Critics claim that President Trump's boorish blindsides against NATO are leading to a destruction of the 70-year alliance. What nonsense. There is one, and only one, central issue as to whether NATO continues to be a relevant force: Will each member commit to defending any other member if attacked by a foreign hostile power? So long as that commitment remains strong, all the other spats amount to squat.
Whether Germany makes it harder to sell Cadillacs in Berlin than America makes it to sell a Mercedes in Canton has no bearing on whether these liberal democracies will stand up for each other if either is subjected to a threat to their sovereignty.
The Brits float Baby Trump balloons over London. Brussels recoils at Trump's digs on Europe’s recalcitrance to adequately defend itself. Germany is aghast that the American President has the audacity to call them out about their short sighted Russian oil deal that was orchestrated, for great personal financial gain, by the former German Chancellor. The French are all bent out shape because Trump is demanding reciprocity on trade.
But none of this matters. Brothers are able to fight inside the house so long as they join forces when an outsider threatens anyone in the family. And, as has been the case since the advent of the Cold War, it is America that has been the protective big brother.
There was a time when only the United States had the economic stability to provide the deterrent necessary to hold at bay a hegemonic Soviet empire from swallowing up its weakened democratic neighbors to the West. The American taxpayers willingly foot the bill to become the policeman of the free world. More significantly, they were willing to sacrifice their sons and daughters to preserve freedom for their European brethren. Europe had neither the means, nor the will, to defend itself. But we did it anyway; and that’s what American Exceptionalism is all about. We are exceptional not because we are smarter, purer, or better in the eyes of the Almighty, but rather, because we took it upon ourselves to be the defenders of liberty throughout the world, despite a huge cost to us in blood and treasure.
For half a century, Europeans were extraordinarily grateful for our sacrifice. But now there are many European elites maintaining a sense of entitlement. How dare the United States ask their allies to pull their own weight! Think of what kind of impact that would have on their welfare states and their ability to have month-long vacations in August (while Americans work collective tails off).
So when Trump calls for Europe to contribute more or criticizes them for becoming too dependent on Russia, he’s in the right. Of course, his rough-and-tumble style and impolitic rhetoric is disappointing, unnecessarily rubbing many the wrong way.
But the hysteria being spewed by the left is ridiculous. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough (once a conservative) exclaimed that Trump was “Carrying out Putin’s deepest wishes.” (Despite the fact that Trump was criticizing Europe making Putin richer via the pipeline deal.)
Former Secretary of State John Kerry said of Trump, “He is undermining our interests. He diminishes alliances we built to safeguard an economic and strategic force that has allowed millions of people to live in freedom."
Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, declared, “Today, we abdicated America's global leadership for the foreseeable future. And, we sold out our kids, grandkids & allies."
We know what America does for Europe. But what does Europe really do for America? Sure, they share intelligence with our CIA in the fight against global terrorism, but that’s done for their national self-interests.
NATO spokespeople are quick to cite their efforts in support of America after 9-11. Certainly, they did send their thoughts and prayers. But other than sharing intelligence, what really did they do? They gave us permission to use their names in compiling a list of countries that would create the fiction that we had a multi-national force to fight terrorism. But in the end, we, and the world, knew that it was going to be American troops and dollars that would take on the bad guys. The sending of a few ill-equipped German soldiers to Afghanistan (who had orders not to engage) did nothing to negate the need for thousands of American troops to put their lives on the line.
No, this does not mean that NATO is obsolete or that we should diminish our support for this important alliance. But let’s be real; this is primarily a one-way alliance. A potential attack against America is not deterred by any pushback that could come from the anemic European nations. The only deterrent that matters is the one provided by America for the protection of our European friends. European critics of America should never forget that.
Whether we engage in a trade tiff with European nations or debate where their future energy will come from, or how many immigrants should be permitted to emigrate, the only thing that matters regarding this 70-year-old, post-war alliance is whether America's commitment to fend off an attack on Europe by hostile powers remains. There is nothing that occurred over the last two years, despite the over the top rhetoric of the president, that changes that basic fact.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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