My preference as a pundit is to mock and skewer those in power. From time-to-time I switch my tone to righteous indignation. This is one of those times despite the zany image above. Why? Donald Trump’s horrendous conduct on his overseas trip. It’s not because I’m surprised but out of indignation at his desire to blow up NATO to please his master in the Kremlin. Mad and/or Time got it right, y’all.
We knew Trump liked dictators more than democrats but it reached sickening levels on this trip. The Saudis did everything but publicly fellate his miniscule member and he fell for it. But when it came time for him to deal with our allies: he publicly dressed them down, threatened them, and even literally pushed one of them out-of-the-way. I guess he thought the Montenegrin PM was a waiter named Monty Negro or some such shit. The help is always abused in the racist alternate reality known as Trumpistan.
Here’s the deal: NATO is our baby. It has kept the peace since it was founded in 1949. Thanks to NATO and the EU, Germany and France have gone from mortal enemies to friends and allies. Why would anyone want to blow that up? Obviously, the president* knows nothing about history but peace between those key nations means peace in Europe. The only ones who want to blow up NATO are extreme nationalists and the Russians. People around Trump speak of Russia as though it is not the successor state to the Soviet Union. It is. And they’re up to their old tricks. Only an idiot would want France and Germany at each other’s throats. Trump is a moron. It’s increasingly apparent that he’s either owned by Russian intelligence or is Putin’s useful idiot. Either way he’s the dipshit’s dipshit.
TRUMP: “I will tell you, a big difference over the last year, money is actually starting to pour into NATO from countries that would not have been doing what they’re doing now had I not been elected, I can tell you that. Money is starting to pour in.” — speech to U.S. troops in Sicily on Saturday
TRUMP tweet: “Many NATO countries have agreed to step up payments considerably, as they should. Money is beginning to pour in.”
THE FACTS: First, no money is pouring in and countries do not pay the U.S. Nor do they pay NATO directly, apart from administrative expenses, which are not the issue.
The issue is how much each NATO member country spends on its own defense.
TRUMP: “But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years, and not paying in those past years.” — remarks to NATO on Thursday
THE FACTS: Members of the alliance are not in arrears in their military spending. They are not in debt to the United States, or failing to meet a current standard, and Washington is not trying to collect anything, despite the president’s contention that they “owe massive amounts of money.” They merely committed in 2014 to work toward the goal of 2 percent of GDP by 2024.
Thanks to the AP for the fact check. It proves that Trumpy really thinks an alliance is a protection racket and that giving a political speech to the troops is appropriate. It is customary for a President to talk about the troops, not about themselves. Trump would rather brag about his phantom accomplishments than praise them for their service. Repeat after me: NATO does not “collect” money. Paulie Walnuts will not be knocking on the door at 10 Downing Street any time soon.
It saddens me that Chancellor Merkel feels she has to distance herself from the United States. It is also completely understandable. Donald Trump prefers palling around with dictators to having good relations with our allies. It’s stark raving bonkers but it’s where we find ourselves in 2017. As I’ve said before: the fate of liberal democracy is in the hands of a German Chancellor who was born behind the Iron Curtain.
It’s appalling but not surprising that national security-minded Republicans remain silent over Trump’s comments about NATO. I have a theory: the Bush-Cheney administration was big on unilateral action and did their share of undermining our alliances. Team Trump has taken that to its radical extreme in the wake of 8 years of temperate, moderate governance by President Obama. Heaven help the fool as Mr. T or Bob Weir would say at this point.
One more point about Trumper stupidity: the Kushner affair. The wispy slumlord is supposed to be in charge of a White House “war room.” They haven’t a clue as to how this looks. He’s under investigation himself. They should call it the “cover-up room” instead. And what is being described by the MSM as a “back channel” is actually espionage because it involved American citizens using a hostile power’s communication system. Sounds like they have something to hide; when there’s this much smoke, there’s always fire.
Back to the post title. There are always strains in any alliance but there’s never been anything like this in NATO’S past. I don’t recall an American President insulting a German Chancellor FTF before. Hell, even Bush and Gerhard Schroder kinda, sorta kept up appearances for the sake of the alliance. It’s all about Trump in 2017. As far as he concerned, we all live in Trumpistan.
Since I prefer to be a “glass is half full” kind of guy, I’ll give the last word to Todd Rundgren and Daryl Hall: