Author Topic: US versus NATO  (Read 24081 times)

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Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #200 on: July 12, 2018, 00:36:49 »
We already deploy a heavy unit from CONUS to Germany.Once  in country they can marry up with pre-positioned stocks. Trump is right that Germany cutting a deal for gas with Russia undermines NATO. The US or Canada would sell them the gas they need to stay warm.

https://www.army.mil/article/185234/34_abct_rotates_forces_from_poland_to_germany

Hmm.  Not that long ago (until fracking came along, with completely unknown impacts on a very fragile aquifer in the US), America the Good and Moral was buying oil from Saudi Arabia (home of AQ), Venezuela (Hugo Chavez anyone?), Nigeria (Hello kleptocracy), and, oh yes, land of rapists and MS 13, Mexico.

Where does any country get off dictating where another country should buy its oil from, especially with a record like that?
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #201 on: July 12, 2018, 00:47:57 »
It should be a matter of national security.NATO exists primarily to stop a Russian invasion.Now all they would need is to turn off the gas in winter.Of course it was that way for the US until we lessened our dependence on foreign oil. The US is a major producer of natural gas we should be the go to source for Europe.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #202 on: July 12, 2018, 01:18:01 »
It should be a matter of national security.NATO exists primarily to stop a Russian invasion.Now all they would need is to turn off the gas in winter.Of course it was that way for the US until we lessened our dependence on foreign oil. The US is a major producer of natural gas we should be the go to source for Europe.

The US can't beat Russian gas prices. Economics 'trumps' politics in this case:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-24/russia-tightens-grip-on-europe-s-gas-supply-with-gazprom-deal
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Offline CBH99

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #203 on: July 12, 2018, 04:32:45 »
Lets not forget the other side of that 'security sword' when it comes to Europe buying its gas from Russia.

Europe buying it's gas from Russia helps prop up the Russian economy & energy industry.  Which helps keep the country stable.  Which, in turn, helps it to build the professional & capable armed forces we end up so worried about.

How's that for 'it's an odd world'?



A financially & politically stable Russia, regardless of how much we like/don't like Putin (Personally, I'm kind of a fan to be honest) - is much better than a Russia that is even more economically depressed than it is now.  For political stability, internal & external stability, etc.

Also, a Europe that is purchasing a natural resource from Russia & helping stabilize the Russian economy is an economic/trade/financial resource that Russia values.  Russia has far more to gain by selling natural gas to Europe than it does in 'turning off the taps', and in turn, eliminating a massive source of revenue.

Do you tend to invade the very countries that are propping up your own economy?  Nope. 

It's great to say "We need tanks & planes & ships incase those crazy evil Russians suddenly invade us!"   It's much less interesting to say "We have a co-dependent economic relationship that acts as just as much of a deterrent as the weapons do."  Less interesting, but just as important, if not moreso.

Eliminating Russia out of the world stage even more, and purchasing their natural gas from the US, would be a huge step in the wrong direction in terms of European/Western Russia financial stability, and hence a militarily stable status quo.

(All of this nonsense about Russian aggression gets tiring, especially from the mainstream media.  Yes, they can mass lots of forces.  So can we.  They can launch lots of planes with missiles.  So can we.  They can deploy lots of ships in that region.  We can do that too.  They don't want to invade Europe for plenty of obvious reasons, and Europe doesn't want to invade Russia either.  The whole thing is just dumb.)
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #204 on: July 12, 2018, 06:44:37 »
The lack of stability and certainty surrounding Russia was much of NATO’s (and the US in particular’s) own doing.  Looked at through the Russian lens, from Clinton onwards, NATO’s relentless crawl towards Russia’s Western Border can’t be seen as anything else than a deliberate and measured progressive action to gain comfrontatuonal proximity and encroach upon Russia’s terrestrial approaches. Nations (Canada in particular due to deep Ukrainian ties) get harumphy about Crimea, but what of Grenada’s invasion in 1982, etc.?  Does the West have a get out of jail free card it can play for bad behaviour, that Russia (or China, let’s say) doesn’t get?

