Why is the American government untrusting of Merkel and the German government? One main reason is that Germans have been close to Russians. Another is that Merkel has never been close to Washington. If the Germans want to truly spook Americans, just ask them to leave their country -- pull out the U.S. military. According to the U.S. Embassy:
“Current U.S. Military Expenditures in Germany
Direct Infusion of U.S. Military Funds into the German Economy.
• The estimated direct U.S. military economic impact on the local economy in Germany
was $5 billion during FY 2007 -- $2.9 billion spent by the U.S. European Command
and U.S. Army (EUCOM/Army), and another $2.1 billion by the U.S. Air Force,
Europe (USAFE). This figure represents payments (made in Euros) for utilities,
supplies, equipment, contracts, engineer projects, and local national salaries.
• As of May 2008, the Army Air Force Exchange Service employed 2,769 German
nationals, the U.S. Army employed 10,677, and the U.S. Air Force 3,015.
• The EUCOM/Army direct expenditure figure of $2.9 billion includes $156 million in
living quarters and cost of living allowances paid to U.S. civilian employees. These
figures are reported in dollars, but allowances are converted to Euros and used to pay
for living expenses in the local economy.
• Telephone support to US Army units in Germany accounts for an additional $12
• During FY 2007, USAFE's total economic impact on the German economy was $2.1
billion, with $1.2 billion accounted for by Ramstein airbase alone. Another $505.3
million was spent in connection with Spangdahlem airbase, and the remaining $357.5
million in connection with USAFE facilities and activities elsewhere in Germany.
USAFE employed 819 German nationals at Ramstein airbase and 833 at Spangdahlem.
Indirect Infusion of U.S. Military Funds into the German Economy
• The $5 billion direct economic impact figure does not include salary payments, made in
dollars, to U.S. military and civilian personnel stationed in Germany, who spend
varying amounts of those salaries in the German economy. However, factoring in a
conservative local spending estimate of less than 20 percent of those salaries (for
expenses like daily transportation, communication, services, leisure travel, and
entertainment in Germany) would add an additional $872 million to the total U.S.
military expenditures in Germany.”
Is that a drop in the bucket?
Such a profound presence underscores U.S. exposure in Germany. Germany is an ally, but if the government and its leaders afford too close of a relationship with Russia, one that is energy dependent, that may rub American military the wrong way.
Of course there is arms trade that is a two-way street. Military sales constitutes a major positive source and force for balance of trade and American GDP. We are linked at the economic hip by this type of relationship.
“U.S. Foreign Military Sales to Germany
• Germany has procured, and continues to support, many of its most important
armaments systems through FMS cases totaling nearly $200 million annually.
• Other areas of defense cooperation include armaments research, development and
production; testing and evaluation programs; defense industrial cooperation;
cooperative logistics; direct commercial sales; and the international transfer of defense
articles from various sources.
U.S. Military Purchases of German-Manufactured Equipment
• The German Ministry of Economics and Technology provides data to the Bundestag
each year indicating that since 2001, the U.S. has been Germany’s largest importer of
defense equipment, with annual U.S. military purchases of German-made items
exceeding $100 million.
• A noteworthy example of German defense industry success in America is the U.S.
Army’s June 2006 award of a $3 billion contract to Eurocopter to replace all UH-1s and
OH-58s with at least 322 EC-145 (UH-72 Lakota) helicopters between 2006 and 2015.
Eurocopter was selected over U.S. competitors Bell-Textron and Team MD (MD
Helicopters of Mesa, AZ in partnership with Lockheed-Martin), and the British-Italian
consortium Augusta Westland. The Army’s UH-72 Lakotas are assembled by 330
employees in a newly-constructed 325,000 square foot facility in Columbus, MS.”
Because NATO depends upon the U.S., Americans must be based strategically in Europe. The number of optional locations for American strategic presence has actually grown with the NATO expansion. If one ally cools off, maybe another would enjoy American military-economic presence?
It seems as Merkel suggests, there is too much public media disclosure on the subject. It would be best for allies to not expose their weaknesses at a time when intense focus should be on combatting terrorism. Putin’s takeover in Crimea and aggressive actions toward the Ukraine may have touched a panic button. It is time to warm friendly relations. Trust but verify applies among everyone, it seems.
Russia operating in South America doesn't make Americans feel any better than Americans operating in the Ukraine.
“Merkel doubts whether US will stop spying on Germany
Chancellor: 'We are not living in the Cold War anymore''”
“Putin and Argentine Leader Agree on Nuclear Power Project
By JONATHAN GILBERTJULY 12, 2014
BUENOS AIRES — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russiaand his Argentine counterpart signed deals on nuclear energy and other projects on Saturday in an effort to expand his country’s influence in Latin America.
Russia will help build the third reactor of a nuclear power plant in Argentina, Mr. Putin said after meeting with the Argentine president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, here on Saturday.
Both leaders said the nuclear projects would be for peaceful purposes.”