Trump’s Criticism of NATO Ignores the Real Questions

Donald Trump’s bluster at the NATO summit only has to do with money, not whether the alliance serves any genuine security purpose, says Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall
Special to Consortium News

The usual NATO summit begins and ends with U.S. and European leaders issuing platitudes about the unbreakable bonds between Western democracies. The two-day summit that began Wednesday is not the usual NATO summit. President Donald Trump came to Brussels armed with a barrage of insults and Twitter blasts against his ostensible allies.

He gave a public tongue-lashing to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, saying it was unfair for the U.S. to pay the most for protecting Europe while Germany agreed to a new pipeline to import natural gas from Russia. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia,” Trump said. “Germany is totally controlled by Russia.” But Germany turned to Russia after the Trump administration threatened sanctions on Europeans who buy Iranian natural gas. The U.S. also wants to sell more expensive natural gas to Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded bluntly to Trump. “I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union,” she told reporters, “and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good.” 

Trump set the stage for his trademark political brawl at a recent rally in North Dakota, where he declared, “Sometimes our worst enemies are our so-called friends or allies, right?” On the same Western swing, he he told supporters in Montana that Europe “kills us with NATO.” As he left the White House for Europe, the President further trolled America’s traditional allies, noting that between NATO, the UK, and Putin—the three subjects of his visit—“Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?”

Though he has for decades complained that other countries have been taking advantage of the U.S., the key to understanding Trump’s performance toward NATO may be recognizing that it is just that, a performance intended not for European leaders, but his home political base.

Trump’s supporters cheer his macho, nationalist rhetoric. His “politically incorrect” rejection of traditional diplomatic language tells them that he’s the real deal—even as his actual military and security policies remain mostly mainstream. His bullying attitude reaffirms his commitment to the so-called Trump Doctrine: “We’re America, Bitch.”

Trump: Unloading on NATO at breakfast on Wednesday. (NATO photo)

Despite Trump’s confrontational bluster, he joined other NATO leaders in signing off on their previously drafted summit declaration, including measures to upgrade alliance readiness and capabilities in Europe, create new NATO commands in Germany and the United States, promote cybersecurity, and train security forces in Iraq.

The declaration includes a plan by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis for NATO to assemble 30 land battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels capable of deploying in 30 days or less by the year 2020, to defend against a supposed threat from Russia. Moscow sees the plan instead as an offensive provocation.

Despite Trump agreeing to all this, his anti-NATO rhetoric is having a political effect, and not just on the mood of rattled Europeans. In the U.S., supporfor the NATO alliance among Republicans fell five percentage points in the last year to only 47 percent. In contrast, 78 percent of registered Democrats, reflecting the mirror-image polarization of American politics, now support NATO, a gain of 20 percentage points in one year.

Raising Legitimate Questions

Trump’s attacks on NATO—full of misinformation and distortions—have distracted critical attention from legitimate issues about the alliance. What is its mission in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union? Quite apart from the question of cost sharing, does it advance U.S. security and political interests? Could it be replaced without jeopardizing democracies on both sides of the Atlantic?

In the wake of Trump’s attacks, defenders of NATO have tried to educate Americans about its value. (One writer for The Daily Beast associated the alliance with “the greatest achievement of American history.”) What’s most notable, however, is how unconvincing these defenses are.

TheNew York Times, for example, declares that NATO’s worthy “new purpose” in the post-9/11 era has been “helping the United States fight terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and elsewhere.” These interventions outside of NATO territory have all been violations of Article 6 of NATO’s charter, which only authorizes military activity inside member states.

Quite forgotten are previous editorials condemning “deluded thinking about what could be accomplished” if NATO committed more troops to Afghanistan after more than 16 years of war, acknowledging that “the Iraq war was unnecessary, costly and damaging on every level,” and lamenting the many costs of “America’s Forever Wars” in Africa and other theaters since 2001.

From those perspectives, NATO’s support for reckless U.S. interventions abroad should be considered a bug to be erased, not a feature to boast about. And that’s without even considering the disastrous fallout from NATO’s mendacious attacks on Libya, which left that country a failed state, drove jihadists into Syriaunleashed terrorism in Western Europe, and produced a tidal wave of refugees that put the future of the Europe Union at risk.

Similarly unpersuasive argument made in “What America Gets Out of NATO” by former NATO ambassador Nicholas Burns. Burns asserts that “NATO’s formidable conventional and nuclear forces are the most effective way to protect North America and Europe . . . from attack” by Russian meddling with American elections. What would a few hundred million dollars—the price of two or three new F-35 jets—do to harden our voting machines against intrusion by hackers?

And lest you worry about a conventional Russian attack, consider that NATO’s European members are budgeting $286 billion for military spending this year, more than four times as much as Russia.

The “second reason for maintaining the trans-Atlantic alliance is America’s economic future,” Burns says. “The European Union is our country’s largest trade partner, and its largest investor.” But wouldn’t it be easier, and cheaper, to support that relationship by calling off trade wars and reaffirming America’s commitment to the World Trade Organization?

Third,” he continues, “future American leaders will find Europe is our most capable and willing partner in tackling the biggest threats to global security” like climate change. Maybe joining the Paris climate agreement, and joining Europe in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, would be a more effective way to address that truly enormous threat.

Is NATO a Liability?

US soldier watches amphibious rig on the river Neman in Lithuania during US-led exercise Saber Strike 18 last month across the Baltics and Poland. It involved around 18,000 troops from 19 NATO Allies and partners. (NATO photo)

The intellectual poverty behind support for NATO suggests that bureaucratic and special interests (think defense contractors) have had more to do with the alliance’s survival after 1989 than legitimate security threats. But NATO has become more than an expensive relic. It is now a major security liability.

NATO’s relentless Eastward expansion since 1989, growing from 16 member countries to 29 members—most recently with its accession of Lilliputian Montenegro—violated firm promises made by Western leaders to Russia at the time of Germany’s reunification. That march to the East was championed by the aptly named Committee to Expand NATO, a hot-bed of neo-conservatives led by Bruce Jackson, then vice president for planning and strategy at Lockheed Martin, the largest U.S. military contractor.

George Kennan, the dean of U.S. diplomats during the Cold War, predicted accurately that NATO’s reckless expansion could only lead to “a new Cold War, probably ending in a hot one, and the end of the effort to achieve a workable democracy in Russia.”

Proposals for further expansion of NATO to countries such as Georgia and Ukraine along Russia’s borders, as well as its deployment of destabilizing anti-missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, have fed escalating tensions between NATO and Russia and raised the specter of accidental war.

NATO’s vow to bring Ukraine—the largest country on Russia’s western border—into the Western military alliance also contributed to Putin’s decision to partially intervene there in 2014, after a violent putsch ousted the elected, pro-Russian government in Kiev. That intervention, ironically, has become one of the greatest threats cited by NATO supporters to justify its continued existence.

In his 1957 tome Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Harvard professor Henry Kissinger declared that “An alliance is effective only to the extent that it . . . represents an accretion of strength to its members.” To that insight one might add this corollary: An alliance is worth keeping only to the extent that it reduces threats to its members.

By supporting reckless interventions far from NATO’s home, and by provoking needless confrontations with Russia, the Western alliance fails that test. Thoughtful Americans—and Europeans—should step back from President Trump’s rhetoric and NATO’s knee-jerk defenders to consider whether the time has come for a wholesale revamping of the Western alliance.

Jonathan Marshall has been a frequent contributor to Consortium News on NATO and U.S. security.