Anyway, there aren’t enough LNG carriers for Fracknation to supply Germany.  Best COA to reduce Germany’s/Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas is nuclear power, and Europe (or at least Germany) is looking to decommission its nuclear power plants...not a strategically smart move IMO.

Now, if Trump’s actions on the NATO file is actually a well-planned campaign designed to force a transition out of NATO of some of its Eastern fringe, thereby reducing tensions with Russia, I’ll actially give the guy and his team grudging kudos for, albeit indirectly, shaping a stabilized relationship with Russia.

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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #205 on: July 12, 2018, 08:15:12 »
The lack of stability and certainty surrounding Russia was much of NATO’s (and the US in particular’s) own doing.  Looked at through the Russian lens, from Clinton onwards, NATO’s relentless crawl towards Russia’s Western Border can’t be seen as anything else than a deliberate and measured progressive action to gain comfrontatuonal proximity and encroach upon Russia’s terrestrial approaches. Nations (Canada in particular due to deep Ukrainian ties) get harumphy about Crimea, but what of Grenada’s invasion in 1982, etc.?  Does the West have a get out of jail free card it can play for bad behaviour, that Russia (or China, let’s say) doesn’t get?

Anyway, there aren’t enough LNG carriers for Fracknation to supply Germany.  Best COA to reduce Germany’s/Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas is nuclear power, and Europe (or at least Germany) is looking to decommission its nuclear power plants...not a strategically smart move IMO.

Now, if Trump’s actions on the NATO file is actually a well-planned campaign designed to force a transition out of NATO of some of its Eastern fringe, thereby reducing tensions with Russia, I’ll actially give the guy and his team grudging kudos for, albeit indirectly, shaping a stabilized relationship with Russia.

Regards
G2G

Yes and everyone is quick to forget these terribly embarrassing moments:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-ukraine-tape/leaked-audio-reveals-embarrassing-u-s-exchange-on-ukraine-eu-idUSBREA1601G20140207

Obama and Clinton are history but I remember when the Orange Revolution happened, there was some pretty clear evidence that the US was actively involved in orchestrating Regime Change in Ukraine. 


Offline Journeyman

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #206 on: July 12, 2018, 08:25:12 »
Trump is right that Germany cutting a deal for gas with Russia undermines NATO.
I guess we'll have to wait a few days to see Trump's rhetoric/tweets from his Putin meeting;  I'm sure they'll strengthen NATO.  :pop:
Sadly amazed at people cheering on the spread of kakistocracy.   :not-again:

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #207 on: July 12, 2018, 08:37:20 »
We already deploy a heavy unit from CONUS to Germany.Once  in country they can marry up with pre-positioned stocks. Trump is right that Germany cutting a deal for gas with Russia undermines NATO. The US or Canada would sell them the gas they need to stay warm.

https://www.army.mil/article/185234/34_abct_rotates_forces_from_poland_to_germany

Except the grits, likely, won't allow a single gallon or cubic meter to come out of the ground, let alone ship it to Europe.
Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Offline Czech_pivo

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #208 on: July 12, 2018, 08:38:15 »
I know that this thread is focused on NATO and the US but I'd like to ask this question.  What about Trump threatening to kick Canada out of NORAD or reduce our leadership role (i.e. no longer a CDN in 2nd in Command) unless we substantially start to fund/increase our military spending?  I mean, if he's making this much noise about NATO, why not similar noise about NORAD?  Our CF18's are not getting any younger, the timeline to replace them is totally up in the air (and knowing our track record over the last 30+yrs on these things I'm not hopeful) and there is the chance that we'll have nothing at all to contribute to the air defense of NA in another 5-7yrs.... To me, this seems like the golden goose opportunity for Trump to strong arm us into actually spending more.  I wonder if any of the Mandarins in Ottawa have thought about this angle...

