There has been a lot of anxiety in some quarters over President Trump’s attitude to both the EU and NATO. He’s termed the EU as a “foe” in regards to their, in Trump’s opinion, trade practices. In the same breath he also termed China a foe. I don’t particularly disagree with him on that. The EU is nothing more than an excuse for rapacious bureaucrats to grab power via their ability to generate regulations. There is some truth in Trump’s critique of NATO. While there is no doubt that NATO is possibly the most successful alliance in world history–it faced down a nuclear armed USSR over the space of four decades and prevailed without firing a shot–it has been recognized since the mid-90s that the current NATO may have outlived its usefulness.
Today the Los Angeles Times had a story that tried to criticize Trump but, in reality, made his point if in a backhanded way: Trump’s attacks weaken transatlantic security relationship, but Europe has few alternatives.
Deeply alarmed at President Trump’s attacks on NATO and the transatlantic relationship, European governments are rethinking their reliance on the United States as a strategic ally against Russia, but they are unlikely to make regional security arrangements independent of Washington.
Trump has forced the reassessment in recent days by calling the European Union a “foe,” expressing reservations about defending other NATO members, and blasting Germany and other allies — comments he said were aimed at strengthening the U.S.-European alliance but that raised concerns across the continent.
But European allies bewildered by Trump’s seeming hostility for NATO must confront a sobering reality: They have few good alternatives for protecting themselves against Russia or other potential adversaries.
This isn’t true, they have a very good alternative. They could all start spending 4% of their GDP on defense. They could de-unioinize their militaries. They could focus on actually training. Instead of playing bullsh** games and counting bridge and road and rail construction and maintenance as their NATO contribution, they could actually recruit and equip and train a military. The fact is that Europe chooses not to do these things because that would require something called “work.”
The whole article seems like more of an attack on Trump by the Euro-weenie mafia. On the one hand we have:
“We can no longer fully rely on the White House,” Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, said Monday, a position echoed by other senior European officials and diplomats. “The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe.”
Trump signed an agreement at the July 12 NATO summit in Brussels, for example, that again condemned Russia’s seizure of Crimea and reiterated the alliance’s bedrock mutual defense provision, which says an “attack against one Ally will be regarded as an attack against us all.”
And despite widespread concerns in NATO that Trump would start to remove American troops, he has continued to send regular rotations of U.S. troops to Central Europe, where NATO is reinforcing its defenses.
The article pooh-poohs Trump’s concern that NATO might make smaller states overly aggressive in their dealing with Russia and precipitate a crisis.
Trump’s scenario under which the U.S. could be dragged involuntarily into a European war with Russia is far-fetched, not least because Montenegro is smaller than Connecticut and has fewer people than Washington, D.C.
No one thought Serbia could drag the world into war until July 28, 1914.
I think that NATO is a good thing in this current era of Russian meddling and aggression. Russia knows how pathetically weak it is militarily and is extremely unlikely to directly challenge a NATO which includes the US. Furthermore, Trump’s rhetoric aside, there is virtually zero chance that a Russian military operation would be acquiesced to by the US. Trump’s cabinet would not tolerate it, the Congress wouldn’t tolerate it and I don’t believe the American people would tolerate it either. This goes back to the bleating by various Euros and their bootlicks being nothing more than fodder for the left and NeverTrump.
When one looks at the condition of European armies–no I don’t care about their contribution of forces to Afghanistan– and their unwillingness to contribute to their own security one can’t but conclude that we have become mercenaries hired to defend Europe against a purely European threat…but the kind of mercenary that has to arm and equip and supply himself with no real help from the people being defended. That has to stop.
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