No other country has been so deeply in denial about the tension between its high-minded normative convictions and its own selective compliance with them. Germany today is - for all its wealth and power, including soft power - also increasingly lonely, overwhelmed and beset by internal rifts.
In contrast to Merkel’s visionary outward-looking speech [at the Munich Security Conference] that triggered warm applause, Mr. Pence delivered a stilted defense of Trump’s achievements to a skeptical audience.
[On Donald Trump's comments on Nord Stream 2 at the UN General Assembly in September 2018] While Germany’s intake of fuel delivered by ship in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is on the rise, what really matters is diversity and flexibility of supply. What he is saying is completely wrong.
Germany now finds itself in the worst security dilemma since it rejoined the West in the 1950s by becoming a member of NATO and the EU. Its hoped-for strategic partners, Russia and China, are increasingly aggressive players in Europe. Within the EU, populists and authoritarians are challenging the liberal, postwar consensus. Even countries that share that ideal, such as France, Spain and the Baltic states, disagree about the future of the European project. America’s elites stand firm in defense of U.S. security guarantees for Europe — but their president misses no opportunity to side with autocrats and show contempt for a rules-based order.
[Trump] didn't say one word about Ukraine and he had to be briefed on this stuff. The only person to say that the United States says the annexation of Crimea wasn't legal and disagrees with Russia was the president of Russia. The overall contrast [with Trump's criticisms of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the EU earlier in the trip] coupled with Trump's inability to say Russia had done anything to contribute to the downturn of US-Russia relations, either way it's scary. Either he forgot there's a problem or he wasn't willing. He would have had no problem listing his grievances against Germany, but against Putin, he's not capable of saying anything.