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US Army soldiers. Photo supplied

Trump and Duda pave the way for conflict

This old globe of ours is becoming a more dangerous place. President Donald Trump used the opportunity of Polish President Andrzej Duda's state visit to announce that he would reduce the US troop force in Germany and move a certain percentage of US soldiers to Poland.

Published: June 4, 2020, 11:09 am

    This move, according to the joint statement by Messrs. Trump and Duda, will be accompanied by the transfer of weapons including drones. Readers may know that drones are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

    As a reason for the troop shift, Mr Trump argues that this will happen because, in his opinion, Germany is not fulfilling its responsibilities towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). According to him, Germany’s financial contribution to NATO’s maintenance costs is too low, which places a greater burden on America’s shoulders to ensure Germany’s security against Russia. At the same time, Germany buys natural gas worth billions of euros from Russia. This is Mr. Trump’s reasoning in a nutshell.

    The fact is, however, that Germany is by no means involved in a conflict with Russia, nor is its security threatened by Russia in any way. Surely the Germans would know better than the Americans if they happen to be in danger.

    These peculiar views of Mr. Trump are, of course, a smokescreen for the real reason: Americans want to force Germany to buy US shale-based gas they produce at astronomical cost and sell at a loss. For this reason, the US has recently imposed sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

    For any objective observer, it goes without saying that Germany does not buy the gas from Russia for the sake of Russia or to harm American interests, but simply because they need the gas and that it is in their best interest to buy it where it is economically advantageous for them. Of course, it is also likely that the Americans are trying to prevent the gas supply from strengthening interdependent ties between Germany and Russia.

    It should be added that after the collapse of the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe and therefore also after the end of the Cold War, the role played by NATO is being questioned. For this reason, Russia has also become the best adversary according to NATO, event hough the Warsaw Pact was dissolved.

    However, America has chosen to let NATO survive, which of course incurs enormous costs, costs that they are now trying to recover from other NATO member countries on the pretext that NATO guarantees the “security” of those countries.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry compared the planned relocation of US soldiers to Poland with the 1962 missile crisis when the Soviet Union tried to establish missiles in Cuba, which in no time led to a world war.

    Recently, a huge NATO military exercise in Poland, Georgia and the Baltic states, in which 37 000 soldiers would participate, was put on hold due to the Corona crisis. The US has also been working on a missile base for many years in Eastern Europe to address the so-called Iranian threat. But, as anyone can see from the first glance at a map, Poland is thousands of kilometres away from Iran.

    It is therefore clear that an explosive situation is developing in Central and Eastern Europe. It is also clear that the situation comes as the result of a direct American threat to Russian security interests.

    Karel Combrinck served as a diplomat in various countries, also European, before he retired.

    karelcombrinck@praag.org

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