Ironically, Trump’s herky-jerky warnings about redefining strategic missions and meeting required contributions may jolt the alliance into reform—in a way that past American presidents’ mellifluous but empty rhetoric about the fissures within and the contradictions of NATO seem to have only made things worse.
"The President looks forward to meeting with his NATO counterparts to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO, and to discuss issues critical to the alliance, especially allied responsibility-sharing and NATO's role in the fight against terrorism," the White House Office of the Press Secretary said in a statement.
Has President Trump given McCain, who wanted President Bush to intervene in a Russia-Georgia war—over South Ossetia!—carte blanche to hand out war guarantees to unstable Balkan states? With the death of Communism, the end of the Cold War, and the collapse of the Bushite New World Order, America needs a new grand strategy, built upon the solid foundation of America First.
Obviously the world is a messy place. But what stresses American policymakers? It’s not the problem of defending the U.S. No other country has a conventional capability to reach America. Thus, America's national security team need not worry about the sort of potential threats facing virtually every other nation.
There is no evidence that the Putin government intends to start an aggressive war against Europe, and no alliance member, including the Baltic States and Poland, has boosted military outlays as if it believed conflict was imminent. Rather, the Europeans have concentrated on demanding that America do more.
If we ignore rhetorical flaws and look at the substance of what Trump has said, he has a coherent and radical foreign policy. Trump is proposing a redefinition of U.S. foreign policies based on current realities, not those of 40 years ago. It is a foreign policy in which American strength is maximized in order to achieve American ends.
Montenegro is a quaint, but geopolitically irrelevant. Balkan state. If Montenegro's admission to NATO is approved by the full Senate, Americans will have yet another essentially useless defense dependent, this one a corrupt, long-time gangster state.
NATO should be turned over to the Europeans, allowing them to handle their defense as they desire. This would not mean cutting relations. But it does mean Washington should stop subsidizing its wealthier cousins when the latter don’t feel like paying for their own defense.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has accommodated the Islamic State, allowing passage of men and materiel into Syria and facilitated the sale of oil seized by the violent jihadists. Turkey increasingly thwarts U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Candidate Donald Trump got NATO right. When it includes states like Montenegro it no longer serves America’s defense. He should speak on behalf of the American people who are expected to pay for everyone else.
Perhaps the best justification for voting for Donald Trump is to upset the expectations of those who believe that American taxpayers exist for the benefit of the rest of the world.
Extended nuclear deterrence always has been a risky proposition for the U.S. It means being willing to fight a nuclear war on behalf of others, that is, Americans would risk Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles to, say, defend Berlin and Tokyo.
Of Hillary Clinton's belligerent record Donald Trump observed: “Sometimes it seemed like there wasn’t a country in the Middle East that Hillary Clinton didn’t want to invade, intervene in, or topple.”
Trump has emphasized that his complaints are intended to encourage debate about improving and strengthening NATO, not sundering it. The debate is well worth having. We can count on enthusiastic support from Britain and much of “new Europe” for reforming and strengthening the alliance. But when European governments place renewed emphasis on a purely European solution, we are seeing a dagger pointed at NATO’s heart.
Donald Trump has questioned whether we are getting value for the defense dollars committed to NATO, CHQ contributor Doug Bandow makes the case that expanding NATO has made America less secure.
America’s fiscal position is deteriorating sharply. Earlier this year the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the federal deficit was back on the rise in 2016, with steady increases expected over the next decade. There isn’t going to be much money for the national government to spend on “discretionary” items, including underwriting wealthy allies, rebuilding failed states, and enforcing international norms.
Former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s greatest fear appears to be that Donald Trump might be elected and end Washington’s unique global role: “What is at stake here is the American role as the global superpower.” Meaning America should continue to foot the bill in lives and treasure to protect countries that can and should protect themselves.
The U.S. is expected to protect virtually every prosperous, populous, industrialized nation. But that’s just a start. Washington also must coddle, pamper, praise, uplift, pacify, encourage, and otherwise placate the same countries because they now believe it to be America’s duty to handle their defense. Alas, U.S. leaders have been only too willing to enable this counterproductive behavior. Except for Donald Trump.
“Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make,” Trump has complained.” He “would prefer not to walk,” but if the Euro-wimps don’t “fulfill their obligations to us,” perhaps Washington shouldn’t defend them.
Today Turkey undermines U.S. and European security. As Ankara moves toward an authoritarian one-party state, its membership in NATO becomes ever more incongruous. A civil divorce would be best for all parties.