 

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117 comments for “Trump’s Criticism of NATO Ignores the Real Questions

  1. eric
    July 14, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Trump misses a lot when he criticizes NATO .. He is right that the United States pays to much of the costs . But after all NATO is the North American terrorist Organization . It would be super foolish for any European leader to raise his taxes to get even more money funneled into NATO . Just for a chance to terrorize Russia more . After all Putin already told Germany what he could do to Germany with missiles .Trump is right we do need another branch of military Army, NAVY Air Force and the Space division .Another mistake Trump made was he criticized Germany for buying gas from their closer neighbor Russia . Trump insinuated that United States wanted to liquify American gas and sell that to Germany so Germany would not be controlled by Russia .It sounds to me Trump wants Germany controlled by the United States . What Trump failed to remember the United States buys all their rocket engines from Russia . Now Putin is threatening to not deliver rocket engines that could be used for military purposes against Russia . In spite of the fact western Europe and the United State has a GDP over 100 time greater than Russia’s and maybe spends considerably a lot more on defense Russia controls most of the worlds Uranium , 1000s of nuclear bombs , and unstoppable rockets to deliver the bombs faster than any body else . Frankly I hope Trump colludes with Russia real well . Do you now understand why Russia dared to go to Syria and Putin was not afraid to cut his national defense budget 20 % to between 40 and 50 billion dollars while we spend 1 trillion dollars .NATO has not done one thing that benefited anyone any where for more than the last 25 years just caused a lot of trouble all over the world . actually supported the wrong side more often than not

  2. RoHa
    July 13, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    On reason why the other NATO members have been unenthusiastic about military spending is the US insistence on US made equipment, even when British, German, and French equipment was clearly superior.

    • rgl
      July 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      NATO is *not* a military alliance in the classical sense, it is, in fact, an economic one. Witness USSA angst whenever a NATO ally considers buying military equipment from any country outside the alliance, but predominantly from USSA arms exporters.

      NATO is a mafia clone. Respectability, like a coat of paint, has been applied to NATO practices – that pretty much exclusively fall *outside* Article Five of the NATO charter, not to mention international law. Use paint remover, and what you find is nothing more, and nothing less than a protection racket.

      A protection racket. Nothing more, nothing less. Abolish NATO. And as an aside, Israel out of Palestine.

  3. July 13, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Excellent article. It should though be disbanded and Europe take charge of its own security. The US exploits NATO into many ways for its own self interest.

  4. exiled off mainstreet
    July 13, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I fully endorse the Robert Billyard commentary linked in the first comment to this article. It reveals the extent to which NATO status is far more confining that Warsaw Pact status was in the days of yore and explains the disgraceful subservience of the NATO states to the odious yankee regime.

  5. exiled off mainstreet
    July 13, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I hope that Trump’s behaviour ends up being a key step towards the dissolution of the NATO imperium, which is the method the yankee structure keeps control over its satellite countries. They should all say well, if you want to expel me if we’re not going to spend a huge amount on militarism, they we’ll quit. Italy should lead the charge, followed by the Visegrad states followed by Germany once the coalition collapses. It is too bad that all major Canadian political parties seem to be following yankee dictates in their foreign policy, and the Canadian official media is dangerously disgraceful in how it handles Russian affairs.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 13, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      exiled – “They should all say well, if you want to expel me if we’re not going to spend a huge amount on militarism, they we’ll quit.”

      I think this is exactly what Trump wants, the disbanding of NATO. He’s drawing people’s attention to the costs involved. I had no idea how much it was costing until Trump started in with his antics and I started reading about it. He’s not as stupid as everyone thinks he is. He’s trying to throw a wrench in the works.

      Same with tariffs. With his being rude to other countries, he’s drawing attention to the real culprits – the U.S. multinationals. Either bring the jobs back home or pay the tariffs. Your choice. At least with tariffs, the social costs of people losing their jobs (increased welfare and entitlements) will be covered.

      • eric
        July 14, 2018 at 4:15 am

        So my steal went up about 25 % but my soybeans went down 20% It looks like to me I’am going to be paying the tariff both ways I don’t think Trump realizes the little guy can’t fights the big organizations . I recall when Russia bought American wheat . They first went on the board of trade and purchased futures than later they started buying wheat the grain companies complained to the government . The U.S. government paid the American grain companies loses . Russia went home with the wheat and the cash The grain companies are already lowering the prices to me .now when China buys it and takes another 20 % off we will get stair stepping as everybody lowers their bid by 20 % Farm products have no floor price that represents the cost of production . We have to sell or the stuff will spoil Oh well we voted for Trump so I suppose we should pay for his mistakes .

    • Dave P.
      July 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      An Excellent article. Thanks for the post.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      Robert Billyard – good article. I agree that Trudeau is an idiot. No way his father would have done this.

      “Trump on the other hand is the ultimate power broker who glories in the bullying exercise of it and he is utterly contemptuous of weakness in others-he feeds on it. The Empire practices the most invidious self-serving parasitism as it feeds off friend and foe alike. Trump is so brazen he is already threatening to raise defense spending for NATO members from the present 2% of GDP to 4%.”

      Almost everyone on this site sees Trump as a bully. I don’t see this. Trump does not like war, and what he IS contemptuous of is NATO. He thinks it unnecessary and, like his views on war, a waste of lives and money. But through his loud-mouthed behavior, he is trying to draw the public’s attention to the ridiculous costs involved and get them to ask whether NATO is really necessary. If he could wave a magic wand, he’d disband it tomorrow, but he can’t because he’s up against some very powerful interests who want it to remain. 4% of GDP would certainly get people’s attention, wouldn’t it? NATO might be disbanded over that kind of money.

      Trump has previously said that Russia is no threat, and he took great heat for this. When asked what he thought of Russia meddling in the U.S. election (which didn’t happen), he responded with something like, “Yeah, and we don’t do this too?”

      He’s doing the same thing with the tariffs. He’s blowing hard and accusing other countries of this and that, but he doesn’t really fault these other countries; he knows it is not their fault. What he’s really doing is going after the U.S. multinationals who took jobs to countries where they could employ slave-wage labor and enjoy no environmental controls. He’s trying to get them to bring jobs back. “Tariffs cause a margin and profit squeeze for Corporate America. And this margin squeeze will motivate Corporate America to bring production back.” You watch them bring those jobs back! He is forcing them to.

    • July 13, 2018 at 3:24 pm

      My July 12 comment is awaiting moderation. Meanwhile: Read closely online dispatches from the New York Times and The Guardian of Feb. 20 and 21, 2014 from Kiev to see for yourself that paramilitary rightist extremists broke a truce, surprised off-guard police and set in motion a process that drove an elected president from East Ukraine from office. You will see that Higgins and Kramer in the New York Times played up the truce-breaking as the Government firing on Maidan demonstrators. You will also see that the German and Polish foreign ministers were in Kiev negotiating with the government on behalf of the governmental opposition just before the elected government fell. Were Poland and Germany using the NATO shield to pursue their particular interests? Chancellor Merkel has renewed the historic German-Russian competition in Eastern Europe and also has shattered European unity with her unrealistic illegal immigration policies.

  6. chris moffatt
    July 13, 2018 at 9:13 am

    NATO provides nothing more than the provincial levies for the empire. Why shouldn’t the empire pay for them? They don’t provide anything to their own countries. Europe does not need protection that could not be provided by an all-european force without the USA. As for my homeland of Canada NATO is worthless to us. I have always considered that the nation most likely to attack us is the USA. What price NATO in that event?

  7. bozhidar balkas
    July 13, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Germany less a captive of Russia than of the US and Israel? And Russia less a captive of China than US, Nato, or Israel or Zionism? Any intelligence out there to tell me?

  8. F. G. Sanford
    July 13, 2018 at 3:42 am

    I’ve been mulling over that 2% issue and wondering just how the “real-estate” issue figures into Europe’s contribution to NATO. The US maintains a presence at scores of overseas bases in Europe, many of them in prime locations which would otherwise be ripe for commercial, agricultural or tourism development, and I’m not sure who pays the rent. In one of those prime locations many years ago, a couple of American pilots were “hotdogging” through picturesque alpine valleys in an A-6 Intruder.