Offline Altair

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #209 on: July 12, 2018, 08:52:28 »
I know that this thread is focused on NATO and the US but I'd like to ask this question.  What about Trump threatening to kick Canada out of NORAD or reduce our leadership role (i.e. no longer a CDN in 2nd in Command) unless we substantially start to fund/increase our military spending?  I mean, if he's making this much noise about NATO, why not similar noise about NORAD?  Our CF18's are not getting any younger, the timeline to replace them is totally up in the air (and knowing our track record over the last 30+yrs on these things I'm not hopeful) and there is the chance that we'll have nothing at all to contribute to the air defense of NA in another 5-7yrs.... To me, this seems like the golden goose opportunity for Trump to strong arm us into actually spending more.  I wonder if any of the Mandarins in Ottawa have thought about this angle...
NORAD without Canada is just American flying around in American airspace, no?

I'm sure some people with more knowledge than I will respond, but I would imagine access to Canadian airspace would be rather important to the US.

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Offline whiskey601

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #210 on: July 12, 2018, 08:56:45 »
It seems to me we are are hardly in any position to deny or prevent the US from using our airspace for the very same purposes they use it now, and more.

Offline Czech_pivo

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #211 on: July 12, 2018, 09:01:07 »
NORAD without Canada is just American flying around in American airspace, no?

I'm sure some people with more knowledge than I will respond, but I would imagine access to Canadian airspace would be rather important to the US.

Who's Nuc's do you think are up in the Arctic patrolling under our ice? 
If a threat coming over NA towards the US was occurring, the US would be over our air space well before they asked for our permission....

Offline Altair

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #212 on: July 12, 2018, 09:45:01 »
Who's Nuc's do you think are up in the Arctic patrolling under our ice? 
If a threat coming over NA towards the US was occurring, the US would be over our air space well before they asked for our permission....
It seems to me we are are hardly in any position to deny or prevent the US from using our airspace for the very same purposes they use it now, and more.
Naturally, but NORAD formalizes the process.

I mean, I guess they could kick us out of NORAD, but when it comes to interceptions there may be no coordination. Might be crowded should both the US and Canada respond, and worst yet, get surprised.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 10:01:40 by Altair »
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #213 on: July 12, 2018, 09:46:19 »
I know that this thread is focused on NATO and the US but I'd like to ask this question.  What about Trump threatening to kick Canada out of NORAD or reduce our leadership role (i.e. no longer a CDN in 2nd in Command) unless we substantially start to fund/increase our military spending?  I mean, if he's making this much noise about NATO, why not similar noise about NORAD?  Our CF18's are not getting any younger, the timeline to replace them is totally up in the air (and knowing our track record over the last 30+yrs on these things I'm not hopeful) and there is the chance that we'll have nothing at all to contribute to the air defense of NA in another 5-7yrs.... To me, this seems like the golden goose opportunity for Trump to strong arm us into actually spending more.  I wonder if any of the Mandarins in Ottawa have thought about this angle...

Decades of joint air(space) defence notwithstanding, if America (Trump) wants to go it alone and terminate the NORAD agreement as a clunky 'Art of the Deal' negotiating tactic to get Canada to significantly increase defence spending, he could very well get his (short-term) wish.

Unburdened by that pesky interoperability (with the US) thing, one might even see this in years to come if Macron supports Trudeau in a supportive, vice confrontational Trumpian manner...gone are the days of blind parroting of the "always have and always will be the closest of friends."  There could be a transition from "best friend" to "good/decent neighbour."



For those who say, "No way," we're well into the New Uncertainty World Order, so one should "never say never." :nod:

If America is willing to risk pushing allies away for periods much longer than just the few months it will take to get past the mid-Terms, then it has to realize that these are becoming significantly more possible outcomes.  America can't just file for a "Friendship Chapter 11"...

