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Ric Grenell: Germany, Merkel Naïve About China, Russia

ric grenell speaks into mic
Ric Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence, speaks during a news conference in front of the Clark County Election Department, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 15 July 2021 09:31 AM EDT

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visits Washington, D.C., Thursday for the last time as her country’s leader, watched Germany drift away from the Western Alliance, former Ambassador Richard Grenell said.

Time as ambassador to Germany left him wondering why Berlin did not share the alliance’s view that Russia and China never will share the values and interests of Western Europe, Grenell wrote in a Fox News opinion column Thursday.

"Unfortunately for Germany, it interpreted the end of the Cold War as a permanent moral triumph rather than a strategic victory that required more tending," Grenell wrote.

"And over the decades since, the German government morphed into a Germany-First economic machine that moved away from the West as it sought more money and trade with anyone and everyone."

Grenell mentioned an anecdote about when Merkel, who will leave office in September, visited former President Donald Trump at the White House in 2018.

"I saw how President Trump used humor and facts to present her with the American people’s frustration that Germany refused to pay its NATO obligations while also buying worrying amounts of gas from Russia," Grenell wrote.

"Merkel always struggled to explain why exactly her country had a budget surplus while not meeting their financial commitments to NATO’s defense. She also failed to make clear why exactly Germany was ignoring European concerns that she was feeding the beast of Russia with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline partnership."

Thanks to Trump’s persistent demands for Europe, America’s allies have shown signs of renewal, according to Grenell.

"While less than one-third members of NATO currently meet their agreed-upon 2014 Wales Summit Pledge of two percent defense spending, there has been a $140 billion increase for the Western Alliance defense since 2016," he said.

"But while government bureaucracies, legacy media outlets, self-described Transatlantists and elite universities celebrate the 16 years of Merkel's leadership in Europe, the Alliance has drifted. It needs to be reminded that it is to be a Western Alliance, not just an EU-U.S. Alliance."

According to Grenell, U.S. policy also is to blame for Germany’s evolution.

Grenell said former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama believed it was inevitable that the number of worldwide democracies would increase, "yet they stood by while Germany drifted towards a Swiss style neutrality."

"Despite Russia’s invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, assassinations of political opponents in England and Germany, and its contributions to genocide in Syria, the hope seems to persist in Berlin that deeper cooperation with Moscow and China might moderate their behavior," Grenell said.

Trump sought stronger relationships with newer allies – e..g. India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates – due to the decline of some traditional U.S. allies, and "the decay of the U.N. and other corrupt institutions."

However, Grenell writes, the elite leaders in Washington, Germany, and Brussels push the notion American and global security would benefit more from keeping countries that share U.S. interests in a position of perpetual dependency.

"What these [nonprofit organization] types fail to understand is to bolster the independent political and military power of one’s allies is not to question their value, but the best way to ensure their continued freedom," Grenell said.

"American and European elites alike have difficulty accepting the fact that today China and Russia consider Europe an economic and political playground [to say nothing of a potential dependency], not a significant pole of Western power. Their opportunity lies in the relative disunity of the European Union, and in the fact that it is losing, not gaining, members."

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Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visits Washington, D.C., Thursday for the last time as her country's leader, watched Germany drift away from the Western Alliance, former Ambassador Ric Grenell said...
ric grenell, ambassador, germany, merkel
Thursday, 15 July 2021 09:31 AM
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