If you paid attention to President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe in toto — as opposed to tuning out until it was time for the Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin, then having a full-on spleen-venting session — you probably took notice of the fact that Trump was being pretty tough on the Russians when it came to energy, particularly when it involved NATO.
In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow hammered that point home, emphasizing trade with the European Union — with the subtext that Moscow was going to be cornered by new regulations.
Kudlow was appearing, of course, to talk about Wednesday’s White House meeting between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, which ended with the EU tentatively agreeing to buy more U.S. goods and both sides agreeing to back away from tariffs.
“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” the president said, adding that his administration would work with the EU to reduce “bureaucratic obstacles.”
“We had a big day, very big,” Trump added. “We set out to launch a new phase of close friendship between the United States and the European Union, strong trade relationships where both of us will win.”
On “Face the Nation,” Kudlow emphasized strong economic growth — 4.1 percent in the last quarter, according to Friday’s Commerce Department report — but also slipped in the fact that the EU would also be buying energy from the United States.
“The heart of this report as I said: consumer spending, business investment are on a tear,” Kudlow said.
When Margaret Brennan brought up deregulation, he added, “And the deregulation, thank you. And the energy. And by the way the president’s attitude — the war against businesses is over, the war against success is over, the war against energy is over.”
As for the possibility of trade wars, Kudlow said that while good progress was being made on other fronts, “the biggest one was the European Union.”
“We will have an actual transaction, guaranteed. Starting out right away with soybeans, beef and liquid natural gas, LNG, which is a huge topic,” Kudlow said.
“Huge topic” doesn’t begin to cover it. By winning European customers for U.S. energy, Trump isn’t just helping his own country, he’s taking away energy dollars from Russia.
As stated previously, the president spent much of his time in Europe lamenting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. That’s the $11 billion gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea which makes Germany, supposedly the linchpin of NATO force and deterrence in Europe, even more dependent on Russian energy.
“We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said in Brussels during a NATO summit, according to Reuters.
“We’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.
“So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia and you pay billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate,” he continued. “Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas. You tell me, is that appropriate?”
It’s a move that demonstrates just how empty the Democrats’ “Russia collusion” story really is. For a president who is supposed to be protecting Vladimir Putin’s Russia (at least if you read the mainstream media headlines), Trump certainly seems to care a great deal about whether or not our allies can be brought to their knees by Moscow turning off the spigot.
Now, if this deal is any indication, his administration is going to do something about it.
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