Here in the center of Western Europe one can tune in Germany’s national public broadcasting networks any day of the week and hear scornful diatribes against Trump, outrage over his withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, shock and anger regarding his threats against our German automobile industry in his incipient trade war, calls for more EU independence and self-sufficiency.
Every Washington Post CIA-funded-Big-Breaking-News-Report about Mueller’s latest move to impeach and bring down the Orange Menace is always the top headline here: “The Washington Post reports that … “ … no mention of Jeff Bezos and his relationship to the CIA. If the Post says Trump is on shaky ground and cruisin’ for a bruisin’, Europe gets excited. They wanted Hillary here, badly.
Europeans knew Hillary. They trusted Hillary. They associated her with that good-looking, smooth-talking young President Barack Obama. Sure, he blew it with the NSA stuff, but nobody cares about that anymore, either here or in the USA. All forgotten. Obama talked a good game on Europe. Polite young man. Went to Harvard.
I want to tell you that there was some serious panicking and freaking out going on here in Europe the morning after election day 2016. Europeans don’t often run around shrieking their fears in public, a cool façade is the preferred mode here, but they did that day, and for many weeks afterward.
They had just spent more than a year sneering and raising their eyebrows and scoffing at the ludicrous orange-cartoon-figure-come-to life, both physically and in print. They had reassured each other and the public in endless columns and debates and editorials that he didn’t have a chance to (first) win the nomination and (then later) to become President. They were already doing a major freak over Brexit. Trump winning was just too much. The sky was falling.
And he has not disappointed them in putting into effect the catalogue of horrors they had anticipated. Pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords. Refused to pay even lip service to gun control (lip service goes a long way here in the EU, actual progress is less important). Continued to flaunt that ridiculous comb-over that looks as though it’s deliberately designed to show his contempt for fashion and good taste. Threatened to pull out of the nuclear treaty with Iran, which is very popular here – and practically the only way in which the EU has ever been willing to go against Israel, otherwise we are World Champion Israel-Ass-Kissers here. Trump ranted against Muslims and foreigners, defended white racists (here we mostly just pretend they don’t exist, although they carried out 1,000 attacks on Muslims last year in Germany alone), created new legal hurdles to immigration. Of course, the EU does all of that last bit with immigrants too, except for the ranting part. One does these things quietly, don’t you see, while simultaneously claiming to care about refugees and wanting to help them.
No-sirree, the new man in the White House is near the bottom on the European Hit Parade of Favorite Americans. What is the dang DEAL with these Americans, how could they elect such a monstrous ambulatory joke. Time to stand up and get independent and show the world that Europe will not sit still for just any old nonsense, most of us highly-progressive and politically conscious Euros agree about that.
Therefore one might think the EU would be ready to go cold turkey from that highly addictive CIA-Neocon Brand Evil Russia Kool-Aid … right?
Well, uh … on the other hand … I mean … now let’s not get TOO carried away with this independence business.
As a matter of fact, all of these American military bases here in Europe, specifically all of these NATO nuclear weapons here in our allegedly once-again-sovereign Germany (a sovereignty which is often called into question by smartasses peddling conspiracy theories, who assert Germany is still controlled by the USA), make some of us feel a whole lot safer from the wicked Lord Sauron aka/ Vlad the Impaler just a few hundred kilometers to the east.
While the government has agreed in principle to gradually increase German military expenditures to 2% of the gross domestic product – thereby almost doubling military spending – in the coming years, mostly under pressure from the USA, it doesn’t want to get nailed down too firmly to that unofficial commitment. There are other things it would rather use that money for. And as long as the USA maintains its military outposts and missile installations in Europe, EU countries feel as if there’s no big rush.
There is also the fact to consider that NATO already outspends Russia on military matters by 900 billion dollars per year to 60 billion dollars per year. But that imbalance rarely comes into the “aggressive Russia” debate, any more than does the fact that Russia (and China too for that matter) is encircled by US military bases. A real extremist who did not understand Russia’s evil nature might go so far as to say that NO ONE needs to increase military spending, and that if anyone is a threat, it is NATO, in particular its leading nation which has already laid to waste much of the Middle East and overthrown numerous governments around the world – often installing nasty and brutal authoritarian rulers as puppets to do its bidding.
But we Europeans never mention such nuances in our advocacy of a Weltanschauung (“way of looking at the world”) which has to be kept very black and white, good versus evil, if the empire is to function properly. And if we want to keep the USA in Europe, in charge of the nuclear arsenal and continuing to give EU nations the luxury of not having to put any of this to the test, then there must be some terrifying menace to justify having those troops and atomic weapons here. We are very nervous about Trump’s threats to force Europe to stand up on its own, but we fervently hope that in a few years he will disappear and our good old Democrats or more moderate Republicans – yes of course they still exist, they must -- will return to pamper us.
No, for us here in Europe it’s not the USA that is the problem, it’s Trump. As psychotic and bizarre as America is, with its mass shootings and its primitive death penalty, its shocking refusal to enact a reasonable national healthcare program, its police killings of unarmed blacks, its warmongering and overthrowing of foreign governments, its drone massacres of wedding parties, drone massacres and assassinations which we generously allow to be controlled from here on German soil -- we would have happily continued to overlook all of that if the USA had only elected another head of state who pretended to care about those things, or at least put a noble and urbane mask on them. Someone like Obama, like Hillary. The way we here in the EU pretend to have noble values while deporting helpless refugees into war zones, turning them back over to Libyan torturers and slave traders, etc., intoning solemn avowals of “European Democratic Values” all the while. Presidents like Obama, or like Hillary would have been, make it so very much easier to get away with our pretense of innocence. It’s embarrassing having Trump as an ally. It’s painful and frightening too.
It’s like being possessed by a demon.