Monday, 20 August 2018

Trump’s Criticism of NATO Doesn’t Go Far Enough

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President Donald Trump’s critical remarks about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have been used by his enemies as an example of how out-of-touch he is with the rest of the world. Ignored by his critics is the salient fact that President Trump’s remarks are all true. In fact, rather than going too far, they don’t go far enough.

During the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11, President Trump called out European leaders for not carrying their fair share of the defense budget for NATO, saying that nations such as Germany need to “step it up” in regard to meeting their obligation to spend two percent of their GDP on NATO funding. “These countries have to step it up — not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately,” Trump said, adding, “We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody…. This has been going on for decades. We can’t put up with it and it’s inappropriate.” Going further, he suggested that the goal of two percent — which only five member states are meeting — is insufficient, saying it really should be four percent.  

Much to the chagrin of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the president singled out Germany as an example. “Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” he said, adding, “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” If that weren’t pointed enough, President Trump also told Merkel’s Germany, “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia and yet you make this deal with Russia. Explain that. It can’t be explained.”

Following up with a tweet later that day, President Trump wrote, “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”

The backlash was immediate. Former Secretary of State (and Deep State poster boy) John Kerry called the president’s remarks “strange” and “counterproductive,” and said “It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America” for the president to criticize NATO and call out European leaders the way he did. He added that the president’s criticism showed “woeful ignorance.” EU President Donald Tusk said President Trump needs to “appreciate your allies” who defended America after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Angela Merkel — who was on the receiving end of the bulk of the president’s sharp remarks — said, “I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.”

Photo: selensergen/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

This article appears in the August 20, 2018, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

But there is the rub: While President Trump’s enemies find it perfectly acceptable for Germany to make its “own independent policies” and “own independent decisions” — even when it undermines NATO — they consider it “counterproductive,” “disgraceful,” “destructive,” proof of “woeful ignorance,” and evidence that President Trump does not “appreciate [America’s] allies” for him to demand Germany and other European members of NATO carry their own weight.

“The Core of NATO”

The reality is that President Trump’s remarks are all correct, true, and accurate. But that is not the whole story. The real problem with NATO is one that President Trump did not address — at least not directly.

That issue is what the New York Times correctly called “the core of NATO” — Article 5 of the NATO agreement, which states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

NATO was formed in 1949 reputedly to protect Europe against encroachment by the Soviet Union. NATO originally had 12 members. Each of those members was obligated by the language of Article 5 of the treaty to come to the defense of any other member in the event of an attack. For the United States, this obligation is in direct conflict with Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that Congress shall have the power “to declare war.” Since there is no constitutional provision allowing Congress to delegate this power to another body, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty means that NATO membership is unconstitutional.

To make matters worse, though, the original roster of 12 members has grown to 29, meaning that the United States is now obligated to go to war if any one of 28 nations is attacked. And Congress gets to sit back and allow that to happen — even if the United States is not attacked, and even if the conflict has nothing to do with protecting America’s security. Moreover, any such war would be fought under NATO, which operates as a regional arrangement under the authority of the United Nations.

In an interview on Fox News, President Trump was asked by Tucker Carlson about the idea of a “Defense Guarantee” in the NATO agreement. Carlson asked, “Let’s say Montenegro — which joined [NATO] last year — is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?” President Trump said, “I understand what you’re saying; I’ve asked the same question.” He went on to say of the people of Montenegro, “They may get aggressive, and — congratulations — you’re in World War III.”

After the liberal mainstream media went ballistic, Carlson noted in a subsequent broadcast, “The argument apparently is that because Montenegro has about 20 non-combatants in Afghanistan right now  [acting as members of the NATO training mission there] ... the U.S. has an eternal obligation to spend American money and lives defending Montenegro’s borders.” Carlson accurately described that argument as “idiotic.”

But it is more than “idiotic.” It is a shrewd, calculated play on the part of the Deep State and its internationalist co-conspirators to expend American resources and lives to build a New World Order in which there are no independent nations. Using the framework of the United Nations and its NATO affiliate, Deep State operatives created a situation where the United States is required to ignore its own Constitution and dig its own grave — all while paying its own funeral expenses.

In the 1950s, American soldiers in the Korean War openly fought under United Nations command, which is why American remains returned from that conflict in July were draped in the UN flag. The UN connection is more obscure regarding U.S. soldiers now serving under NATO command, but it is there nonetheless.

Considering the backlash caused by the president’s reasonable remarks, one can only imagine if he had called for what adherence to the Constitution would actually require: U.S. withdrawal from NATO.

Photo: selensergen/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

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