Sunday, March 26, 2017

This Must Be More of That Winning We've Been Hearing About

So who gets to explain to Grampa Walnuts that NATO is not his country club:
We all knew that the White House meeting between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been awkward. But things were even more uncomfortable than we thought. Turns out Trump’s version of diplomacy with one of the country’s most important allies in Europe involves handing over a bill for billions of dollars that the White House believes it owes NATO, according to the Times of London.

One German minister did not hesitate to qualify the invoice as “outrageous,” saying the intent was clear. “The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the minister said.

Although no one confirmed how much the total invoice was for, a calculation by the Times suggests the total was around $312 billion for the shortfall in spending and around $62 billion in interest.
It shouldn't need to be said, but apparently it does -- while NATO has members, in the sense that it is a security alliance, there are no membership dues. The members do not pay x dollars, pounds, or euros to each other or any central administrative entity. No money exchanges hands.

Everyone knows this except the people who are "running" this country, apparently. NATO members pledge to spend at least 2% of their GDP on their respective defense budgets. That's it. Germany, in particular, has actually been discouraged somewhat from ramping up defense spending (in terms of troops and weapons), and pushed in the direction of using more diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. Anyone want to venture a guess as to why that might be?

Even so, Germany is ramping up their defense spending to meet the NATO requirement, so they are complying. Free-riding was an issue with the last administration as well, but because Chocolate Hussein Thunder is an adult, the issue was handled with more (that is to say, in contrast with these morons, any) grace and diplomacy. Since we keep thousands of troops in their country, there are trade-offs here and there, and something (accumulated over many years) that amounts to about half of our annual defense budget is one of those trade-offs. This is shameful anyway; Germany sent 5,000 troops under the NATO agreement to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11, and have lost 57 soldiers over there.

The advantages of being the big dog come with some costs, and this is simply one of those costs. Again, adults and strategic thinkers understand this. God-Emperor Man-Baby and his boozehound grand vizier don't understand anything.

So, uh, sixty-five days in and here we are -- compromised up the wazoo with the Russians, every close ally pissed off at us, no credibility with anyone, already out of juice for domestic policy. If we're lucky, these people will prove to simply be too incompetent to do too much damage, and once get an adult back in the chair, we can repair our damaged credibility with the countries who thought they were our friends. Anyone tired of all that winning yet?

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