    For those not familiar, the A-6 is an all-weather incursion bomber. At the time, the only thing in the American arsenal that carried a bigger bomb payload was a B-52. So, as you can imagine, “joyriding” in such a vehicle might have been annoying enough. But to add insult to injury, they hit a cable carrying a gondola car full of skiers going up to the slopes. As I recall, 21 people died.

    The A-6 is not a “defensive” weapon system. Which brings us to the F-35. In the old days, fighters had two significant roles: flying bomber escort, and defending against enemy bombers. With all the “stealth” bombers now online, one may wonder why we need “stealth” fighters. If stealth works, why would those bombers need an escort? But we’ve also heard about the newly developed B-61 nuclear “gravity bomb”, a nuclear device that can presumably be carried in the weapons bay of a supersonic “stealth” fighter. Forget about ABM treaties, missile defense, tactical nuclear weapons, ICBMs, MIRVs and all that. The F-35 is a lousy fighter plane, but it would appear to constitute a cleverly designed and very effective nuclear “first-strike” weapon which, uh…”flies under the radar”, so to speak.

    So, NATO has countries like Romania, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, the Baltics and the Balkans lined up to be “allies” which will provide real-estate to house nuclear first-strike capability. Of course, that makes them prime targets for preemptive elimination.

    And, we expect them to pay for that privilege?

    • B.M. Watson
      July 13, 2018 at 5:56 am

      Quite Right!
      We hear President Trump criticising European NATO countries for not
      contributing to the costs of the organisation.

      A figure frequently quoted is that the U.S. pays three quarters of the cost of NATO!

      But how much of this figure is actually just contained within the global Defence cost of the U.S.,
      it would be spent even if the U.S. left NATO.

      Surely the European counties, in addition to the costs of their fighting resources in NATO, also contribute with
      their ‘Fixed Assets ‘of Military, Naval and Air Bases, all of which are used by the U.S. for NATO
      and none NATO operations?

  9. uncle tungsten
    July 13, 2018 at 2:40 am

    I have news for NATO. REAL news not fake news. The Saudis are the enemy, the Saudis attacked the twin towers on 9/11. The Saudis fund and supply ISIS. The Saudis are the BIG problem. NATO is a gang of deluded belligerents. Deconstruct and demolish this parasite.

  10. John G
    July 13, 2018 at 2:33 am

    Germany sets its own destiny? Very funny, Frau Merkel.

  11. Cratylus
    July 13, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Oops.
    I thought that I posted this earlier but I guess I forgot to press “post comment.”
    Here it is again:
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/12/trumps-criticism-of-nato-ignores-the-real-questions/#comment-331369

    MY COMMENT as Cratylus

    Marshall writes: “Trump’s attacks on NATO—full of misinformation and distortions—have distracted critical attention from legitimate issues about the alliance. What is its mission in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union? Quite apart from the question of cost sharing, does it advance U.S. security and political interests? Could it be replaced without jeopardizing democracies on both sides of the Atlantic?”
    Then he goes on to discuss all these questions AND to cite lame defenses of NATO by The Daily Beast, the NYT and Nicholas Burns. And antiwar sites have been full of arguments on the other anti-NATO side in recent days.
    That is, Trump’s “rhetoric” provoked exactly the kind of discussion that Marshall claims has not been initiated. Marshall in fact is responding nicely to the call for discussion that Trump has been trying to provoke since he declared NATO obsolete and which Marshall is looking for.
    Instead of sneering at Trump and his Deplorables, perhaps Marshall might see them as his allies in ridding ourselves of NATO and the Cold War – even if he can find them as allies in nothing else.

  12. Hide Behind
    July 12, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    The US cannot rule world with just US military men and supplies, and as it. grows ever more military outpost the use of ever higher % of US economy grows e,ponentially.
    Trump, with this trade war and demand upon NATO nations is no different from ancient empires demanding tribute of their CONQUERD nations and territories.
    No different either in how the Satelite rations gained from living under the Empires umbrella, as by each new conquest those Satelite places gain “shares of new wealth.
    European NATO and NATO WANNABE’s are already sending military supies, equipment and troop to conquer and subjugate nation US wants.
    Far afield from purpose NATO was Founded upon and despite Hypocrites of NATO nations leaders and populaces bullsh.. of Independence, they are but minlr fiefdoms kissers to US Empire.
    Trump has not just a Right but all of the US financial and military power to demand of the tithes and obeyance by. NATO nations.
    Look at reality, not some gov indoctrinated delusions of ancient individual or national sovereignty, those days are long dead and will never return.
    Freedom and Liberty is only for the brave who can steal enough space from within the NWO.

  13. Pft
    July 12, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Anyone believe military spending goes down post NATO? It goes up, not down. NATO’s main purpose is aimed at Russia and the Middle East. Need bases in Europe for that. Without NATO we probably have to pay to stay or purchase more equipment to compensate for the lack of a European footprint

    • rgl
      July 12, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      NATO’s mandate states only that Article 5 is actionable only in case of attack on one of it’s members. You need bases in Europe to keep the knuckles to EU states contributing to amerikkka’s only functioning industry – it’s arms industry. For no other reason.

      You presume too much.

    • anona
      July 13, 2018 at 8:31 am

      The point is to eliminate NATO so that we do not pay for aggressions against Russia and in the Mideast. Maybe you have a photo of the invisible Russian tanks in Ukraine? Or an argument that we must help Israel steal land and subjugate the Palestinians?

  14. July 12, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Despite Trump’s inconsistent moves, at least things are getting shaken up, including the North Atlantic Terror Organization. Obama, Clinton, Bush, all the rest supported the disastrous status quo killing machine the US and NATO became.

    The old boys of NATO can’t see their gravy train disrupted, can they? They are living in the past and can’t get into a new century where cooperation and peace are necessary, not just to prevent nuclear weapons use but also to protect our planet they have participated in savaging. Their pea-sized minds just can’t wrap their heads around a new reality of humanity actually getting along.

    Stephen Lendman in Global Research reports that the NATO meeting has just issued a statement condemning Russia for its “invasion of Ukraine” and annexation of Crimea. We know what a Pinocchio lie that is, inverted reality…

    Thank you, Stephen J., for the information about the assassination of the NATO auditor in 2016. It seems the NATO books are cooked and they are deeply corrupt.

    Good comments, Miranda.

    • christina garcia
      July 12, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      as if trump is not corrupt

  15. July 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    unlike the other side of our great democracy’s lesser evil sweepstakes which always does the wrong thing for the wrong reason, trump’s pinhead virtue is that he occasionally does the right thing for the wrong reason…no leader of the demublicans ever met with the head of state of north korea and no republicrat would think of having even a theatrically pleasant relationship with putin…these have at least provoked discussions and occasional new thought among some american, while too many labelled liberal or progressive – which has come to mean left of hitler, at least slightly – take up reactionary positions formerly the property of the right..focus on trump, which established power insists on since he is a threat to the system by virtue of his outspoken and blunt advocay for the hypocritical garbage that they cover with legends, platitudes, fake news, mind management and consciousness control, helps keep thoughts way from a failing system..he is bad, but the system is far more dangerous and the sooner we wake up from the barrage of programmed hysteria about nothing and personality profiles of villainy or heroism the better for our future.

  16. July 12, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    2011

    Defense Secretary Warns NATO of ‘Dim’ Future

    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/world/europe/11gates.html

  17. July 12, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Several thoughts from me:

    1) “In the U.S., support for the NATO alliance among Republicans fell five percentage points in the last year to only 47 percent. In contrast, 78 percent of registered Democrats, reflecting the mirror-image polarization of American politics, now support NATO, a gain of 20 percentage points in one year.”

    So many Democrats and Republicans are just sheep. They don’t have their own critical thinking skills but simply believe what they are told by their party leaders and pundits. This really upsets me about my cultural liberal friends. We used to be so simpatico on so many things, but now they simple react against anything that Trump does that they are for exporting jobs to China, for escalating a new Cold War with Russia, and for regime change in Syria. It’s very disappointing and enough to make me give up hope for any real change in this nation.

