interesting angles to consider here:

  1. Is the alt-right nationalism that drove Trump’s campaign the same as Putin’s revanchist nationalism, and if so, does that make them ideological fellow travelers?
    1. If yes, Trump is playing Merkel for a fool, making it appear he continues to value NATO and the EU while in fact using back doors to undermine both with Putin.
    2. If no, Trump has played Putin for a fool: Trump has used both alt-right nationalism and Moscow to gain the presidency, the hardest deal Trump has ever sealed, and certainly the greatest reward for an ego that demands both success and adoration.
  2. Is Trump aiming to cede Europe to Germany by relying on its most powerful leader?
    1. If yes, this is huge geopolitically, because Trump is peacefully transferring power from the post-war, American-led world order, to a new post-Great Recession multipolar world, in which Germany, and not the U.S., is the linchpin of European geopolitics.
    2. If no, this means that Trump is hoping a European can tell him how to use the superpower’s capabilities to solve a European problem.

What we should watch for:

  • Will the U.S. rearm Ukraine?  If so, it dooms Putin’s hopes of a grand bargain; America under Trump will see Ukraine and Syria as separate issues, so cooperation with Russia in Syria does not equate to cooperation in Ukraine.  If not, Putin may yet get his realignment.
  • Will the solutions to Ukraine be German or American?  A long-term threat to the United States’ security is the emergent of an independent, German-led European power, possibly created by a Russo-German alliance.  This is a very long journey, much longer than Trump can be president, but if Ukraine becomes a German-led process, it will be an important step on this road to a German-led Europe independent of the United States.

 

4 thoughts on “Reuters: Trump To Rely on Germany To Deal With Ukraine and Putin

  1. In the late 1960’s I read an article in the Economist surveying Soviet generals about which country they viewed as being as being their most dangerous rival and most likely opponent in future conflict. The great majority thought Germany, not the US, especially if Germany became unified. Having Germany as a free agent instead of a client state will be a future danger to the US and Russia, especially if there is a world-wide rise in “economic nationalism” and competition for markets.

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    1. Exactly, as it was once in the first half of the 20th century. But I don’t see history repeating itself: either Germany will align with Russia (perhaps Russia becomes a client state of Germany?), or it remains in the American camp. If the EU falters, it won’t have any vehicle to try domination of the continent on its own.

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  2. Now that this meeting has taken place do you think scenario A or B is likely? What do you make of the immature snub of a handshake? Is Trump hard of hearing? It doesn’t seem likely. We already know he’s daft.

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    1. It doesn’t bode well for German-American relations or NATO. If they cannot even like one another then they’ll be hard pressed to coordinate a response to Russian aggression or terrorism. That being said the Germans can comfort themselves knowing Trump cannot possibly last longer than 2024. They may even see the backside of him sooner than that. Yet I worry younger Germans will stop seeing America as a reliable ally. If they have to have eight years of good relations alternate with eight years of bad ones, they may decide to find their own alliance system they can control rather than wait out recurring bad presidents.

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