Trump recouping Nato chips for poker game with Xi Jinping

your say July 13, 2018 01:00

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President Donald Trump lambasted Germany as a Russian captive during Wednesday’s Nato summit. He bluntly ridiculed Germany’s plan to buy gas from Russia via a new German-Russian pipeline. He reminded Nato countries that they are under his protection and demanded that they pay their share of the “protection” fee immediately.

Why is Trump so exasperated?

By trying to strike Iran out of the world oil supply chain by pulling out from the Iran denuclearisation deal, Trump expected to export more US crude oil to Europe. But Germany is instead buying more from Russia, another country that the US is penalising with sanctions.

And while Trump is trying to paralyse China’s economic growth by threatening to impose a second round of heavy tariffs worth US$200 billion on Chinese goods, Chancellor Angela Merkel has proclaimed the importance of free trade by visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang last week in Germany.

Moreover, to escalate his battle with China, which is not budging despite the tariff threat, Trump needs to put a lot of chips on the table, having already noted that President Xi Jinping is one of the best “poker players” around.

Unfortunately the American government is deeply in debt. With a Treasury debt of $15 trillion, government income reduced by Trump’s tax cuts, and sky-high military spending, where can the businessman-turned-president find the necessary funding?

Naturally, Trump needs to save all his bucks, including Nato protection fees, to put his last bet on the table before showing his hand against President Xi.

Yingwai Suchaovanich

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