    2) It seems the tension in all of this between NATO countries is whose natural gas is bought in Europe. What the hell? Maybe it’s time to stop arming and building up tensions between nations and spend all that money on stopping burning fossil fuels that dump carbon into the atmosphere and using solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal energy instead. This current tension is as absurd as if they were arguing over who gets to sell the arsenic to Europe to put in the drinking water.

    3) NATO wasn’t just unnecessary after the USSR collapsed. It was unnecessary in the Truman administration when they instead threw away peace and cooperation with a Soviet Union that had no interest or plans on invading Western Europe. NATO and the Cold War never was a response to an aggressive USSR, it always was based on US aggression. Imagine for a moment if the so called Berlin crisis had taken place in an East Berlin surrounded by western occupation zones and the USSR flew in supplies? Does anyone really thing the West would have just smiled and let it happen?

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Your point (3) about the USSR having no plans of aggression after WWII could be debated, as definitions of aggression vary. The US mass media and its sheep, saw great “loss” in the Chinese revolution, and saw aggression in Korea and Vietnam, where apparently communism was simply the tool of anti-colonial revolutions. The US right wing envisioned diabolical designs in Czechoslovakia, Italy, Cuba, Nicaragua, etc., claiming that threats to itself were threats to democracy, and meanwhile destroyed democracy by bribing politicians and buying up mass media.
      Aggressive foreign wars cover a lot of domestic aggression.

    • Realist
      July 13, 2018 at 12:08 am

      “So many Democrats and Republicans are just sheep. They don’t have their own critical thinking skills but simply believe what they are told by their party leaders and pundits. This really upsets me about my cultural liberal friends. We used to be so simpatico on so many things, but now they simple react against anything that Trump does that they are for exporting jobs to China, for escalating a new Cold War with Russia, and for regime change in Syria.”

      You speak a great but disturbing truth here, Miranda. It’s why I first collect facts and analyse the situation myself before I jump on anyone’s bandwagon. The idea is getting it right, discovering what is true, just and fair, not just being part of a “winning” team. The Democratic party has lately proven itself to be in no way superior on an intellectual or moral level than the Republicans. They obviously care only about exercising power, though it may be in the service of evil, cost lives and make existence miserable for millions of human beings. Madeleine Albright may have convinced legions of Democrats to believe that such trades are “worth it,” as her acolyte Hillary took the outrages to even greater heights of madness, but I could never go along with that thinking. I cannot graze with the sheeple of either American “mainstream” party, both of which have abandoned truth, justice and humane action long ago. Both just want raw naked power for their elite patrons no matter the collateral damage done to all others and to the Earth itself.

      Thanks for the reminder that we are each individually responsible for whatever ideas we come to believe and profess, and are not entitled to merely shift the blame to some expedient notion of group think when the faulty constructs fall apart and damage other people.

  18. Steve
    July 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Good article,

    “The New York Times, for example, declares that NATO’s worthy “new purpose” in the post-9/11 era has been “helping the United States fight terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and elsewhere.” These interventions outside of NATO territory have all been violations of Article 6 of NATO’s charter, which only authorizes military activity inside member states.”

    I didn’t know that.

    Seems NATO has strayed from it’s charter; bit of an old boys club.

    • July 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      @ “These interventions outside of NATO territory have all been violations of Article 6 of NATO’s charter, which only authorizes military activity inside member states.”

      That’s a misreading of the NATO treaty. Article 6 has an extraterritorial reach and only gives an example rather than limiting NATO’s power. See “is deemed to include” phrase in that Article, which does not exclude armed attacks elsewhere: https://www.nato.int/cps/ie/natohq/official_texts_17120.htm

      Article 6:

      “For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

      “on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France 2, on the territory of Turkey or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;

      “on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.”

      However, Mr. Marshall might have instead made the point that the treaty requires that an armed attack be made on one of the member states or its forces before the right of collective defense arises. Article 5:

      “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 recognised 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.”

      In other words, the treaty does not contemplate joint action to wage wars of aggression, only defense. But wars of aggression are what its forces were used for in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

      • Sam F
        July 12, 2018 at 6:56 pm

        Rewriting the treaty would allow us to block some of the abuses explicitly, but the US dictatorship of the rich does not care about the words of treaties any more than those of the Constitution. Only the protection of democratic institutions and mass media from economic power will stop the warmongers. And that may unfortunately require war in some form at some point.

        • rgl
          July 13, 2018 at 1:58 pm

          Unfortunately Sam, you are very correct. Amerikkka is entirely untrustworthy. It’s spoken word, incredible. Treaties and pacts? Broken on a whim.

          We – whomever that refers to – could rewrite the (NATO) charter to specifically prohibit extra-territorial adventurism, however, the USSA will do what the USSA believes is in it’s best interest. Well and good, a country SHOULD look to it’s own.

          However, if a treaty, pact, MOU, whatever, is inked, it is acceptable to believe that the parties would abide by it’s charter.
          This is NOT the case with amerikkka. Entirely untrustworthy, outright deceitful, and just plain mean on top of it.

          Any agreement inked with amerikkka is not worth the paper it is written on. Just say NO.

    • christina garcia
      July 12, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      true, but do you want mr game show host calling for tv appearances?

  19. jaycee
    July 12, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    “The intellectual poverty behind support for NATO suggests that bureaucratic and special interests (think defense contractors) have had more to do with the alliance’s survival after 1989 than legitimate security threats.”

    This was confirmed by the National Security Archives’ release of documents earlier this year concerning the promises to not enlarge NATO circa 1990/91. George HW Bush several times, within these documents, reacts to the then current public discussion of a “peace dividend” concurrent with the end of the Cold War as a notion, in his mind, which is crazy and something to be refuted. There will always be a “threat” requiring large military expenditures, he explains.

    NATO, in the years since, has worked hard to ensure these “threats”. NATO’s core mission is the sale of military hardware and expensive positioning of troops and attendant infrastructure – as can be deduced from the public statements of its leadership.

    https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early

  20. Lester D
    July 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    I wish that Bjorn was right, but sadly he is dead wrong. One needs to only watch the current NATO meeting where European “leaders” are lining-up to kiss Trump’s ring in a way reminding us of how Republican leaders did the same after resisting his deranged raving for only a few months. The cowardice of European lickspittle politicians easily equals if not exceeds the idiocy of American officialdom. It wouldn’t cost them a Euro to tell Trump they’re done with him but they won’t. Their cowardice, in this case, seems almost genetic. And so “perpetual war”, one of our very few contributions to 21st century civilization, abetted by our little european helpers, continues unimpeded and victorious.

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      No doubt the leaders of Europe are elected by the same legalized bribery as in the US. The problem is fake democracy, with institutions unprotected from economic power. The dictatorship of the rich is of nearly every nation where not transnational. They will do what maximizes bribes, whatever maximizes short-term business gains.

    • Dave P.
      July 12, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Lester D – Great comments.

      “. . . The cowardice of European lickspittle politicians easily equals if not exceeds the idiocy of American officialdom . . .”

      You have put it rather mildly about these European leaders and high functionaries. Sitting there around the table in front of Trump, and in other scenes there as well, like little school children being scolded and tongue lashed, they look so meek, submissive, and scared. What an abject behavior! Watching the news videos of NATO meeting one notices Trump looking contemptuously at all these leaders. And yet they go out there and talk about being free, and democratic, law abiding and supposedly civilized – which according to them Russians are not – and all that nonsense.

      And there was Angela Merkel talking about how bad it was in East Germany and how happy she is now. In stead of thanking Russians and Mr. Gorbachev for ending her supposedly miserable life, she bears lot of responsibility for putting that Neo-Nazis in power in Ukraine, and erecting a Berlin Wall there between South Eastern Ukraine and Russia separating families and friends who had lived there for centuries in the same land in one Country. As far as I watched the scene during those days, East Germany being Soviet Union’s rather affluent, and most advanced satellite State, Russians rather paid deference to East Germans.

