With his childish school-boy mind-set, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump went further to smash another huge pillar of America foreign policy of the last 50 years.
His next victims are not women, Mexicans, Muslims or female journalists, but the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
NATO is most important and the essence for American foreign and security policy. You may compare it to the Washington Monument for Washington DC or the Statue of Liberty for New York.
It links the United States with Europe as a strong lifeline.
It avoids the mistake after World War I and before World War II, when the Americans withdrew their troops, thus weakening the allies with another war coming soon after.
Without NATO, the United States loses influence in Europe and will be isolated in the Americas.
It contains aggressive Russia as well, thus is a balance of global power for any US president, but NOT for this ” I-Know-Nothing-But-Everything-Better” candidate.
With his unique mixture of ignorance, arrogance, a deep vacuum of know-how and big-mouth-talk, The Trump axed NATO now too.
At a campaign meeting he told the crowd in Wisconsin that he would be fine if NATO broke up.
- “That means we are protecting them, giving them military protection and other things, and they’re ripping off the United States. And you know what we do? Nothing…Either they have to pay up for past deficiencies or they have to get out.”
- “And if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO,” Donald Trump concluded.
- In an interview with The New York Times , Mr. Trump painted NATO as old and out of date. “It was really designed for the Soviet Union, which doesn’t exist anymore. It wasn’t designed for terrorism.”
- In his long speech at the Center for National Interest he told end of April: “Our allies are not paying their fair share, and I’ve been talking about this recently a lot. Our allies must contribute toward their financial, political, and human costs, have to do it, of our tremendous security burden. But many of them are simply not doing so. They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us. In NATO, for instance, only 4 of 28 other member countries besides America, are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense. We have spent trillions of dollars over time on planes, missiles, ships, equipment, building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice. The whole world will be safer if our allies do their part to support our common defense and security. A Trump administration will lead a free world that is properly armed and funded, and funded beautifully.”Please read this again: These are NOT the words or threats by Russian president Vladimir Putin, but the ideas of an Republican candidate from the United States who until now gets half of the votes of the Republicans to push him into the White House.
When many Russian soldiers “on holiday” are fighting in Ukraine and the Baltic states and Poland feel threatened by a more aggressive Kremlin, Mr Trump wants to break up the European insurance company called NATO, thus deliver the Russian a free victory on a silver plate- how crazy is this man?
He is right to demand an increase in defense spending- like Obama did in Hannover recently too- but to demand that “the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice” means a blunt invitation for Mr. Putin to cut the transatlantic cable. It will not push them to spend more, but promote appeasement, which is demanded by populistic national parties all over Europe today. It is “provocative weakness” (Fritz Kraemer).
The only candidate who likes Putin by the way and he loves him- now we better understand why Putin is a Trump fan.
Is he promoting Russian or American national interests?
He is not under any pressure to give up NATO, but gets the alliance busted for free.
Again Trump shows: he is a loose canon with the mind-set and irresponsibility of a five-year-old schoolboy.
With his big hands on nuclear weapons after January 2017?
Donald Trump has an argument nevertheless when he criticized that “other NATO countries are not paying their fair share” in comparison with the United States”. Let us look into the details.
Security for the Europeans has still an agreed price tag of two percent of the GDP and is not a gift granted by the Americans. New, fair burden-sharing is a must in a globalized world with greater orientation of the U.S. towards Asia.
In Europe, defense budgets have declined for too long.
According to the World Bank, NATO defense spending varies between 1 and 4.7 percent of GDP. Here the numbers in 2011: Hungary and Latvia spent only 1 percent; Belgium, Spain and the Czech Republic, 1.1 percent; next, Germany spent only 1.3 percent; The Netherlands, 1.4; Denmark, 1.5; Italy, 1.6 and thus all are below the 2 percent needed. Poland came close, with 1.9; France was 2.2; Turkey, 2.3; the United Kingdom, 2.6; and the United States, 4.7 percent. In 2011 European NATO members fell $80 billion short of that commitment.
On average, defense spending of European Allies was 1.62 percent of the GDP, with 20 out of 28 NATO members spending less than this average and only 6 European countries (Estonia, France, Greece, Poland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) spending more.”
Is this fair and a mark of solidarity within Europe and the transatlantic region?
Even considering the very expensive nuclear arsenals of the U.S., UK and France, the other nations, especially Germany, with below 1.5 percent, must invest more in the hard factors of crisis-response and peace-making in NATO.
“According to NATO,” the CSIS wrote in a paper, “the 26 European allies (minus Canada and the United States) combined spent $282 billion on defense budgets in 2011 (or about 27.2 percent of the NATO total). While that isn’t an insignificant sum, in comparison, the United States spent $731 billion (70.5 percent). Washington policymakers are now arguing that NATO must quickly move toward a 50/50 rather than a 75/25 alliance.
All member states must commit themselves to spending enough for a modern defense capability within the Alliance of a minimum of 2 percent of gross national product. There can be no free-riders forcing unfair burdens on others. NATO needs fair load-sharing, a necessary foundation of solidarity. If any states spend less and therefore harm solidarity within the common defense system, they will have to pay a solidarity compensation of half of the difference to NATO budgets.
On the European side, NATO lacks 15 relevant, even critical capacities, including air-refuelling, strategic airlift, smart bombs, surveillance, reconnaissance or electronic warfare capacities, or integrated chemical defense capability.
What Trump did not mention and does not know:
Germany just added four billion euros more to the next defense budget 2017. Berlin is indeed increasing defense spending now.
Too bad that when he wants to become the US President, he does not know the facts.
You cannot run the United States of America like a reality-show, a building, or the broken Trump University.