"On verra."

Regards,
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #214 on: July 12, 2018, 11:50:46 »
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-takes-questions-nato-july-1.4743477

Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO
- CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2018
Canada's PM reacts to Trump saying he convinced NATO allies to increase contributions

Extract: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada hasn't committed to spending new money on defence, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's comments that he convinced NATO allies to dramatically hike spending. Instead, Trudeau said at the wrap of the summit in Brussels, Canada has reaffirmed its commitment to work towards contributing two per cent of its gross domestic product to military spending and reverse any cuts. Trudeau said Canada has been "taking the right approach" on defence spending, pointing to the Liberals' plans to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade to $32.7 billion. "The president has been consistent that he wants to see people spending more on defence in their countries and we are very pleased we are doing that," Trudeau told reporters. "We'll always step up, with cash yes but also with commitments and capacity. That's what NATO is looking for."


I hope this is not another case, the G7 Conf being the first, that Trump thought he had Canada's agreement, then found out that Trudeau said something else at at his presser.

One of the comments at CBC:
Quote
Trudeau has a plan to get Canada’s spending up to 2% of our GDP.  Unfortunately his plan is to reduce our GDP.
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline Altair

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #215 on: July 12, 2018, 12:37:19 »
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-takes-questions-nato-july-1.4743477

Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO
- CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2018
Canada's PM reacts to Trump saying he convinced NATO allies to increase contributions

Extract: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada hasn't committed to spending new money on defence, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's comments that he convinced NATO allies to dramatically hike spending. Instead, Trudeau said at the wrap of the summit in Brussels, Canada has reaffirmed its commitment to work towards contributing two per cent of its gross domestic product to military spending and reverse any cuts. Trudeau said Canada has been "taking the right approach" on defence spending, pointing to the Liberals' plans to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade to $32.7 billion. "The president has been consistent that he wants to see people spending more on defence in their countries and we are very pleased we are doing that," Trudeau told reporters. "We'll always step up, with cash yes but also with commitments and capacity. That's what NATO is looking for."


I hope this is not another case, the G7 Conf being the first, that Trump thought he had Canada's agreement, then found out that Trudeau said something else at at his presser.

One of the comments at CBC:
Trudeau is small stuff, Macron is taking the lead here.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/12/trumps-claim-that-nato-will-boost-defense-spending-disputed.html

Quote
President Donald Trump closed out his chaotic two-day visit to NATO Thursday by declaring victory, claiming that member nations caved to his demands to significantly increase defense spending and reaffirming his commitment to the alliance.

But there were no immediate specifics on what he had achieved, and French President Emmanuel Macron quickly disputed Trump’s claim that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product.

I expect attacks on Macron over twitter shortly.
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #216 on: July 12, 2018, 12:53:55 »
...I expect attacks on Macron over twitter shortly.

I call dibs on "Dishonest" and "Weak" for the next game of Trump Twitter Bingo!  ;D

Offline Thucydides

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #217 on: July 12, 2018, 16:32:40 »
Once again there is a huge element of unreality in the reporting of the events and what is going on. Why, for example is everyone hysterical about President Trump calling for NATO to actually meet their 2% commitments, especially when President Obama had the same talking points:

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/07/09/press-conference-president-obama-after-nato-summit

What is missing in the analysis is, much like the President is upending the post war domestic, trade and diplomatic conventions which are not really applicable to the post Cold War world anymore, he is also taking a position to radically change the Alliance structures as well. Having "allies" which free load off the United States or fail to make meaningful commitments (very recently it was revealed that the German armed forces had only 10 operational fighters. I am looking for the link, but I believe their submarine fleet is also in a similar state of disarray). And the image of arming against Russian aggression while paying the Russians for strategically important items like fuel also provides a bit of cognitive dissonance, you certainly open yourself to a lot more leverage by the Russians, rather than less...