  21. Bruce Dickson
    July 12, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Europe does, indeed, need protection – but from the US, not from Russia. That fact gets clearer every year.

    • Linda Wood
      July 12, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      That’s exactly how a protection racket works.

    • July 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      I have been waiting for someone to say this!

      • christina garcia
        July 12, 2018 at 9:57 pm

        Our “leaders” will not say a peep because they all benefit from this. I guess the only good thing trump did was expose his own evil and vile acts, along with everyone else. Djt is the new superstar Do we believe what they say he is? He certainly believes

        it.

  22. Roger Ehrlich
    July 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    If only the US would call for a treaty deal where in return for current NATO countries spending more to ‘defend themselves’ the US would spend less on military operations in Europe and more on American infrastructure to rebuild America on a dollar for dollar basis! Trump’s average supporter would support that I would guess more than establishment Democrats. It would be opposed by MIC lobbyists obviously but has anyone prominent suggested anything like that?

    • Realist
      July 12, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      And a logical extrapolation of such thinking would be a signed agreement between the United States and Russia to both commence nuclear and conventional disarmament, with pledges to never fire the first shot in a war against the other. And, as long as we’re doing such things, let’s lasso in China on the deal. No kinetic wars ever again. Wasn’t that to be the purpose of the UN when founded after the last war to end ’em all? Seems to me, “never again” was the favored platitude to sum up the sentiment. The only problem with believing this could ever happen is that Washington’s credibility is worth squat, especially after wiping its arse with the very detailed treaty it signed with Iran, which that country has honored to a fare thee well. Russia has punctiliously adhered to all international laws and its signed agreements. To ensure peace, I think China would continue to eschew war as it has for the last 65 years. The only major player whose word has been repeatedly no damned good would be Washington. Apparently, the United States is the country that most needs regime change, and that means those in charge of the Deep State, not just the figurehead in the White House. No mere election will accomplish that.

      • Sam F
        July 13, 2018 at 8:41 am

        Very true.

  23. July 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    I believe what we saw at the NATO meeting in Brussels was a number of war criminals, who should be arrested. Instead they are pampered and fed, and appear on the so-called “world stage,” and spout words like “democracy” and “rule of law.” Then the whole gang get their picture taken at the Billion Dollar war palace paid for by taxpayers monies. The system is sick and corrupt. See more at article link below.
    ————————————————————–
    April 14, 2018
    “A Ménage à Trois of War Criminals”

    The “leaders” of the U.S,. Britain and France formed an illegal coalition and bombed Syria April 13, 2018. Their sycophants in the media mostly parroted approval of this illegal act which is a war crime and a violation of international law.

    Therefore, the question is this: when are these war criminals going to be arrested along with other past and present world leaders that have participated in other illegal wars? The slaughtered children of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Gaza, Yemen and other countries cry from their graves for justice. Mass arrests are needed of this vermin that hold, and have held positions of power in their so-called “houses of democracy.” Their crimes must not be ignored or forgotten….
    [read more at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-menage-trois-of-war-criminals.html

    • robjira
      July 12, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Here here.

  24. John McCarthy
    July 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Progressives should be supporting calls for the United States to bear less of the total burden of NATO, and should be supporting talk of reducing American Troop levels in Europe or anywhere else. Even if the person proposing it is Trump. We don’t have to apologize for agreeing with him when he is right. We can both oppose him on all the stuff where he is wrong and at the same time support him where he is right. The Left is screwing up a potential chance for very important and necessary change out of fear of being painted as pro-Trump. This is more than tragic. It is criminal.

    • Roger Ehrlich
      July 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Right on! See comment I just posted.

    • mbob
      July 12, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      I agree entirely. The left is (or rather the democrats are) screwing up big time. Knee-jerk anti-Trumpism reflects extraordinarily poorly on democrats and even on progressives. Trump is not a traditional republican. We now have opportunities that we wouldn’t have had under any other republican. Hell, we have opportunities that wouldn’t have existed under Obama or any other democrat.

      Peace with Russia and N. Korea are unlikely, but more possible than before. Sane trade policies that don’t accelerate the decimation of US working and middle classes are also unlikely, but no longer off the table. Correcting our military mission (the subject of this article) is also possible. Trump is not entirely wrong about immigration issues either. (I’m convinced that he correctly believes that immigration is a losing issue for democrats. The democratic mainstream is full steam anti-Trump, but the rest of the country has (justified) misgivings about current policies. For example, abolishing ICE won’t sell.) And Trump is not wrong for pointing out “legitimate” media manipulations. While I do think Trump is terrible on the ACA, he has actually recently said (and I think he believes) that Medicare for All makes sense. That’s more than Clinton acknowledged. Of course Trump *is* terrible on climate change.

      Trump is untrustworthy and corrupt. But he’s not an innate hawk and he is not a neoliberal/globalist. His policies are frequently more anti-corporate than anything we’ve seen for decades. He goes around his party’s elites to reach out to his base. (I can’t think of a democrat who does that.) And one can’t help but believe that a lot of opposition to Trump is not due to his character flaws, but because he potentially poses more of a threat to elite agendas than anyone in memory.

      I’m not trying to defend Trump; it’s just that I emphatically agree with you.

      • Dave P.
        July 12, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        mbob – Excellent comments. I agree.

        “Trump is untrustworthy and corrupt. But he’s not an innate hawk and he is not a neoliberal/globalist. His policies are frequently more anti-corporate than anything we’ve seen for decades. He goes around his party’s elites to reach out to his base. (I can’t think of a democrat who does that.) And one can’t help but believe that a lot of opposition to Trump is not due to his character flaws, but because he potentially poses more of a threat to elite agendas than anyone in memory.”

        Yes. Right on the mark.

        • Realist
          July 12, 2018 at 10:59 pm

          Indeed. It has turned out that Democrats are the ones willing to destroy the country to “save it,” because they refuse to do nuance. They insist upon assuming a completely Manichean world in which they are right in every possible way and their defined opposition is thoroughly wrong in every possible matter, with never a redeeming feature. With never any common ground. Their sole tactic in fighting such an enemy is its unrelenting demonization, no matter we all end up destroyed.

          • Gregory Herr
            July 13, 2018 at 6:11 pm

            And it is equally disturbing that, under the veneer or smokescreen of “opposition”, lies the fact that both parties actually support, by-and-large, the same policies, both foreign and domestic.

          • Realist
            July 14, 2018 at 1:46 am

            Exactly, and ain’t that a hoot?

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Yes, although it is the Dems not the left who hate Trump right or wrong, as they are just a facade of dictatorship by the rich. The Dems have not been the left since FDR.

  25. Loretta
    July 12, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Europe would be more than glad to dissolve NATO, which has turned into an agent and vassal of USA warmongering. The Europeans are sich and tired of NATO, its wars and American arm twisting and worse. Arriderci, ciao, auf Wiedersehen, salut, au revoir, adieu, good bye, hola, tschüss etc, etc, etc

    • T
      July 13, 2018 at 5:34 am

      > Europe would be more than glad to dissolve NATO,

      I wish that were true — but it is certainly not true of the governments of the European members of NATO (and the other governments that would like to join NATO).

      > The Europeans are sich and tired of NATO,

      Unfortunately, this is a minority even among the citizenry.

  26. Steve Ruis
    July 12, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Well, duh! Have you ever known Mr. Trumps criticisms to be well-reasoned, well-thought out, well-advised, or reasonably coherent. I am waiting for some world leader to start the process of just dismissing things Mr. Trump says (“Response? I have no response. I do not respond to comments made by someone who says whatever is on top of his head at the moment, no matter how poorly thought out or incoherent those thoughts are.” or maybe “Oh, the foolish things he just blurts out!”)

