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Letters to the Editor: Of Trump and NATO

To the Editor:

All Americans should be angry and  embarrassed by the level of arrogance and ignorance displayed by Trump’s boorish act of publicly lecturing NATO’s leaders by repeating ad nauseam his inability to understand Germany’s paying for Russian gas while expecting America to press Russia about NATO’s concerns with Russian actions in Afghanistan Crimea, Syria, Ukraine, etc. as well as blatant Russian interference in American and European elections – all matters of vital concern to America, not just to Europe.

Surely, even a simpleton like Trump would have been embarrassed if the NATO Secretary had gotten down to Trump’s level of “off the top of his head” diplomacy by simply pointing out that Trump grossly exaggerated the strategic importance of the Russian gas deal [it supplies 9 percent of Germany’s energy needs, not 60 percent to 70 percent as claimed by Trump] and showing Trump how “The Art Of The Deal” applies to Germany buying gas. Germany gets more from buying the gas than Russia gets from selling it. Both nations win, of course, but Germany wins more – assuming that the relative performance of the two economies counts for anything [Germany’s energy-driven economic performance surpasses Russia’s by virtually every known economic measurement].

We know Trump doesn’t read or listen well but couldn’t he have first expressed privately his fundamental ignorance to the people who are supposed to prep him for these meetings? Why didn’t he tell his advisers of his confusion about Germany sending billions to Russia? They could have helped him get his facts straight and understand German-Russian energy economics in the context of NATO’s mission and, hopefully, save him and us the embarrassment of the display of ignorance he put on at the NATO breakfast. Sadly, Trump is living proof of the direct relationship between arrogance and ignorance.

Bill Howard

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