German officials called the move politically motivated. While Trump claimed the pullout was based on Germany failing to meet NATO’s goal of spending 2% of its GDP on defense, Belgium and Italy – the two countries that will receive part of the US troops from Germany – spend an even smaller percentage on defense. This move will cost US taxpayers billions of dollars and undermine NATO alliances.
Meanwhile, when the intention to reduce the US contingent in Germany was first announced, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Kremlin “would welcome any move from Washington to reduce its military presence in Europe, ”brazenly declaring the United States to take home not only its troops, but also its tactical nuclear weapons.Russia’s Kremlin-controlled state media also saw a valuable propaganda opportunity. Sergey Brilyov, presenter of the news program Saturday Vesti on the Russian media channel Russia-1, questioned whether the controversial Trump administration decision could be taken as proof that Russia no longer poses a military threat to Europe.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov used the same reasoning today, when he said that Russia poses no threat to European countries and that “the fewer American soldiers there are on the European continent, the quieter it is in Europe ”. The Russian envoy to Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, speculated that the withdrawal of part of the American contingent from Germany will not affect the security of the country and that Berlin could even “benefit” from this. decision.
Unsurprisingly, Germany doesn’t see it that way. Norbert Roettgen, head of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, warned on Twitter: “By withdrawing 12,000 troops from Germany, the United States[s] exactly the opposite of what [Defense Secretary] Mark Esper pointed out. Instead of strengthening NATO, it will weaken the alliance. The military weight of the United States will not increase, but will decrease relative to Russia and the Near and Middle East.
“Trump is still ours.”
The troop withdrawal is just the latest piece of good news for Russia in its dealings with the Trump administration.
When news broke of the Russian bounties placed on the heads of American soldiers was announced, followed by revelations that Russia and China had hacked Western coronavirus research, it seemed the die was cast and the sanctions against the Kremlin were practically inevitable. A chorus of experts from Russian state television has unanimously warned the public: there will be new sanctions.
But so far, the sanctions for hacking the coronavirus vaccine have been imposed only on China. Other Russian pundits and pundits have accurately predicted that – unlike Democrats – Trump and the GOP will choose not Russia, but China as America’s main adversary. Therefore, instead of a harsh reprimand, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a friendly telephone conversation with Trump. During their phone call, Trump did not raise the issue of Russian bounties on the US military in Afghanistan, nor did he reprimand Putin for Russia’s hacking of the coronavirus vaccine research. . Likewise, Trump did not ask the Russian president about his country’s continued interference in the US elections and home affairs.
“They are 100% our enemies.”
Instead of confronting Putin, Trump lashed out at Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler over the national anti-fascist group Antifa, partially tweeting: “Jerry, blame Russia, Russia, Russia!” The notorious retort reaffirmed that Russian wrongdoing will continue to be brushed under the rug by the Trump administration – a signal that has been enthusiastically received in Moscow. “Trump is still ours,” concluded Russian Council for International Affairs expert Alexey Naumov. “Phew,” theatrically exhaled the host of a state press talk show. 60 minutes, Olga Skabeeva.
“Trump is ours” is a familiar refrain in Russian state media. Its purpose is twofold: to mock the investigation into the Kremlin’s involvement in the US elections, while at the same time highlighting the inexplicable hold Putin appears to have over his US counterpart. This is hardly humorous, in light of Trump’s actions which consistently benefit Russia’s agenda on the world stage. At the 2018 Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki, the Russian president openly admitted that he wanted Trump to win the election. Russian pundits, pundits and Kremlin spokespersons repeatedly say that Trump is still the favorite figure in the upcoming presidential election – as a “chaos candidate,” dividing Americans nationally and causing international divisions in the country. within the transatlantic alliances.
The weakening of the enemy is certainly a coveted opportunity for Russia – and there is no doubt that the United States is seen as such by the Kremlin. Talk about the United States on the Russian State TV program 60 minutes Last week Alexei Kondratiev, member of the Federation Council of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Federation, stressed: “They are our enemies, 100%. On the same show, expert Alexey Naumov said the world is witnessing the United States “in the throes of death” as America’s greatness and its global reputation decline sharply. “America is dying,” announced host Olga Skabeeva.
Margarita Simonyan, head of the state-funded television channel RT, formerly known as Russia today, was just as blunt in his assessment. She said Komsomolskaya Pravda– a Russian tabloid daily – that the complete disintegration of America would be of great benefit to Russia. Simonyan hypothesized that the internal chaos would force the United States to focus on its own survival, allowing Russia and other countries to pursue their global goals unhindered: “So that they leave us alone, they need to be terribly busy with their own internal problems. This perception is in line with recent revelations that Russian intelligence services are using English-language websites to spread disinformation – arguably, just a small snowflake on the tip of the anti-disinformation iceberg. western Russia. As the US presidential elections approach, these efforts can be expected to intensify.
As for the weakening of NATO, Trump is essentially responding to Putin’s wishes by ordering the withdrawal of the US armed forces from Germany. The Kremlin is sure to exploit the fault lines in transatlantic relations between Western allies and widen the cracks at every opportunity, aided by the divisive actions of the Kremlin’s unlikely comrade in the White House.