Frankly, I believe this is a team effort by the entire Trump administration, we should actually be looking for evidence of Secretary Mattis, Secretary Pompeo or John Boulton's fingerprints. The President provides the visible public "push" against entrenched interests and ideas, but maybe a far more useful exercise is to examine who and where these "pushes" are directed against, and figure out the desired end goals of the United States. Given the enormous disparity between the economic, hard and soft power of the United States and Canada, it would be especially useful to see where these goals are aligned with our own interests, far better to run alongside the train and jump aboard than to stand in front of it on the tracks with your hands raised attempting to stop it. (This gets to the idea of deciding if we want to be a North American nation or a European one, a very serious discussion will have to be had to truly determine if CETA and TPP actually do provide a sufficient counterweight to North American and American trade. Regardless of what we choose, the United States will always be on our border, and an angry United States without us having any recourse is not going to be a pleasant experience.

Edit to add:
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 16:47:41 by Thucydides »
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #218 on: July 12, 2018, 16:35:17 »
The US pays 3.5% so we would need to increase spending a small amount to hit the 4% mark.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #219 on: July 12, 2018, 17:24:03 »
Once again there is a huge element of unreality in the reporting of the events and what is going on. Why, for example is everyone hysterical about President Trump calling for NATO to actually meet their 2% commitments, especially when President Obama had the same talking points:

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/07/09/press-conference-president-obama-after-nato-summit

What is missing in the analysis is, much like the President is upending the post war domestic, trade and diplomatic conventions which are not really applicable to the post Cold War world anymore, he is also taking a position to radically change the Alliance structures as well. Having "allies" which free load off the United States or fail to make meaningful commitments (very recently it was revealed that the German armed forces had only 10 operational fighters. I am looking for the link, but I believe their submarine fleet is also in a similar state of disarray). And the image of arming against Russian aggression while paying the Russians for strategically important items like fuel also provides a bit of cognitive dissonance, you certainly open yourself to a lot more leverage by the Russians, rather than less...

Frankly, I believe this is a team effort by the entire Trump administration, we should actually be looking for evidence of Secretary Mattis, Secretary Pompeo or John Boulton's fingerprints. The President provides the visible public "push" against entrenched interests and ideas, but maybe a far more useful exercise is to examine who and where these "pushes" are directed against, and figure out the desired end goals of the United States. Given the enormous disparity between the economic, hard and soft power of the United States and Canada, it would be especially useful to see where these goals are aligned with our own interests, far better to run alongside the train and jump aboard than to stand in front of it on the tracks with your hands raised attempting to stop it. (This gets to the idea of deciding if we want to be a North American nation or a European one, a very serious discussion will have to be had to truly determine if CETA and TPP actually do provide a sufficient counterweight to North American and American trade. Regardless of what we choose, the United States will always be on our border, and an angry United States without us having any recourse is not going to be a pleasant experience.

Edit to add:

Excellent find, and I rest my case :nod:

Obama tells 'complacent' Europe to hike military spending

It follows remarks last month in which Mr Obama said European states are “free riders” by demanding the US act in North Africa without putting any “skin in the game”.

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, has said Nato is “obsolete” and the US cannot “afford to be the policeman of the world.”

In Europe, the share of domestic spending on the military has fallen six years running, to an average of 1.4 per cent.

The US spends 3.6 per cent, while the UK spends just above two per cent. At the bottom of the table are Luxembourg (0.47 per cent), Hungary (0.85 per cent) and Spain (0.89 per cent).

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/obama-tells-complacent-europe-to-hike-military-spending/


« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 17:27:24 by daftandbarmy »
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Offline CBH99

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #220 on: July 12, 2018, 17:31:12 »
Just goes to show you how far 'likeability' goes...and how true the saying is that it's usually not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.  (For all of us lucky bastards who are married, I think we all understand just how true that saying is?  Or is that just me?)
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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #221 on: July 12, 2018, 18:42:14 »
Just goes to show you how far 'likeability' goes...and how true the saying is that it's usually not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.  (For all of us lucky bastards who are married, I think we all understand just how true that saying is?  Or is that just me?)

