Patrick J. Buchanan: “Is a Coming NATO Crisis Inevitable?”

Donate

Written by Patrick J. Buchanan; Originally appeared on buchanan.org

Of President Donald Trump’s explosion at Angela Merkel’s Germany during the NATO summit, it needs to be said: It is long past time we raised our voices.

America pays more for NATO, an alliance created 69 years ago to defend Europe, than do the Europeans. And as Europe free-rides off our defense effort, the EU runs trade surpluses at our expense that exceed $100 billion a year.

Patrick J. Buchanan: "Is a Coming NATO Crisis Inevitable?"

AFP 2018 / OLIVIER MORIN

To Trump, and not only to him, we are being used, gouged, by rich nations we defend, while they skimp on their own defense.

At Brussels, Trump had a new beef with the Germans, though similar problems date back to the Reagan era. Now we see the Germans, Trump raged, whom we are protecting from Russia, collaborating with Russia and deepening their dependence on Russian natural gas by jointly building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

When completed, this pipeline will leave Germany and Europe even more deeply reliant on Russia for their energy needs.

To Trump, this makes no sense. While we pay the lion’s share of the cost of Germany’s defense, Germany, he said in Brussels, is becoming “a captive of Russia.”

Impolitic? Perhaps. But is Trump wrong? While much of what he says enrages Western elites, does not much of it need saying?

Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the U.S. spends 3.5 percent. Why?

Why — nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the crackup of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Moscow — are we still defending European nations that collectively have 10 times the GDP of Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

Before departing Brussels, Trump upped the ante on the allies, urging that all NATO nations raise the share of their GDPs that they devote to defense to 4 percent.

Brussels may dismiss this as typical Trumpian bluster, but my sense is that Trump is not bluffing. He is visibly losing patience.

Though American leaders since John Foster Dulles in the 1950s have called for a greater defense effort from our allies, if the Europeans do not get serious this time, it could be the beginning of the end for NATO.

And not only NATO. South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of North Korea, spends 2.6 percent of its GDP on defense, while, by one estimate, North Korea spends 22 percent, the highest share on earth.

Japan, with the world’s third-largest economy, spends an even smaller share of its GDP on defense than Germany, 0.9 percent.

Thus, though Seoul and Tokyo are far more menaced by a nuclear-armed North Korea and a rising China, like the Europeans, both continue to rely upon us as they continue to run large trade surpluses with us.

We get hit both ways. We send troops and pay billions for their defense, while they restrict our access to their markets and focus on capturing U.S. markets from American producers.

We are giving the world a lesson in how great powers decline.

America’s situation is unsustainable economically and politically, and it’s transparently intolerable to Trump, who does not appear to be a turn-the-other-cheek sort of fellow.

A frustrated Trump has already hinted he may accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea as he accepted Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem.

And he appears earnest about reducing our massive trade deficits in goods that have been bleeding jobs, plants, equipment, capital and technology abroad.

The latest tariffs Trump has proposed, on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods, would raise the price of 40 percent of China’s exports to the U.S. and begin to shrink the $375 billion trade surplus Beijing ran in 2017.

Trump said upon departing Brussels he had won new commitments to raise European contributions to NATO. But Emmanuel Macron of France seemed to contradict him. The commitments made before the summit, for all NATO nations to reach 2 percent of GDP for defense by 2024, said Macron, stand, and no new commitments were made.

As for Trump’s call for a 4 percent defense effort by all, it was ignored. Hence the question: If Trump does not get his way and the allies hold to their previous schedule of defense commitments, what does he do?

One idea Trump floated last week was the threat of a drawdown of the 35,000 U.S. troops in Germany. But would this really rattle the Germans?

A new poll shows that a plurality of Germans favor a drawdown of U.S. troops, and only 15 percent believe that Germany should raise its defense spending to 2 percent of GDP.

While Trump’s pressure on NATO to contribute more is popular here, apparently Merkel’s resistance comports with German opinion.

Since exiting the Iranian nuclear deal, President Trump has demanded that our European allies join the U.S. in reimposing sanctions. Now he is demanding that the Europeans contribute more to defense.

What does he do if they defy us? More than likely, we will find out.

Donate

SouthFront

Do you like this content? Consider helping us!

  • BMWA1

    Since it is more than 25 years out of date as to purpose, this is inevitable.

    • You can call me Al

      “America pays more for NATO, an alliance created 69 years ago to defend Europe, than do the Europeans. And as Europe free-rides off our defense effort, the EU runs trade surpluses at our expense that exceed $100 billion a year.” … it was created to protect the US as well; it needs dismantling as all it is now is a US puppet to sell their military crap into Europe.

      • Brother Ma

        I would suggest it was never made to protect the US but simply bind the Europeans to the US in vassalage.

        • You can call me Al

          mmmm, you could be right.

        • #’~A*QXm(>NRmm]w?dU4v!=^

          Spot on.

      • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

        Well it was never intended as what it has turned out to be and why Canada said it would no longer about defending Atlantic seaways and trade with Europe. Marshall Plan was supposed to rebuild and ensure Europe could defend itself blame the US for taking diverging paths from reality. We all know it was the primary KOOK Churchill who started the Cold War since we realized it was costing the west too much to maintain it then offered a huge bribe USSR to pretend to end the facade with assurances to not attack. When the west started to take advantage of the free money era they decided to steal it back and then some in the 90’s.

        • You can call me Al

          Thanks, but I disagree. There has never been “free money” regards the war. Russia have finally paid off all their debts, we lost an Empire over it to the US, plus our statue + our Gold in repayments.

          Also you talk about Churchill as a one man band, not so.

          You need to dig a lot deeper to find the truth – sorry I was told that once and unfortunately I did.

    • Justin

      USA should drop out of NATO and the EU can have its own force! Germany will go broke!

  • alejoeisabel

    Nato is how the US controls the European militaries. Russia has never been a threat to Europe. The threat is invented. The real threat is to Russia that has historically been invaded from Europe.

  • Peter Moy

    As I wrote in a previous comment: The US military in Europe to keep the Germans down and the Russians out. Even the history-challenged idiots at the Pentagon and State Department know that the US has already fought two world wars against Germany and don’t want a third one. Has NATO ever confronted Russia militarily? No and never will. Russia has always been too strong military. A country that sustained over 26 million fatalities in the Great Patriotic War (World War II) is not afraid of anyone. The only NATO military actions have been against countries that were gang attacked: Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Syria, etc. NATO has become simply a bureaucratic jobs program with a new 1 billion euro + headquarters that employs over 4,000 civilians. It has outlived its original purpose. I say disband it and let these so-called rich European countries pay for their own defense. It is amazing and a paradox that Uncle Stupid pays the largest share of this supposedly collective defense. Many NATO countries have a better standard of living than the US in terms of a national health care system, far less crime rate (especially violent crime), cleaner streets/sidewalks/ public areas, civility, etc. I have traveled to several countries in Europe and as an American, feel like I come from a mentally sick, physically sick, violent, crime-infested hubris-filled, extremely superficial (the old Texas saying comes to mind: Big Hat, no cattle!), arrogant, dumb society. Traurig aber wahr!

  • Barba_Papa

    >>Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the U.S. spends 3.5 percent. Why?<>Why — nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the crackup of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Moscow — are we still defending European nations that collectively have 10 times the GDP of Vladimir Putin’s Russia? <<

    You're not defending us from anything. There is no threat to Europe, other then the flood of refugees that American interventions create. We Europeans know there is no military threat so why would we have to spend as much as the Americans do, just because they are insane enough to do so? We don't want to play Team EU, World Police. The only European countries that do want you to defend them are the Eastern European countries, who have this Russiaphobia complex. But if they want the US to defend them, let them pay as much of their GDP.

    And if you think Europe is taking unfair advantage of you in trade consider this: all the world trade agreements were written and approved by the US because they wanted them to be in your favor. But now that things have changed and US elites have outsourced manufacturing you start to complain and cry foul? You have Wall Street to thank for this, not us. If the US were to stop invading other countries, downsize its massive military, then maybe it can start to become competitive again.

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      Remember that the US current budget for military bases is nearly 695 billion is expected to got to reach 1.1 trillion within a couple of years, simple they make a mess. Many reasons why is that the toxic clean up costs are growing as they’ve never clean it up the bases are loaded with toxic substances meaning site maintenance problems. Now you see why they are cutting back on bases this was an issue for several presidential terms now.

    • Feudalism Victory

      Trump knows the eu wont do it its giving him the excuse to do it. He wants to MAGA and that means dropping the global military base empire and that means he needs the “allies” to force him to do it.

      If they do 2 then they need to do 3. It wont end until the vassals find their balls and stand on their own 2 feet.

  • Occupy Schagen

    From West-Friesland The Netherlands.

    We disagree strongly.

    Since the collapse of the USSR there was no serious threat any more, that good trade-ties and neighbour-ship couldn’t overcome.
    But NATO was not dissolved. The Balkanisation of the old Soviet-Empire cost billions in Yugoslavia, Ukraine and the Caucasus.
    Further more the “North-Atlantic” Organisation entered the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Baltic, yes even The Persian Gulf and Central Asia.
    That was no defense. It was an illegal attempt of conquest of the world and it clearly failed although Putin’s GDP (and Defense spending) is about the size of that of Texas.
    So we think the US has to pay for its own expensive so called “Defense” operations and Europe better leaves the NATO and develops peace and trade-ties with the rest of the Eurasian Continent.

    Amen.

  • #’~A*QXm(>NRmm]w?dU4v!=^

    Buchanan, your are just spinning Republican crap here, misrepresenting the real reasons for the US’s involvement in Europe, even though a man in your positions and career history knows better than that.

    Please go and sell your nonsense elsewhere, everybody on this forum sees through your garbage.