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Tag Archives: NATO

How Trump is Strengthening NATO

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.

Video || Trump Reads NATO the Riot Act Over Breakfast

During a breakfast with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump Wednesday kicked off the NATO Summit by wondering why Germany is getting so much of its gas from Russia and is building yet another pipeline to get yet more.

From Trump’s remarks, which I’ve stitched together:

Germany is totally controlled by Russia. You tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not. The former chancellor of Germany is head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas … You tell me, is that appropriate?

Trump is referring to former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is a top executive at the Russian-controlled company that runs the new pipeline project.

Stoltenberg responded like Europeans do, with generalizations and platitudes, saying that “there are sometimes differences and different views” and remarking that this is “one issue where allies disagree.” But “despite differences,” Stoltenberg said NATO is about uniting around “to protect and defend each other.”

Yeah, blah blah blah blah blah.

Trump responded:

How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against? They’re just making Russia richer. Germany as far I’m concerned is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia. Explain that. I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia. We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.

The president then moved on to Germany’s failure to pay for its defense.

Germany is just paying a little over 1 percent. This has been going on for decades, this has been brought up by other presidents, but other presidents never did anything about it because I don’t think they understood or they just didn’t want to get involved. But I have to bring it up because I think it’s very unfair to our country, it’s very unfair to our taxpayer. Germany is a rich country. Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem.

“Irrational! Destabilizing!”

That’s, of course, what the MSM is saying about Trump, not the notion that Germany fails to pay for its defense and goes out an makes deals with the enemy. “Trump starts visit by insulting allies,” reads the headline at CNN.

If Trump was striking pipeline deals with Russia, the MSM would be calling for his impeachment.

How nice to see a president who doesn’t go to Europe and pretend everything is just fine and defer to the European leaders’ self-righteousness and self-regard.

Here are a couple of videos of the exchange.

Looks like the president was the only one to pass on the OJ.

Video || Trump Tells NATO Leaders to Pay Their Fair Share As They Look On

This is great. The free ride is over.

President Trump today in Brussels informed NATO leaders, as they looked on somewhat uncomfortably, that they would each be forking over at least two percent of their GDP to pay for their own defense.

Only five of NATO’s 28 members — the United States, Greece, Poland, Estonia and the United Kingdom, currently meet the 2 percent target.

Germany, wealthy Germany, only drops down 1.2 percent and claims it doesn’t own any arrears.

Look at about 0:38, you can see one of them, a woman, I don’t know, the prime minister of Slovakia or whatever, literally gulp as Trump tell them it’s time to pay their fair share.

Anyway, Trump will get some more money out of them, but they all know that we’re going to save their sorry asses if it comes down to it — even as they think of us as a bunch of rubes behind our backs — which is why they haven’t been paying in the first place.

Trump Says “Jump” and NATO Asks, “How High?”

Great piece by Byron York noting that despite all the “outrage” over President Trump’s questioning of NATO, he actually got some big things done, changing their approach.

From the article:

Candidate Donald Trump set off a furious controversy when he said NATO countries should pay their “fair share” of mutual defense costs and, later, that the treaty organization was “obsolete” because not enough of its efforts were directed against radical Islamic terrorism.

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence took the Trump message to NATO headquarters in Brussels. And after all the controversy and complaining, NATO’s response could be boiled down to a single sentence: Yes sir, Mr. Trump.

News reports from Pence’s news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg focused on Pence’s effort to “reassure” nervous NATO officials that the U.S. will stand behind its treaty commitments. “It is my privilege here at the NATO headquarters to express the strong support of President Trump and the United States of America for NATO and our transatlantic alliance,” Pence said. “I can say with confidence, America will do our part.”

But at least as newsworthy was what happened next. Pence dropped the hammer of Trump’s demands, and NATO quickly went along.

Mattis Warns NATO: You Need to Pay Up

Europe learns that it’s free ride is over. And guess what? They’ll pay, just, finally someone is telling them to.

From the Washington Examiner:

On his way over to NATO headquarters, the soft-spoken but hard-nosed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would be mostly listening to concerns of his fellow defense ministers. But when he got to the table in Brussels yesterday, he delivered a stark warning to the 23 member nations who aren’t paying what they should. “America will meet its responsibilities,” Mattis said. “But if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense.”

It’s not as though the NATO nations didn’t see it coming. President Trump has been harping on the fact that, of the 28 alliance members, only five (U.S.,UK., Greece, Poland and Estonia) spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.

Notice to Taliban: We’re Outta Here by 2014

Yes, Mullah Omar, the place is yours at that point.

That’s what was ANNOUNCED today by NATO at the summit in Lisbon.

Look, it’s not a bad idea at all to leave Afghanistan in 2014. I just think we should win the war first. I don’t know how it makes sense to fight a war but announce when you are surrendering.

It’s generous of us to be so helpful to the Taliban, telling them when we will start to depart – July 2011 – and now adding some helpful information about when the surrender will be complete.

Why waste all those precious lives? If this is how we’re going to fight the war, we should leave tomorrow.

One wonderful moment from the summit was the assertion by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the Taliban can’t rely on a strategy of just waiting until we leave.

We will launch the process by which the Afghan government will take leadership for security throughout the country, district by district. If the enemies of Afghanistan have the idea that they can just wait it out until we leave, they have the wrong idea. We will stay as long as it takes to finish our job.

The Europeans are particularly good at this type of wishful doublespeak on matters of war and peace, believing strongly in the discredited concept that, “If I say it with determination, it will be true.

I mean, what is he talking about? We’re staying until 2014, not until we finish the job. THAT’S NATO POLICY.

There’s an interesting clash of cultures underlying this. To the United States, with our habit of looking just over the hood and no further, 2014 seems A LONG TIME AWAY.  For people like the Afghanis and much of the rest of the world, which lack our instant gratification mentality and our poor knowledge of history and other cultures, four years is nothing, a blip on the screen in the grand sweep of history that extends from ancient times into the future where – for the Taliban at least – a new Caliphate awaits.

The Europeans have a broader sense of time than us, and understand 2014 is right around the corner. It’s just that, being Europeans, they want to stop fighting yesterday.

The Taliban will wait us out, better believe it. And then we can build a memorial to the Afghan war dead on the mall in Washington and move on.