Trump’s NATO Reboot Is Long Overdue
There’s no such thing as the business end of a broomstick, but don’t tell that to the Germans who raided the janitor’s closet to create mock gun turrets in a recent exercise of NATO’s “Rapid Reaction Force.” Of the 28 NATO countries, only five spend the required 2% of GDP on defense, with even the wealthy Germany spending only 1.2%. Donald Trump has called for these countries to step up to their commitments or step out of the alliance. He has also demanded they refocus on the threat posed by radical Islam. In response, fifty Republican foreign policy establishment-types wrote that Trump “threatens our allies,” and Hillary Clinton has launched a major ad buy linking him to various racists including Hitler and the Klan. Despite unprecedented efforts to delegitimize him, Trump’s criticism of NATO is not only merited, it does not go far enough. European NATO is ill-equipped, rudderless and drifting towards war with Russia while simultaneously importing vast numbers of its real enemy, radical Islamists.
NATO’s expansion eastward, first into the old Warsaw Pact and then into countries previously held by the Soviet Union has brought the West into conflict with Russia. NATO is morally right to assist the historical victims of Russian aggression, but without adequate force, its strategy amounts to kicking the bear and running away. For its efforts, two provinces of Georgia, the Crimea, and a large and growing area of the Ukraine have been absorbed by Greater Russia, while NATO has been reduced to protests, half-hearted sanctions and token arms transfers. NATO assumed that Vladimir Putin of Russia would accept their expansion, including a US-backed overthrow of a democratically-elected government in the Ukraine. Perhaps they believed Russia was in no position to contest it; regardless, NATO’s miscalculation ought to rank as one of the worst strategic blunders of the last quarter century, yet goes unacknowledged.
Trump pointed out the stingy contributions of our allies towards their own security – NATO defends Europe, not North America – and Mitch McConnell called it a “rookie mistake.” Others with a greater interest in a Hillary Clinton presidency put it in more apocalyptic terms. Trump did state that he would not come to the aid of countries that did not meet their obligations, but that is because he understands as a businessman that people do not incur costs willingly. The Europeans have had a free ride off our defense budgets for decades; they will not double their expenditures just because the US nags them. If the Europeans refuse to bolster their shrinking militaries – and up their abysmal birthrates – history suggests they won’t survive very long, so why should the US expend blood and treasure to prolong their departure?
The Europeans (and their American spokesmen) point to a resurgent and newly aggressive Russia as a reason for the US to remain committed to their defense, but who pushed the proposed borders of NATO one thousand miles east? Trump stated, “I would talk to [Putin], I would get along with him. I believe — and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path.” Translation: there’s a deal to be made with Russia, one that protects the security of Central Europe, but also respects Moscow’s interest in securing strategic depth. From the vantage point of London, Paris and Berlin, there ought to be a wealth of geographic space to affect a compromise leading to lasting peace. The US should not go to war just to add mortgaged properties to an underfunded alliance.
Trump’s greater point, delivered in his August 15th address, is that the central threat of our time is not Russia, but rather radical Islam. As an Orthodox Christian nation bordering Islamic countries, Russia could be a valuable ally – if they didn’t consider us an enemy. The danger to NATO countries is not from the East, but from Middle East. As the 15-year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the US should remember that Islamic fascists attacked us, not Russia.
Europeans have deliberately imported millions of Muslims who despise the West’s (lack of) religion, its culture, and its comparatively libertine way of life. They correctly view the people of their host countries as weak, foolish and ripe for conquest. Trump laid out the laundry list of recent attacks by Islamic radicals, and the frequency and deadliness is rising. Given the top baby name in the UK for 2014 was Mohammed, the trend line is towards greater Islamization of Europe with the clash of civilizations that entails.
Donald Trump’s objections to the conduct of NATO’s European allies are well-reasoned and too important to smother under political correctness. Trump’s demands on immigration – that people who do not respect the laws and culture of their host country should be kept out – applies far more to jihadists, whose crimes are ideological and potentially far more deadly, than to ordinary criminals whose behavior is merely sociopathic.
Angela Merkel’s decision to welcome eight-hundred-thousand Syrians, most of whom are young Muslim men, has created terror among ordinary Germans forced to live with an alien population born into casual brutality. The German authorities have shown extreme reluctance to acknowledge the spike in rape and other violent crime. If the leadership of Europe is willing to betray their own people by inviting a barbarian invasion just to swoon their moral egos, then the United States should not be allied with them. There are countries in Europe who are not hell bent on committing suicide – Hungary, Poland and other Central European states; the US should put its resources into their defense and write off the rest.
The author has worked on numerous statewide political campaigns in Virginia, South Dakota and Washington, D.C. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.