Tags: trump | nato | defense spending

Trump Is Right — NATO Is a Welfare State

Trump Is Right — NATO Is a Welfare State
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak to the media at a press conference on the second day of the 2018 NATO Summit on July 12, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit, which is being overshadowed by strong demands by U.S. President Trump for most NATO member countries to spend more on defense. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018 02:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

CNN reports, “NATO diplomats were dumbfounded by President Donald Trump's barrage of acidic rhetoric at the annual summit in Brussels. Trump came out brawling in his first public comments…calling members of the alliance ‘delinquent’ in their defense spending and insisting they increase it ‘immediately.’"

“It's like the world has gone crazy this morning," stated one senior European diplomat. "Trump's performance was beyond belief."

Five things come to mind:

1) To the Euro-diplomat: it’s “Mister” or “President” Trump…not just “Trump.” You may not like him, and you may not agree with him, but he is the President of the United States — the country that not only bailed out your country and continent in two world wars, but kept you alive and well throughout the Cold War, and continues to protect you today. Less arrogance and more respect, please.

2) The media, while certainly not as “fake” as the president claims, still doesn’t get it. Rather than reporting on the whole story with just the facts, many outlets continue to allow their biases to enter the news realm, where it has no place. Ironically, the more they do so, the more the president’s popularity grows, albeit “under the radar.”

3) The aloof European Establishment makes such asinine comments because it simply doesn’t know how to react otherwise. Their intransigence has never been called out before, and they have never had anyone of gravitas hold them accountable. The days of the status quo, where America does virtually all the heavy lifting despite getting nothing in return — are ending, and the go-along, get-along club of Euro-leaders are finally seeing their world turned upside down.

4) Too many leaders live in a fantasy world, with zero self-awareness but boatloads of undeserved self-righteousness. The fact that many are downright offended that someone has the “gall” to ask them to meet their obligation to NATO is absolutely astounding. It’s time for them to shed their complacency and wake up to the reality of the new world. And that goes for American apologists, too.

Bottom line: NATO needs to stand for something other than “Not Accountable To Obligations.”

5) Despite Mr. Trump’s propensity to put his foot in his mouth, and his difficulty in understanding “it’s not what you say, but how you say it,” most of the American people find his direct manner refreshing. The president’s willingness to cut through diplomatic jargon, and throw meaningless nuances and protocols to the wind in favor of telling it like it is, has become such a breath of fresh air that many are willing to overlook his embarrassing asides. This is a point that his opponents are ignoring — to their peril.

*****

The great ship moved silently through the water.

Actually, it didn’t, as a 60,000-ton, 1,000-foot long aircraft carrier does nothing quietly. In fact, the approach of such a warship is always known far in advance. So when Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov entered Dutch waters — an overt show of force, given that its normal route would have taken her around Ireland — defense protocol was to scramble a Dutch naval vessel to “escort” the foreign ship until it passed. In addition to sending the unmistakable message that all potential threats will be met aggressively, shadowing a foreign ship allows for invaluable intelligence-gathering.

One small problem.

The Dutch couldn’t find a single navy ship. Not one.

Incomprehensibly, they didn’t have a coast guard vessel either — inexcusable considering that the Netherlands possesses a strategically crucial coastline. So instead, it dispatched an old propeller plane with zero surveillance capability to greet the Kuznetsov. The only sound was the Russian crew’s hysterical laughter.

Why the embarrassing response? Because the Dutch retired their entire fleet of dedicated maritime patrol aircraft well over a decade ago, and the Royal Netherlands Navy was unavailable — not because the fleet was dispatched around the world protecting shipping lanes or fighting piracy, but because in reality it no longer exists, having been massively shrunk due to defense budget cuts.

But the ineptitude of the Dutch — par for the course for most NATO countries — should come as no surprise. And it all boils down to appalling European ungratefulness and American stupidity.

NATO rules stipulate that member nations dedicate at least two percent of gross domestic product every year to defense spending, yet only five of twenty-nine met that requirement last year, with the average being 1.5 percent. The United States, on the other hand, spent almost four percent (and is responsible for 70 percent of NATO defense spending), carrying the water for all the slacker countries, as it always does.

And to what end?

Turns out that our “allies” skimp on defense so they can gleefully fund all their socialist pet projects, knowing full-well that the American security guarantee remains staunchly in place. Their “let the Americans do the heavy lifting while we party it up” mentality is a giant middle finger to the nation whose Greatest Generation saved their hides from the most brutal regimes in history, during both World War II and the Cold War.

The salt in the wound is that they turn around and use those massive cost savings to manipulate trade deals in their favor, to the detriment of Americans — a.k.a. the people protecting them.

Truth is, we have only ourselves to blame for perpetuating this humiliation, given that both political parties have allowed this debacle for decades. But now, President Trump is demanding change.

The Euro response? Another slap in the face: “Sure. You bet. We’ll ante up — by 2025.” In years past, such disingenuous put-off strategies worked, as more often than not, European defense spending actually decreased. They laughed all the way to the bank while America foolishly put up increasing dollars and manpower to protect them.

Most other presidents would have agreed, albeit begrudgingly, to the latest proposed NATO terms. But Mr. Trump refused, and instead called them out again, rejecting their ridiculous timeline and demanding they meet their obligation now. This year. Today.

And for the president’s insistence that the 83 percent of NATO nations that are delinquent simply meet the threshold that they devised, he was roundly criticized as being “beyond belief,” and making the world “crazy.”

These allies, who are supposed to be our friends, would be better suited joining an interstellar defense organization, because they are truly living on another planet.

America faces zero threat of invasion and aggression, and we don’t need Europe the way we did during the Cold War, so it’s time to reconsider our carte blanche policy. For once, the Europeans need to step up to the plate and start defending themselves. We should nullify outdated treaties from a different era and remove the bulk of our forces, leaving the Continent to their own devices. In addition to weaning Europe off America’s never-ending (and unappreciated) generosity, it would be a boon to our economy, as billions would be spent at home rather than in foreign economies. The same goes for South Korea, as well as our troops stationed in over 130 countries.

America obviously needs to protect its interests abroad, act as a respectful world leader, and be a beacon of light to billions. But in doing so, it should heed the vision of George Washington, whose prescience about avoiding foreign entanglements is as applicable today as when he served as our first leader.

Unfortunately, NATO has become a foreign entanglement and welfare state that “takes” a lot more than it “gives” to the United States. If they don’t pick up the slack, America should pull back, lock, stock and barrel.

And at that point, Europe may soon find out what “Russian interference” really means.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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Bottom line: NATO needs to stand for something other than “Not Accountable To Obligations.”
trump, nato, defense spending
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2018-52-18
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 02:52 PM
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