  27. Randal Marlin
    July 12, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    “Trump’s attacks on NATO—full of misinformation and distortions—have distracted critical attention from legitimate issues about the alliance. ” Well said!
    Before the U.S. calculates its military might, factoring in all the military contributions in the NATO alliance, it should bear in mind Article 7 of the Treaty: “This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.” When questioned about this provision, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg told an Ottawa audience on April 4 that he recognized the force of this provision, but he also distinguished between the legal and the political and how interpretations can “evolve.” His answer is online, available on the website of the sponsoring organization, the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) at the University of Ottawa.
    What NATO member countries need to sort out in advance is how they should respond if a member country is attacked in response to an aggressive action by that member country. The U.S. has shown itself capable of engaging in provocative acts, sometimes with fabricated pretexts, as a way of starting a war.

    • Randal Marlin
      July 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      The URL for the above is http://www.cips-cepi.ca/event/town-hall-discussion-with-natos-secretary-general/

      His response comes at the very end of his talk, in case you want to skip the rest.

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      Good point that NATO members should decide “how they should respond if a member country is attacked in response to an aggressive action” given that US bullying is its growth industry along with lying, cheating, stealing, harassment, and vandalism.

    • Realist
      July 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      Based on their rhetoric, it sounds like Poland or any one of the Baltic republics are ready to start WWIII on a moment’s notice. If Ukraine is really allowed into the the NATO madhouse, Armageddon will commence concomitantly with the signed paper work. To all those extreme Russophobic countries, NATO exists more as a pretext for war than as a deterrence. For them, as long as Russia is destroyed in the war, it will be well worth the price even if they and the entire civilised world are totally destroyed as well. That’s the thinking I hear when the leader of Estonia brags about all the dead Russians there will be when Russia invades Tallinn.

  28. July 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Trump has a beef with NATO. I have a beef with NATO and Trump. Trump complains that Europeans don’t pay their fair share to NATO expenses, but the U.S. pays to keep NATO alive voluntarily when there is no need for it. Instead of disbanding at the demise of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, NATO has grown exponentially to encircle and threaten Russia and participate in Amercian wars in the middle east, mostly at the behest of the U.S. whose defense-industrial complex profits handsomely. My guess is that most Europeans would gladly get rid of NATO but U.S. warmongers are constantly dredging up plans for war with imaginary threats so that we can spend obscene amounts of money on weapons systems, munitions, fuel and military operations world wide – thus enhancing the profits of numerous corporations.

    Let’s get over it. WWII, the cold war, the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and the Communist boogeyman are all dead and gone. Let’s put an end to this facade, end NATO, bring our troops home from Europe, and spend the money where it will do more good.

    • July 12, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      You seem willing to make some billionaires unhappy. Shame on you.

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      Exactly.

  29. July 12, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Of course when one applies a more long-term perspective what we see with NATO and it’s “new” mission is simply the continuation of 500+ years of the West dominating and exploiting the rest of the planet with massive genocidal level violence. Just because the U.S. as the most powerful former “colony” leads the parade currently doesn’t change the fact that western Europe has also been party to the continued neocolonial pillage of the Middle East and Africa, formerly under the mantle of “fighting communism,” and now updated to “fighting terrorism,” but of course when helpful the mind-bending – “duty to protect” – trope and and is also pulled out. Now we bomb and kill you in order to “save you.” How can one contest such surreal logic? One cannot help but be impressed by the level of moral corruption combined with sheer idiocy necessary for anyone to find the West anything but a disaster for all of humanity.

    • July 12, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Spending on the military is the chief prop of the US economy. The US government could drastically cut that spending and use it instead for domestic purposes, but that would mean spending money on the poor and the working class. Strictly a no-no. Neither party wants to do that.

    • Dave P.
      July 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Gary Weglarz – Your excellent brief summary, as always, depict an accurate and true picture of the Western Empire.

      I simply do not understand why it has to be this way, when with its Wealth and its unparalleled technological and scientific advancement, The West could have built a better World in the this last century.
      I have been telling to the people here, including my own wife, for more than half a century but they simply don’t get it, including in my own home. I believe it is the power of propaganda just like it was in Hitler’s Germany. It is the same here and elsewhere in Europe now. Being a Hillary fan, my wife watches CNN, MSNBC and all the other political Garbage on some other Channels and believes that Russia and Putin have destroyed our democracy by interfering in our elections and electing Trump. It is result of the propaganda/brainwashing starting in very young age.

  30. Stephen P
    July 12, 2018 at 11:44 am
  31. Deniz
    July 12, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Versus Obama, calling on the Europeans to bolster NATO to deter expansionist Russia over Ukraine and using NATO to invade Libya Syria and Afghanistan? Or George, the lesser recruiting all of Eastern Europe into NATO?

    The current rhetoric represents a vast improvement; perhaps that is as far as Trump can go without having a JFK moment.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 13, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      Deniz – “…perhaps that is as far as Trump can go without having a JFK moment.” I think you are correct here.

  32. hank
    July 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

    What a joke: NATO = USA. The EU Should Vote to Reduce NATO spending. Russia does not want a war with Germany – one of its primary economic traders. Britain of course has been a dying empire for years and wants to remain hawkish and loyal to US neocons. The US by itself has enough troops and bases in Europe to handle any emergency. Who is the Demon? Russia? Iran? Laughable

    • July 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      “The EU Should Vote to Reduce NATO spending.”
      I disagree. the EU should vote to disband NATO entirely.

  33. Jeff Harrison
    July 12, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Yeah. Let’s get real here. Washington loves all this war we’ve been fomenting around the world because it isn’t here. Until the American public gets a taste of what we’ve been doing to much of the rest of the world, the American public isn’t going to care. That’s what’s so funny about all this election “meddling” garbage the neo-cons in Washington have been pumping out. It’s remarkably hypocritical to complain that someone did something that you have been doing for decades and never got called on. How much longer will the former colonial powers take the economic hits from the biggest bully on the planet. First, we crash the global economy, leaving places like Europe with extreme unemployment and general poverty even though it wasn’t them that crashed the economy. Next we come up with our glorious sanctions which are costing Europe billions but isn’t actually hurting the US. Now we’re slapping tariffs on countries around the world and specifically in Europe. When are our allies going to figure out that we aren’t actually an ally any more? That we’re actually only out for number 1 and fuck the rest o’ ya. Sometime next century by the looks of it.

    • July 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Europe was stupid enough in the twentieth century to engage in the two worst wars in the history of the planet. Maybe the Europeans remain stupid. They welcomed Woodrow Wilson as a savior, and he laid the foundations of the problems that afflict the world up until this day.

      • historicus
        July 12, 2018 at 5:58 pm

        “You will do what is right, leaving the people of Europe to act their follies and crimes among themselves, while we pursue in good faith the paths of peace and prosperity” -Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address, 1805

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      It appears that the “allies” know this as well as most US citizens, and merely wonder what the mad oligarchy machine will do next, and what can be done about it. The battles of the gangsters of fake democracies are unrelated to the needs of the people.

  34. July 12, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Could NATO’s 2% of GDP be called “Blood Money” to feed the corporate cannibals in the War and Weapons Industry?
    ————————–

    July 9, 2018
    “2% Is The Price”

    2% of GDP is the price for bombing, destroying, and killing
    That gets you membership in the “coalition of the willing”
    Blood money that pays for death and destruction
    2% gets member countries a piece of the bloody war action

    2% is the price that leaves men, women, and children dead
    2% can also create millions of refugees, who have fled
    Trying to escape the hell, 2% GDP paid for, and created
    Having to escape their countries; destroyed and desecrated

    2% gets membership privileges in the billion dollar war palace
    A place that plots and plans for invasions, with eager malice
    Wreckers and destroyers of countries: This is their Headquarters
    Are killing, bombing and destroying, dangerous mental disorders?