I think I do.

Years ago, a very likeable guy told me that likeability is 90 per cent of the battle.

Not being a good guy. Being a likeable guy. Big difference.  :)

« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 19:29:18 by mariomike »

Offline Infanteer

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #222 on: July 12, 2018, 20:15:00 »
Once again there is a huge element of unreality in the reporting of the events and what is going on. Why, for example is everyone hysterical about President Trump calling for NATO to actually meet their 2% commitments, especially when President Obama had the same talking points:

Its not unreliability in reporting.

Say you and I are neighbours, and you don't cut your grass, even through there is a bylaw saying you should do so.  If I come over and say "Hey, I'm Barry.  I'm going to ask you to mow the lawn and do your part," you're likely to take it a certain way.  If I come over with a big red hat on, s**t on your driveway, finger you and say "mow your f**king lawn," you're likely to take it a certain way.

Yeah, sure - in both cases I asked you to mow the lawn, but that's only half the story.  To refuse to see that other half, or discount its importance and effect, is just being willingly or unwillingly tone-deaf.
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Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #223 on: July 13, 2018, 08:21:43 »
An excellent piece this morning from Robert Kagan.  He points out that NATO has been under extreme pressure for sometime, but that the summit this week spells its death knell.  As NATO crumbles, so shall the rest of the edifice that is the world order of the last 70 years that has delivered unprecedented stability and prosperity.

Quote

Things will not be okay
 
by Robert Kagan July 12 at 4:08 PM 

Human beings often choose self-delusion over painful reality, and so in the days and weeks to come, we will hear reassurances that the NATO alliance is in good shape. After all, there have been spats in the past — over the Suez crisis in 1956, Vietnam in the 1960s and ’70s, missile deployment in the Reagan years and, of course, Iraq. American presidents have been complaining about shortfalls in European defense spending for decades. President Trump is not wrong to criticize Germany’s pipeline deal with Russia. As for this week’s fractious summit, we are urged to focus on the substance, not the rhetoric. U.S. forces in Europe have been beefed up in recent years, and new plans are in place to resist Russian aggression. On the ground, the alliance still functions.

All true, but unfortunately beside the point. Small troop deployments and incremental defense increases don’t mean much when the foundations of the alliance are crumbling — as they are and have been for some time. And pointing to previous differences ignores how much political and international circumstances have changed over the past decade. Europe faces new problems, as well as the return of some of the old problems that led to catastrophe in the past; and Americans have a very different attitude toward the world than they did during the Cold War. This is not just another family quarrel.

The transatlantic community was in trouble even before Trump took office. The peaceful, democratic Europe we had come to take for granted in recent decades has been rocked to the core by populist nationalist movements responding to the massive flow of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. For the first time since World War II , a right-wing party holds a substantial share of seats in the German Bundestag. Authoritarianism has replaced democracy, or threatens to, in such major European states as Hungary and Poland, and democratic practices and liberal values are under attack in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. France remains one election away from a right-wing nationalist leadership, and Italy has already taken a big step in that direction. Meanwhile, Britain, which played such a key role in Europe during and after the Cold War, has taken itself out of the picture and has become, globally, a pale shadow of its former self. The possibility that Europe could return to its dark past is greater today than at any time during the Cold War.

Some of that has to do with the changing attitude of the United States in recent years. It’s little secret that President Barack Obama had no great interest in Europe. Obama, like Trump, spoke of allied “free riders,” and his “pivot” to Asia was widely regarded by Europeans as a pivot away from them. Obama rattled Eastern Europe in his early years by canceling planned missile-defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic as an inducement to Vladimir Putin to embrace a “reset” of relations. In his later years he rattled Western Europe when he did not enforce his famous “red lines” in Syria. Both actions raised doubts about American reliability, and the Obama administration’s refusal to take action in Syria to stem the flow of refugees contributed heavily to the present strain.

