DANIEL VAUGHAN: Donald Trump predicted current European energy crisis in 2018

Four years ago, then-President Donald Trump attended meetings at the United Nations General Assembly and gave a keynote speech. In a wide-ranging speech, Trump touched briefly on a topic that’s making headlines today: Germany and the energy crisis enveloping the European continent. What got covered as a joke then makes Trump look like a prophet.

Trump at the UN.

In 2018, Trump talked at length about oil prices and energy. “OPEC and OPEC nations, are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.”

Naming OPEC is an obvious point. But naming “OPEC nations” meant he was including countries like Russia. Trump continued, “We want them to stop raising prices, we want them to start lowering prices, and they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it — these horrible prices — much longer.”

Then came the kicker: “Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states, such as Poland, for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.”

Germany laughs.

Putting Germany on blast was the line that made waves in this section of the speech. The Washington Post led with the headline, “Trump accused Germany of becoming ‘totally dependent’ on Russian energy at the U.N. The Germans just smirked.”

The Post went even further, writing up an entire story about how Europeans were effectively “combating” the “lies” of Trump during the speech. Their primary weapon? Laughter. The headline: “World leaders stumble upon a potent response to Trump’s claims: Laughter.”

The Washington Post wasn’t alone. The New York Times granted that the Germans imported Russian oil but declined to call Germany “captive” to Russia. CNBC dutifully ran out and said that Trump was exaggerating the problem.

Trump was right.

Of course, Trump was right on every point. Germany and Europe are captive to Russia. That point has been made abundantly clear through the war in Ukraine, where Russia has pushed Germany and Europe into recession over their reliance on Russian oil.

In 2018, the Germans smirked, and Europeans laughed at Trump. Four years later, Foreign Policy Magazine published a piece this past week titled: “You Have No Idea How Bad Europe’s Energy Crisis Is: Natural gas prices are 10 times the usual—upending industries, angering consumers, and panicking politicians.”

Yahoo Finance reported, “A perfect storm is brewing in Europe’s energy market — and Germany is right in its path. German baseload year-ahead power prices, the European benchmark, are up almost 500% from a year ago, Bloomberg data shows, as costs have climbed for nearly a week straight. At the crux of the price jump is the surge in natural gas prices, which have spiraled higher as Russia has kept exports to Europe extremely minimal. The country’s top regulator already warned that Germany must dramatically pull back its gas usage to avoid a shortage this winter.”

European energy crisis arrives.

Germany’s Finance Minister is warning that inflation is headed towards 70-year highs. It’s not just the price of oil driving things up. Germany is facing shortages in every category that could replace oil. There are shortages of things like coal, even while Germany continues to shut down nuclear power plants.

The situation is so bad that German citizens are stockpiling wood to warm their houses this winter. Searches across Google and other search platforms spiked to all-time highs over the summer as people sought alternatives to heat and power their homes. And if heating their home isn’t the reason, avoiding massive price spikes for electricity is the reason for switching to coal and wood.

Four years ago, German leadership smirked at an American President, telling them they needed to end their dependence on Russian oil. American liberals and their press enablers laughed right along. Now Europe is in the middle of an entirely avoidable energy crisis.

Lessons to be learned.

People shouldn’t have to heat their homes with wood to survive. But their leaders had nothing but laughter and smirked when someone like Donald Trump pointed out the idiocy of leaving yourself dependent and beholden to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Sometimes, it takes a long time for us to get the fall that pride creates. This collapse took less than four years to realize.

Germany and Europe need to build towards energy independence. That means ignoring the child activists who know nothing of the world and paying attention to reality. Because it turns out Donald Trump knows more about European energy independence than anyone else in the Europe delegations that day.

There’s a lesson for America in this story too. Our economic power and energy independence cannot get taken for granted. We want to be above the ploys of countries like Russia, China, and Iran. America should never be captive in the same way Europeans have become. 

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