President Trump is taking NATO seriously and making NATO members take the alliance seriously.
As any child knows, if you can get mommy or daddy to do something for you, then great, let them do it. Who cares? I’ll go play video games while my parents set the table and do the dishes.
Trump is telling Europeans that they have to grow up. For them, the video games are things like socialism and paying for a million immigrants to land in their nations. Trump has told NATO that the United States is finished subsidizing their nonsense.
And what could be more nonsensical than having an alliance THAT IS DEPENDENT ON YOUR ENEMY for energy needs? Why on earth is Trump portrayed as the jerk when Germany is making profitable deals for a pipeline with the country, Russia, we’re protecting Germany from? Angela Merkel is the jerk, and Trump called her out.
Trump is making NATO a better alliance by forcing the allies to have skin in the game. If they are permitted to be lazy about their commitment during peacetime, they will be ineffective if there’s a war.
There are two ways to treat a child: Positive incentives and negative reinforcement. That is, threats and anger. When positive incentives don’t work, you move to negative reinforcement, which probably works better anyway since fear is a stronger motivator than hope. If I think I’m might live better, that’s an incentive for action. If I think I might die, that’s a VERY STRONG incentive for action.
The Europeans got bullied and look like weaklings. They deserve it, but also it will help them. There’s no reason why it should take Germany ten years or whatever to get to two percent of GDP for defense. Historically, uh, Germany has shown quite clearly it can ramp military spending rather quickly.
And so Trump upped the ante to four percent, which he knows, as a negotiator, will at least get them to two percent.
The press, of course, have focused on the numbers and Trump’s unkindness. But they miss the subtlety of what he is doing.
A functioning alliance needs functioning allies. Previous presidents have weakened the alliance by allowing a bunch of slackards to sit in their room and play video games – that is, spend money on socialist paradise projects. And we’re subsidizing it. No more.