This week, US President Donald Trump reaffirmed his intention to further reduce the US military presence in Germany without consulting Berlin. And even when members of the U.S. Congress and America’s allies abroad raised concerns about withdrawal, the Trump administration’s decision pleased the Kremlin and the Russian media.
Already in June, 22 Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee asked Trump not to continue, and said in a letter: “We believe that such steps would significantly damage US national security and strengthen Russia’s position against us. .. The threats posed by Russia have not subsided in Europe, and we believe that signs of weakened US commitment to NATO will further encourage Russian aggression and opportunism. “
German officials have described the move as politically motivated. While Trump claimed that the drawdown was based on Germany not meeting NATO̵
When the intention to reduce the US contingent in Germany was first announced, Russian State Department spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Kremlin “welcomed all steps taken by Washington to reduce its military presence in Europe,” and called for the USA brazenly do so not only home to its troops but also its tactical nuclear weapons.
The Russian state media controlled by the Kremlin also recognized a valuable propaganda opportunity. Sergey Brilyov, anchor of the news program Saturday vesti on the Russian state media channel Rossiya-1wondered if the Trump administration’s controversial move could be seen as evidence that Russia is no longer a military threat to Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov used the same reasoning today when he claimed that Russia was not a threat to European countries and that “the fewer US soldiers there are on the European continent, the calmer it is in Europe.” The Russian envoy in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, speculated that withdrawing part of the US contingent from Germany would not affect the country’s security and that Berlin would probably even “benefit” from this move.
Not surprisingly, Germany doesn’t see it that way. Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, warned on Twitter: “With the withdrawal of 12,000 soldiers from Germany, they reach the USA[s] the exact opposite of what [Defense Secretary] Mark Esper sketched. Instead of strengthening NATO, it will weaken the alliance. The U.S. military clout in Russia and the Middle East will not increase, but will decrease. “
“Trump is still ours.”
The troop withdrawal is only the latest good news for Russia in its relations with the Trump administration.
When news of Russian bounty on the heads of American soldiers came, followed by revelations that Russia and China hacked western coronavirus research, it seemed that the die had been cast and sanctions against the Kremlin were almost inevitable. An expert choir on Russian state television unanimously warned the audience: There will be new sanctions.
So far, however, sanctions for hacking the coronavirus vaccine have only been imposed on China. Other Russian experts and experts predicted that, unlike the Democrats, Trump and the GOP would choose China as America’s main opponent, not Russia. Therefore, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a friendly phone call to Trump instead of a strict reprimand. During their phone call, Trump neither raised the issue of Russian bounty for American forces in Afghanistan, nor warned Putin that Russia had hacked coronavirus vaccine research. Similarly, Trump did not question the Russian president about his country’s continued interference in U.S. elections and internal affairs.
“You are 100 percent our enemies.”
Instead of confronting Putin, Trump knocked out Democratic congressman Jerry Nadler over the domestic anti-fascist group Antifa and partially tweeted: “Jerry, blame Russia, Russia, Russia!” The reluctant punch line confirmed again that the Trump administration would continue to sweep Russian misconduct under the carpet – a signal that was enthusiastically received in Moscow. “Trump is still ours,” concluded Russian international affairs expert Alexey Naumov. “Phew,” breathed the moderator of a state media talk show theatrically 60 minutes, Olga Skabeeva.
“Trump belongs to us” is a familiar chorus in the Russian state media. It has two goals: to mock the investigation into the Kremlin’s involvement in the US elections while emphasizing the inexplicable influence Putin appears to have over his American counterpart. It’s hardly humorous given Trump’s actions to consistently benefit Russia’s agenda on the world stage. During the 2018 Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki, the Russian president openly admitted that he wanted Trump to win the election. Russian experts, experts and the Kremlin’s megaphones repeatedly repeat that Trump is still the preferred figure in the upcoming presidential competition – as a “chaos candidate” that divides domestic Americans and causes international divisions within transatlantic alliances.
The weakening of the enemy is certainly a sought-after opportunity for Russia – and there is no doubt that the Kremlin views the United States as such. Discussion of the United States on Russia’s state television program 60 minutes Last week Alexei Kondratiev, member of the Federation Council on the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Federation, said: “You are 100 percent our enemies.” During the same show, expert Alexey Naumov claimed that the world is experiencing the United States “in its agonies” as America’s size and global reputation decline sharply. “America is dying,” announced host Olga Skabeeva.
Margarita Simonyan, director of the state-funded television station RT, formerly known as Russia todaywas similarly blunt in her assessment. she said Komsomolskaya Pravda– a daily Russian tabloid – that the full dissolution of America would be of great benefit to Russia. Simonyan speculated that internal chaos would force the United States to focus on its own survival so that Russia and other countries can pursue their global goals unhindered: “To leave us alone, they must be terribly busy with their own internal problems. “This perception is consistent with the recent revelations that Russian intelligence agencies use English-language websites to spread disinformation – no doubt just a tiny snowflake at the top of Russia’s anti-western disinformation iceberg. Ahead of the US presidential election, efforts are intensifying to count.
As for NATO’s weakening, Trump is essentially fulfilling Putin’s wishes by ordering the U.S. forces to withdraw from Germany. The Kremlin will surely take advantage of the fault lines in transatlantic relations between Western allies and enlarge the cracks at every opportunity, supported by the divisive actions of the unlikely comrade of the Kremlin in the White House.