During the NATO summit in June, there was a lot friction between the EU and America. President Trump called out the members of the alliance for not providing enough funding to match America’s contributions. President Trump is correct in his assessment that it is time for the U.S. taxpayer to stop shouldering the burden of European security alone. Despite this being correct, the path towards an EU that provides a greater share of security is fraught with peril. One of the most perilous is the warming relationship between Germany and Russia. A German-Russian alliance will undermine American influence in Central Europe and the former Soviet satellite nations.
Nord Stream 2 is perhaps the greatest threat to American influence in the EU. The pipeline project that will connect Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea will be a boon for the Russian economy. Threats from President Trump were not able to stop construction from beginning on August 30th. The Russian gas company Gazprom already supplies 40% of the EU’s natural gas and Nord Stream 2 will only increase that amount. This will make the EU even more dependent on Russia for its energy needs. Nord Stream 2 also serves to bolster German power within the EU, since the pipe itself will end in Germany.
Far from the Baltic, in Syria, the Russian ability to end the civil war stands as an asset to Germany. The migrant crisis in the EU stems in part from the ongoing civil war in Syria. Russia’s continued support of President Al-Assad gives them an inside track on the ability to end the conflict. Discussions between the two nations about returning refugees to Syria have already begun. This change in the official German position is being exacerbated by the recent rioting in German cities stemming from crimes committed by migrants.
This growing relationship between the two nations undermines NATO, which was designed to protect Europe from Russia. Despite what Americans may want from its NATO allies, a resurgent German-Russian alliance would not be good for America or the rest of the EU. The proposed EU military hangs in the balance of a German Russian relationship. Despite the intended purpose of the joint military being to defend against Russia, what will Germany do if its greatest trading partner is the very nation it is designing a military against?
The relationship between Germany and Russia, while still thawing, is an ever present problem in American policy. Pushing too hard for concessions in NATO will bring Russia and Germany together, not pushing hard enough will leave America in a position of paying for most of the security of the European Union alone. Despite this, American must be wary of the relationship developing between Germany and Russia.