Since Schroder dissipated into the Russian bureaucracy, Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a harder line on Russia—at least in rhetoric. Moreover, Germany’s support of the sanctions on Russia following the annexation of Crimea in 2014 has been instrumental in standing up to Putin’s revanchist policies. But, as Trump pointed out yesterday, Germany is playing both sides. At the NATO Bucharest Summit in 2008, Chancellor Merkel decisively blocked the Membership Action Plan for Georgia, the largest per-capita contributor of troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
In doing so, Germany undermined the strategic decision of the U.S. to expand NATO in Eastern Europe—despite the fact that, as President Trump correctly asserted, U.S. contributions to NATO are higher than Germany’s by an order of magnitude. Moreover, I believe Germany’s refusal to offer a NATO Membership Action Plan to Georgia emboldened Russia to invade my country in August 2008.
After the invasion — and the occupation of my country by Russia, which persists to this day — Germany was instrumental in creating the EU-backed Tagliavini Commission, which somehow divided blame for the war between Georgia and Russia — and offered a pretext for the West to re-engage with Russia economically and diplomatically.