    Still, nice uniforms and plenty of missiles and weapons
    2% GDP pays for all their much needed outfits and aggression
    The result of all this 2% GDP for wars and savagery
    Causes millions of deaths, and for the living victims, misery

    Will the people whose taxes pay for warring and killing
    And training and supporting terrorists, for whom they get the billing
    Will they ever wake up, and start to think, and maybe realize
    That they could be paying for treason, and treachery in disguise

    2% of their tax monies can be financing terrorists and both sides in wars
    They, the taxpayers, are the paymasters for all the blood and gore
    Treachery and treason is camouflaged by those in the halls of power
    And 2% of the peoples’ taxes pay for this Nato-rious warmongering shower

    If only this 2% of GDP was used for peaceful aims
    Millions would still be alive, not victims of the insane
    Some countries would still be whole, that surely would be nice
    Unfortunately, 2% of GDP for war and violence, is an abominable price…

    [Much more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/07/2-is-price.html

    • backwardsevolution
      July 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Stephen J. – that was exceptionally well done! Great job.

  35. Joe Tedesky
    July 12, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Trump is mixing apples with oranges, when he puts NATO and German energy demands in the same basket.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/07/trumps-false-arguments-will-not-sell-well-in-europe.html#more

    Ask a fellow American if they had ever heard of the disbandment of the Warsaw Pact, and see what kind of answer you get. You could also ask these uninformed fellow citizens why was NATO even created in the first place. Lastly, if NATO was started to protect Europe from the Communist, then why is it still around 27 years after the fall of the USSR?

    Personally I’m wondering why Europe even still talks to us Americans. The list of American infringements, and evasive policies forced upon the Europeans, is a list to long to mention here…. so go look it up, and then get back to me.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 12, 2018 at 10:05 am
      • michael crockett
        July 13, 2018 at 1:19 am

        Thanks Joe for the link. That was an excellent article in Counterpunch. Michael.

    • Louise
      July 12, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Well, Joe, the Europeans were ready to scrap NATO after 1989. These discussions were frightening
      the US, because it could have lost a lot of influence over the continent. immediately NED, NGO’s and
      quietly the CIA stirred up a war in Yugoslavia with the help of the IMF so that in the end Clinton could bomb
      the hell out of the country. Thus he declared to Europe that NATO had to stay. Kosovo was the same story.
      The CIA brought in the mujahideen from Afghanistan (later Al Queada) to keep the area’s people fighting
      each other. We also know who was responsible for 2014 in the Ukraine. However, what people don’t
      realize is that the European media are just as much under CIA control as ours.

      It was with a lot of glee that I read that after RT (and everyone having a show there) were claimed foreign
      agents, the State Department was “outraged” that Radio Free Europe got the same dose from Russia.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 12, 2018 at 9:52 pm

        Louise, reading your comment here brought back memories of Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers. He accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war. Ulfkotte fessed up after finding out he had only a short time to live.

        “it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe. … I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. … We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war. … I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic, and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…”

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/editor-of-major-german-newspaper-says-he-planted-stories-for-the-cia/5429324

        Thanks for the memories Louise. Joe

        • Gregory Herr
          July 13, 2018 at 6:25 pm

          And isn’t it so very cool that Amazon has his book exorbitantly priced ($900). I tried Alibris and they just carry a German-language edition at around $125.

          Boy, the truth sure is costly!

  36. michael crockett
    July 12, 2018 at 9:07 am

    I heard Brian Becker state on RT, that should NATO countries pony up the 2% of GDP required, an additional 134 billion dollars would be raised and given to US weapons manufacturers. So manufacture a threat to manufacture consent to manufacture weapons. Wash rinse repeat. perfect!

  37. July 12, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I believe “the Real Questions” regarding NATO are not being investigated. There is evidence that NATO members are supporting and training terrorists. This is criminality of the highest. More info at article link below.

    July 5, 2018
    “The Notorious Armed Terrorists Organization (NATO) Meeting July 11-12, 2018”

    Not only are NATO members reportedly supporting terrorists but they are also responsible for creating millions of refugees. [2] One would think that the corporate media would notice and report on the correlation between NATO member countries and the unfortunate refugees fleeing their homelands. Instead the “investigative media” are missing in action and some of them will write glowing and servile reports of NATO meetings….
    [read more at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-notorious-armed-terrorists.html

    • July 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Hell, the U.S. has been funding and training terrorists for a long time. Who do you think created the Taliban which nurtured Al Queda which was spawned by Saudi Arabia. Why are so many of the weapons used by terrorists stamped with “Made in USA”?

      • July 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm

        We sponsor terrorism world wide so that we can have enemies to justify our never ending war.

      • Skip Scott
        July 13, 2018 at 6:52 am

        I’ve seen a T-shirt with picture of Geronimo and some other armed Apaches with a caption that reads:
        “Fighting Terrorism since 1492”

  38. July 12, 2018 at 8:40 am

    NATO today is largely in business to make money for arms manufacturers and keep European states as vassals of Washington. Europeans and their leadership class only want stability and comfort and thus align themselves with the Empire. The fact that Empire a doesn’t care about them at all and endangers their lives through endless wars feeding immigration and, worse, ignoring climate change and the ongoing environmental crisis show me that Europe is, indeed, the degenerate society many right-wingers in my country believe. I see country after country trying to move towards renewable energy and other environmentally friendly policies yet barely a peep about US policies that deliberately and joyfully (we are your boss) undermine European policies.

    The USA is a country of the militantly ignorant (on all sides of the cultural and political spectrum) but Europe is a continent of cowards. NATO is one the collars Europe wears as a sign of submission to the USA. I understand why the leadership does what they do but why does the citizenry refuse to rise up and stand up.

  39. Babyl-on
    July 12, 2018 at 7:46 am

    “Trump’s attacks on NATO—full of misinformation and distortions—have distracted critical attention from legitimate issues about the alliance. What is its mission in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union? Quite apart from the question of cost sharing, does it advance U.S. security and political interests? Could it be replaced without jeopardizing democracies on both sides of the Atlantic?”

    I presume these questions are the writer’s expression of NATO views and concerns not his own.

    These, of course are not the right questions to ask, they are based on a uni-polar world view of the Imperial zero sum game mentality. This mentality – the mentality of empire – is bankrupt. We live in a multi-polar world now, the US is yet to recognize that so the West will continue to apply the zero sum mentality which produces thinking that all other countries are out to get the “democracies” — we have power they want to take it – is false. General prosperity among nations is possible we can have power and so can they.

    “George Kennan, the dean of U.S. diplomats during the Cold War, predicted accurately that NATO’s reckless expansion could only lead to “a new Cold War, probably ending in a hot one, and the end of the effort to achieve a workable democracy in Russia.”

    People like George Kennan have reputations they earned from the establishment Kennan was an imperialist like the rest. “workable democracy in Russia” yes, put in place by the Empire – what he is saying is that the Western Empire has the exceptional right to demand that all countries adopt “democracy” as if (western liberal) democracy is the finest system that could possibly be envisioned, no reason to think, its settled democracy is the ultimate. He spouted imperial views and was no visionary at all.

    Intellectuals and political activists in the West are not keeping up – we live in a multi-polar world the US no longer can dictate to the world.

    In Western analysis like this way too much is left out. China is important. how can you keep putting the US at the center of everything when China has the Belt and Road? This article leaves out the rest of the world which – believe it or not – is doing its best to trade and get along and their efforts and successes are ignored in the West.

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) AIIB, Belt and Road OPEC+ countries with over a billion in population India and China are represented by these non-Western dominated institutions are far more important than any commentary in the West gives them credit for. They are the future.

    Democracy is not a religion, democracy is not the end of history, democracy is not pure and sacred and immutable – Western Liberal Democracy is now an utter and contemptible failure.

    • mike k
      July 12, 2018 at 8:45 am

      “Western Democracy’ is a really bad joke, that is killing the world.

      • Joe Wallace
        July 17, 2018 at 4:46 pm

        mike k:

        My reading of Nancy MacLean’s “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” suggests that our system of government should be called “democracy.”