Obama was only doing what he thought the American people wanted. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the 2008 financial crisis, left Americans disenchanted with global involvement and receptive to arguments that the alliances and institutions they supported for all those years no longer served their interests. The Obama administration tried to pare back the American role without abandoning the liberal world order, hoping it was more self-sustaining than it turned out to be. But the path was open to a politician willing to exploit Americans’ disenchantment, which is precisely what Trump did in 2016.

NATO has never been a self-operating machine that simply chugs ahead so long as it is left alone. Like the liberal world order of which it is the core, it requires constant tending, above all by the United States. And because it is a voluntary alliance of democratic peoples, it survives on a foundation of public support. That foundation has been cracking in recent years. This week was an opportunity to shore it up. Instead, Trump took a sledgehammer to it.

Never mind the final communique that Trump deigned to sign, or his reassurance at the end that the alliance was “very unified, very strong, no problem,” and or his claim that “I believe in NATO.” In his press comments alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in his tweets and in his private comments to European leaders, Trump made clear that he does not believe in NATO. In fact, he used this summit to lay out for the American people why NATO was not only “obsolete,” as he once said, but also a rotten deal for them.

Consider the question of allied military spending. As many pointed out, Trump could have come to Brussels and taken credit for the increased commitments that the Allies have made — and of course he did force Stoltenberg to give him credit. But then he moved the goal posts. He insisted the 2 percent of gross domestic product mark must be reached not by 2024, as agreed by the alliance (including the United States), but by January — something he knows is impossible. Then he went further, insisting that the allies spend 4 percent of their GDP on defense, higher even than his own defense budget.

These are not negotiating tactics. They are the tactics of someone who does not want a deal. In the private meeting, Trump is reported to have warned the allies that if they did not meet the 2 percent standard by January the United States would “go it alone.” To Stoltenberg he publicly warned that the United States was “not going to put up with it.” Whether he has any intention of making good on such threats scarcely matters. In his tweets, he asked, “What good is NATO” if Germany was paying Russia for gas? Why should the United States pay billions to “subsidize Europe” while it was losing “Big on Trade”? Those comments were not aimed at Europe. They were designed to discredit the alliance in the eyes of his faithful throng back home.

But even Trump must know the likely response in Europe. The insults and humiliations he inflicted on allied leaders will not be forgotten or forgiven. They will make it impossible for European leaders to win public support for the spending Trump disingenuously claims to want. What German leader after such a tongue-lashing could do Trump’s bidding and hope to survive politically?

Any student of history knows that it is moments like this summit that set in motion chains of events that are difficult to stop. The democratic alliance that has been the bedrock of the American-led liberal world order is unraveling. At some point, and probably sooner than we expect, the global peace that that alliance and that order undergirded will unravel, too. Despite our human desire to hope for the best, things will not be okay. The world crisis is upon us.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

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Re: US versus NATO
« Reply #224 on: July 13, 2018, 08:24:59 »
…. the President is upending the post war domestic, trade and diplomatic conventions which are not really applicable to the post Cold War world anymore
Are those conventions applicable to a growing Cold War 2.0 world?



Aside:  Personally, I believe that diplomatic civility is in order 99.9% of the time;  on very rare occasions, lashing out for shock value may provide some impetus, but when it's constant, it wears thin [well, except to those members of 'his base' who think Beavis & Butthead is a documentary, I guess].  When it is constant, commentary like  "watching NATO diplomats deal with President Trump at the NATO summit was like watching psychiatrists deal with a disturbed child" isn't "unreality" or some anti-Trump conspiracy, it's a self-inflicted wound.
Sadly amazed at people cheering on the spread of kakistocracy.   :not-again: