To be as rude and offensive as possible

The Daily Beast is harsher.

The explosion was almost instantaneous—over breakfast, no less—at the beginning of this year’s NATO summit in Brussels. With cameras switched on, and no question they were recording, Donald Trump told his Atlantic Alliance counterparts that Germany is “totally controlled by Russia.” Berlin buys from Moscow more and more of the natural gas it uses. So, in one of his trademark versions of common sense, which commonly ignores basic history and fundamental facts, he asked why the U.S. should spend a lot of money to defend Germany from Russia if Germany was dependent on Russia for energy. Trump incorrectly inflated Germany’s reliance on Russian energy to convey, yet again, a picture of NATO as a protection racket and the U.S. demanding its envelope of cash be heavier.

What was surprising here to many Europeans was not the issue of Germany’s energy supplies or defense budget, which ought to be discussed, but the way it was raised, quite consciously, to be as rude and offensive as possible to America’s richest and most powerful ally on the continent. This after Trump turned the meeting last month in Canada of the G7 most economically advanced democracies into an acrimonious debacle. (He not only insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel there, he threw a Starburst candy at her.)

Being rude and offensive is his only talent…well, that and being cloyingly sweet and loving to authoritarian shits.

“The mood here is mix of concern, disappointment, anger and disgust,” said retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who until October led the U.S. Army’s European contingent and who attended the NATO summit.

“I expected bad, and I kept telling people to expect bad, but it is still surreal to see,” one current NATO official told The Daily Beast. “Everyone is in disbelief, worried [NATO’s] credibility is shot, bracing for what comes out of the private sessions—this thing is just getting started and we still have to make it through the substantive sessions, which will be long and boring. We definitely know we’re going to have do clean-up; we just don’t know the extent of the damage or whether anyone will take us seriously. And there is still the UK trip and the Helsinki trip, which will color everything here.” (Trump is headed to England and Scotland before his July 16 summit with Vladimir Putin in Finland.)

We’re on a runaway train. Good luck to all of us.

As François Heisbourg, one of the continent’s most respected defense analysts, noted, Trump has been dissing NATO for decades, but now as president his views count. And Heisbourg’s numerous sources tell him that the G7 meeting last month was, behind the scenes, even worse than most headlines made it seem, with Trump talking about the E.U. essentially as a rival rather like China, only weaker. And in private as as well as public likening NATO to Nafta: a bad deal for America.

“Trump has a vision of the world in which everything is bilateral and the United States can monetize its power,” said Heisbourg. “Turning NATO into a protection racket, that is the best fate that he promises us.”

Well in all fairness, two is as high as he can count.

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