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Yes, western democracy is now corrupted into a “contemptible failure” but of course can be righted in principle if economic power can be eliminated from elections and mass media. That may require much suffering by the US.

  40. Björn Lindgren
    July 12, 2018 at 7:40 am

    LET IT RUST AWAY!

    Large parts of US, NATO, European, and Russian military hardwear are dysfunctional, obsolete, or simply rusting away.

    Recently a dogfight between a Lockheed Martin F-35 and an old F-4 Phantom was staged. The F-35 was knocked out.

    In two interviews in 2007 with Tom Engelhardt, Chalmers Johnson pointed out that many of the anti-ballistic missles can’t get out of their silos, and were not meant to do so. Their meaning is to rip off the taxpayers

    Same applies to European NATO hardwear. About 80 % of it is either obsolete or simply rusts away. This is also the case with the Russian hardwear. Also Russia have its industrial-military complex.

    What is left for the global war theatre, are small elite units, making war against poor peoples in poor countries, who can not defend themselves.

    Modern states can no longer afford buying the “advanced”, sophisticated, complicated military, expensive weapons systems that the militaries don’t need, and don’t know the tactic or strategic consquenses of.

  41. Silly Me
    July 12, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Pay for protection…

    Does that remind you of something else than NATO?

    • KiwiAntz
      July 12, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      America is a Gangster Nation & Trump, the ultimate GOODFELLA Mafia Capo has gone to NATO to “shake it down Europe ”to increase its protection money contribution!

  42. Sally Snyder
    July 12, 2018 at 7:28 am

    As shown in this article, there is one European nation that is willing to spend billions of dollars to help NATO expand its presence:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/05/polands-open-invitation-to-united.html

    While the drums of war may not yet be beating, the drummer is certainly sitting on his stool, drumsticks in hand and the American military-industrial complex is just waiting for the music to start.

    • Bob In Portland
      July 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      As I understand, Poland also spent a billion dollars to have a liquified natural gas terminal, presumably to buy US natural gas which is much more expensive than Russian gas. If we live in a strictly capitalist world Poland would be, like Germany, buying up all the Russian gas it could.

      It should be noted that in 2011 Syria decided on a pipeline from the Persian gas fields, across Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean where it would then go the Europe. Assad chose that option over a pipeline originating in Qatar. Suddenly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US, with Israeli help, began the war against Assad with ISIS et al. One pipeline would have been for the US’s allies. The other would have been a collection of independent countries not under the sway of the US military and corporate power.

      Ukraine has in its short history as a separate entity from the USSR/Russia flipped back and forth behind pro and anti-Russian political forces, with increased or decreased hostilities threatened or actual, against the Russian gas pipelines traversing its territory. Undoubtedly, the US-backed coup in 2014 was in part for the West (read: US) an attempt to put more pressure on the Russian energy relationship with Europe. Even during the short war between Georgia and Russia over Ossetia Russian fighter pilots flew one bombing raid in parallel along the pipelines running across Georgia as if announcing that they know what this was about and the risks to the West if they escalated the war.

      All of this is the current-day hostility of two competing US foreign policies against the old USSR: Containment versus Rollback, the two Cold War strategies against the communist state. The current position of the Deep State is to continue rolling back, unto controlling Russia with its vast resources. Unfortunately for the world, while the US can roll back throughout eastern Europe by seeding their political institutions with the children of the fascist movements allied with the Nazis during WWII, once you reach the Russian border you face creating a nuclear armageddon by continuing.

  43. Kiwiantz
    July 12, 2018 at 7:14 am

    NATO is just another branch of the US Military, setup to expand the imperialistic ambitions of the American Hegemonic Empire! Trump’s complaining & whingeing about having to pay for this is just tough luck, that’s the price you have to pay for PAX AMERICANA, so suck it up America! NATO ceased to be relevant with the demise of the former Soviet Union & modern day Russia is not a threat to Europe & creating the false narrative that Russia is the bogeyman is ludicrous & used by greedy arms manufacturers in Europe & America as a excuse to sell more weapons of war, it’s a disgusting waste of money for a enemy that no longer exists! Europe should disband NATO & sort out their own security arrangements & boot out every US Military Base from Europe, which would also stop or slow down a lot of the warmongering conflicts, as the US MIC wouldn’t be able to use European Nations & bases for their Airforces to bomb the hell outta other Countries! NATO is a relic of the Cold War & needs to go.

  44. Björn Lindgren
    July 12, 2018 at 5:56 am

    The US Empire now falling, with or without Trump.

    Europeans are no longer willing to fight US wars.

    Now is the right time to initiate a new Helsinki Conference and Agreement on common security and disarmament in Europe.

    Germany, France, and soon UK, with Corbyn soon in 10 Downing(?), could negotiate a peaceful agreement with Russia.

    When this is accomplished, Europe and Russia could make a similar agreement with China and SCO, breaking the negative and destructive spiral of war and useless armament of the US, which is imploding by poverty, infrastructure collapse, and Neoliberal Fascism.

    Cheers, Björn Lindgren

    SWEDEN

    • July 12, 2018 at 8:31 am

      Don’t be so sure. From what I’ve seen Europeans as a whole just want comfort and stability–the American hegemonic system is deeply intertwined with the European elite particularly in the international financial system. But it is also intertwined in “security” issues particularly in the “intelligence” systems. I am quite sure that any major leader in Europe has been made certain offers they could not refuse by the thugs that run Washington–that’s how Washington operates. It gives orders and the Europeans genuflect. The US rejects climate change and the Europeans do nothing. The US caused the immigration crisis in Europe and the Europeans say and do nothing but tell the US to just continue their imperial wars. European countries appear, from my side of the Atlantic to be nothing but vassals states to Washington despite the clearly destructive policies Washington pursues regardless of who is President.

      Theoretically Europe can make movement in the direction of China and Russia–I haven’t seen it though. Let us know when that happens.

    • Sam F
      July 12, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Nice idea, Bjorn. Banger is right that gangsters control the US. But if Europe rejected NATO, it would much improve the world, because the US Constitution does not permit foreign wars except under treaty. The EU would have to be ready to completely embargo the US, which may soon be unable to buy much from them anyway.

    • TS
      July 13, 2018 at 6:16 am

      > Europeans are no longer willing to fight US wars

      Well, there is one European government that seems more and more willing to do so:

      – Reintroduced military conscription

      – Joined in the attack on Libya in order to promote sales of its aircraft as combat-tested

      – Spread propaganda lies about Russian submarines spying along its coast

      – Has just distributed a “preparedness” brochure among its entire population warning them of the danger of war

      (And I am sure there have been other things that I do not know about, but you probably do.)

      Right?

  45. Realist
    July 12, 2018 at 4:09 am

    It seems to me, the main purpose of NATO after Article Six of the charter was de facto abrogated starting with the invasion of Yugoslavia and later the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, is to spread the blame around whenever the great hegemon the United States decides it wants to illegally intervene militarily in another country on the other side of the globe. Washington knows that it will not be condemned by its vassals as long as they are made complicit in its war crimes. I mean, get real, with the indigenous weapons, forces, materiel and petrobucks at its disposal, Washington really does not need the help of Britain, Poland, France or any of its other sycophants to overrun any other state on the planet outside of Russia or China. And, all of its supposed friends, not being suicidal, might well defer from an all out fight against those adversaries. The exceptional country might well get a bloody nose before prevailing if it tangles with robust states like Iran, Pakistan, India or Turkey, but it would have nothing added in the process by its so-called “allies.”

    • Bob In Portland
      July 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      While the destruction of Libya was billed as a NATO action in order to give it some credibility, in actuality US bombing raids were by far the the most among NATO allies.

      • Rob Roy
        July 12, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        Bob,
        Just a side note: The destruction of the stable Libya was Hillary Clinton’s fiasco. She next planned to do the same in Iran and Russia.

        • christina garcia
          July 12, 2018 at 10:00 pm

          Proof please

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