Well, the Dotard is in Belgium after spending two days bashing NATO and the European Union. He thinks that other NATO nations aren't paying their fair share for defense, though the United States' spending on military matters is completely out of whack. He's also whining about the US trade deficit vis-a-vis the EU, but here's where I note that Americans want European wines, cheeses, and olive oils while nobody in Europe is itching to get some Velveeta... there are reasons for this trade deficit, and they don't involve Continental chicanery.
This insistence that our NATO allies are cheating us reflects the Dotard's mindset- he looks at NATO as if it were a classic Mafia style protection racket, and is trying to shake down the other signatories to the treaty that formed the organization. It's a case of 'Nice country you've got there, Estonia... be a shame if something happened.' Weakening NATO will only strengthen Russia's position on the world stage, and Western defense experts are gaming out possible Russian moves to destabilize the Alliance further. With Dotard planning to meet with Putin after his visits to Belgium and the UK, it seems more likely to me that he is actively working on behalf of Putin rather than merely taking Russian money and looking the other way... I suppose that would make him less of a dotard and more of a mole.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
It's an Alliance, Not a Protection Racket
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard at 3:35 PM
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What bothers me most is Trump's going in alone, without note takers or any other officials. "I'll give you NATO, Syria, and Crimea if you'll cancel my debt and let me build a hotel in Moscow. Deal?"
1.) The deadline for European nations to spend 2% of GDP on defense is 2024 - no one is out of compliance until then.
2.) No one is 'in arrears'. Nations contribute to the NATO operating budget - about $1.5 billion per year - and that money counts toward there 2% target spending goal. No one owes the US anything.
3.) In an odd sense, Trump is right, but then, unsurprisingly, draws the wrong conclusion. NATO is a dead letter - The US, UK and France are NOT going to war with Russia over Estonia, or Poland. The risks are too high - and everybody, including Russia knows it. The proper conclusion is that the US should reduce its military spending and withdraw troops and close bases in Europe, however.
4.) Russia is a HUGE land mass with the GDP of Italy. It's not a real military threat because it can't build enough hardware to sustain wartime losses and it doesn't have the hard currency reserves to integrate captured territory.
5.) In a sense, it's a nothingburger - the trade war with the EU is going to be more costly than the reduction of NATO credibility, by far. (Oh by the way, by treaty EU tariffs on US goods average 3%, which in macroeconomic terms is the same as zero.)
6.) I'm not sure I'm terribly worried about the Trump Putin summit. He can't agree to anything without eventually telling everyone what it is. He can't agree to lift the Crimea sanctions, for example, in secret - that would have to be announced and congress would stomp it to death.
7.) In a very realpolitik sense I think this is all good for US democracy. The more he alienates the EU and frightens the world into reducing ties with the US the more politically isolated he makes his own administration, and there is nothing more important to the future of America than - to borrow a phrase from Mitch McConnell - making Trump a one-term president...
"it seems more likely to me that he is actively working on behalf of Putin rather than merely taking Russian money and looking the other way... I suppose that would make him less of a dotard and more of a mole."
Actually, that might make him guilty of treason. Just saying.
The New York Crank
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