Politics

Before Judging Trump, NATO Allies Should Do Some Soul-Searching

Trump America tax PresidentPresident Donald Trump has no doubt caused a stir in Europe this week.

Among other things, he has said Germany is a “captive” to Russia due to its recent oil and gas deals, and that he expects NATO countries to “immediately” increase defense spending to relieve some of the unfair burden on the U.S.

I get why some European allies and American NATO supporters are worried about the rhetoric. But when they panic over whether “Trump can be trusted,” have they ever asked whether they themselves have earned the trust of Trump and the American people?

After all, how many times have Europeans broken the promise to increase defense spending? The reality is, most NATO allies are free riders on American defense. And in spite of that, some NATO countries (like Germany) harbor deep anti-American attitudes, not just anti-Trump attitudes.

And for all the angst over Trump’s statements about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which makes Germany more dependent on Russian natural gas, Trump’s criticism is valid. Germany and some European allies do try to play the Russia card both ways.

Not only does Germany benefit economically from Russian energy deals, it and other Europeans didn’t panic when President Barack Obama began appeasing the Russians. To the contrary, there was a time when Germany was reluctant to impose sanctions on Russia.

Germany seems completely blind to the political double standard, which frankly raises an obvious question: Might not all this outrage be posturing for domestic consumption?

The two greatest failures of European leaders in recent years has been (1) the failure to build a domestic political constituency for more defense spending, and (2) the occasional stoking of anti-Americanism not only to resist spending more on defense, but to boost the political fortunes of European leaders at home.

It’s no accident that anti-Americanism exists on the far right and far left in Germany and France. That age-old political disease is extremely convenient and increasingly part of these countries’ national identities. It is instinctive and emotional and now part of their political cultures.

It also helps explain, notwithstanding Trump’s unconventional rhetoric, why he is so deeply unpopular in Europe. We should never forget that President George W. Bush, who everyone agrees was a perfect gentleman, careful with his words and a moderate Republican to boot, was equally hated in Europe during his time as president.

Instead of trying to see the full picture of what the U.S. is trying to achieve—a stronger NATO with more forces, endorsement of NATO statements on Crimea, and increasing defense spending—these European critics are fanning the flames and making the divide between America and Europe even worse.

So forgive me for being skeptical of their outrage. It would be more believable if they were not so one-sided in their assessments of U.S. policy, if they were more interested in preserving NATO’s unity than bashing Trump. They frankly appear to be self-serving, using their supposed outrage over Trump as an excuse to shirk their promised commitments.

 

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Kim Holmes

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Bill

We should not put our military personnel in harms way to defend countries that do not develop their own defense and personnel to defend themselves. Too many countries take advantage of us by relying on us to be their first line of defense.

Frosty33

I would think that if they did not live up to their commitment, they should be dropped from the NATO

Ted

The easiest solution that both gets their attention and helps our national security is to cut our contribution to 2 1/2 to 3 % and put the savings toward building our southern border wall

Ron Fournier

Why not just pay our 2% and sit back and watch the other countries scramble to point fingers at each other. Of course, there will be those whom say we are defaulting because we (the USA) has always paid more so we are at fault. Do we really care what “they” say?

Paul Bubarf

President Trump is EXACTLY correct. Though we cannot abandon countries who do not “pony-up” he can continue the pressure on them. I am an 86 year old international executive from a religious non-profit (missionary organization) and live on a greatly limited budget. Can contribute rarely…but DO influence many people. Trump is a God-Send to America.

Wayne Peterkin

I did not vote in this latest poll because some questions cannot have such simplistic answers. If a NATO member refuses to live up to their responsibility within the alliance, they should be kicked out of the alliance. But even for non-member states, should Russia invade them would all of Europe and the west just stand by and do nothing, allowing the expansion and inviting the next world war? Example, would the world stand by and allow Russia to annex Turkey as it did Crimea even were Turkey kicked out of NATO? Somehow I doubt it nor should they.

