Former Vice President Joe Biden’s Cold-War criticisms of both NATO and Germany look as though they could have been scripted by President Donald Trump.
Biden, during a 1987 campaign event, called on NATO member nations — and Germany specifically — to step up and pay their fair share. (RELATED: Sure, Chris Wallace Gave Trump A Tough Interview. But Then He Nuked Biden. Is He Right?)
“Germany, if you are unwilling to reflate your market and take on your responsibility to the rest of the world as a world leader, why are we the only ones that have that responsibility. Why are we the only economic engine? We are clearly the biggest,” Biden began, stressing the importance of NATO but suggesting that other nations — Germany in particular — should share the load.
“We can say to the Germans and our friends in Europe, we’re all in this, NATO is important, we stick with NATO, but I’m not sure if we need 289,000 American troops at a cost of – a total cost of $102 billion if you add everything up,” Biden continued. “Maybe you should do more. Now, if you want to open up your markets, if you’re willing to help alleviate third world debt, if you’ll step in and help Mexico, if you’ll step in and help Nigeria like we are then we can play.”
Biden’s critiques align almost perfectly with President Trump’s assessment of the situation 30 years later.
…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia. They pay only a fraction of their cost. The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2018
The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%, and NATO benefits…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
But as Trump continued to challenge the United States’ NATO allies to step up and take on some of the financial burden, Biden began to argue that the alliance would “fall apart” if the president won his 2020 reelection bid.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 28, 2019
After a hidden camera caught footage of several NATO nations’ leaders mocking Trump, Biden began to advertise using the resulting video.
As Biden traveled through Iowa with his “No Malarkey” bus tour, he insisted that NATO was “not a protection racket.”
Trump announced in July that he would be pulling a number of American troops out of Germany, arguing that as long as Germany was dependent on Russia for energy, the United States should not be paying to defend Germany from Russia.
Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for Energy, and we are supposed to protect Germany from Russia. What’s that all about? Also, Germany is very delinquent in their 2% fee to NATO. We are therefore moving some troops out of Germany!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
Biden’s foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, fired back at Trump during a Thursday appearance on CNN. “This move is foolish, it’s spiteful, and it’s a strategic loser. It weakens NATO, it helps Vladimir Putin, and it harms Germany, our most important ally in Europe,” he said.
Biden foreign policy advisor @ABlinken on President Trump moving U.S. troops out of Germany: “This move is foolish, it’s spiteful, and it’s a strategic loser. It weakens NATO, it helps Vladimir Putin, and it harms Germany, our most important ally in Europe.” pic.twitter.com/Sa88xaglm9
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) July 30, 2020
Biden’s campaign said that the decision to remove troops from Germany would be subject to review in the event that the former vice president wins the presidency in November.