Dennis

I think President Trump is right about the German deal for Russian gas. I worked in Kazakhstan eight years for a US oil major. It was common for Putin to turn off the gas supply to Europe that flows from Russia through Ukraine. President Trump is trying to open markets in Europe for US shale gas shipped as LNG to compete with Russian gas. This would increase NATO energy security.

The “democratic socialist” countries of Europe have vast socialist welfare programs. Diverting their budgets to defense spending isn’t politically popular to avoid worker strikes. Our redevelopment of Europe post WWII and carrying NATO (and the UN) has allowed this to happen. President Trump is doing very good to publically shame these government leaders. To get increased defense spending in US this year ended up having to give the Democrats a lot of socialist welfare spending.

Carolyn Goodin

We should charge these countries for the “Use” of our military forces in their countries. If they won’t contribute their fair share to NATO, then they should pay the US for their protection. See how they react to THAT! They will probably balk but then again we will give them a choice. Pay one way or the other. Just pay! The free ride is over. Our Debt is too big for us to keep borrowing money to protect NATO countries. Can’t they see that?

Jim Scofield

If the Germans and the French don’t like the straight talk and requests
to pay their Fair Share for their Defence then they can Pay for their own
Defence. We can pull All American Troops and equipment out of their
countries and tell them they are on their own and with the French’s past
History of surrender They will become a total Muslim nation inside of a
year. And Germany is on that track as well.

Tammy

Just wanted to say that I really am thankful for you newsletter. Keep up the good work

Marilyn Griffin

The USA has been footing the majority of the bill for the defense of these nations since WW2, basically fighting their wars for them while they use their money on the needs of their nation and the USA racks up an insane debt. Yes, it is past time we end this. Let them take care of themselves for a change. Countries all over the world have become dependent on America’s extensive help, yet despise us for it. They each look out for their own interests, but our nation stopped doing that long ago. Eventually, she the USA collapses and fails, none of them will be there to help us. Even today, when they all know America is in trouble, they all still have their hands out for more from us. They never seem to give a thought to their plight when America is gone. I wonder do they even care.

William Cunningham

We must never forget the spectacle from the early 19th century of Cossacks in Paris. Putin is Tsar in every way but crown, title and robes.

C William Sheehan

I took the poll just after I went to the Amac site. I said we should defend the NATO countries even if they do not pay “their fair share”. Now after reading this article, I should have voted NO. From now on, I will read the articles first before giving my opinion. Lesson learned.

Bob R.

To Bill. And they are usually the first countries to criticize us as warmongers.

Janet LaFave

This is a very well written, informative article! Thank you for giving us clairity on this extremely important subject matter. When certain facts Are made known through writters such as yourself, it’s like light piercing the darkness! Thank You! Please, keep up the good work.

Kim Savino

Our brilliant President Donald J Trump knows exactly what he is doing. Everyone needs to just calm down snd wait and see before opening big mouths with nasty remarks snd SUPPORT PRESIDENT TRUMP !!!

Diane Schilling

We have consistently given away America’s wealth and manpower since the early 50’s. The State Dept has spent without responsibility along with every Senator, Representative, President that wanted to build a world encompassing legacy. It is time to stop!! Many of the governments we support couldn’t survive without our money, and most of them don’t deserve help. Let’s move our soldiers and equipment to those countries that are paying their fair share. We will see how they manage an economy without us. We have supported globalism and socialism too long. Those so-called utopia’s should stand or fail without us!!

Gary

I support President Trump with everything he does because he has America’s best interest in mind. Even in this latest thing with Putin, he’s doing the best he can for America’s future generations. It’s very sad he is forced to make restatements. One thing is abundantly clear. Trump is human and all humans make mistakes. He cannot walk on water. Obama led the leftist liberals to believe that he could. Lies and deceptions are the tools of satin.

Cora

AMEN! Well thought out and I agree wholeheartedly!

Cindy Sue

My problem with these NATO countries is that as long as the US Pays to rebuild any thing they lose in war they are fine with that . Then if we expect any kind of help or commitment from them we are considered a bully, I don’t get that at all!!!