NATO Is Rife with Contradictions and Absurdities

Even since Donald Trump won the presidency, the foreign service community has almost unanimously circled its wagons to protect and prop up their prized project, the 70-year old North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
 
Yet the reality is, NATO is hardly a prize. It has been an ongoing complaint by U.S. presidents dating well before President Trump that NATO members aren't pulling their weight. However, it took President Trump to bring to issue to the public's attention. Up until now, NATO members paid lip service to living up to their treaty obligations to spend their agreed-upon commitments for defense. But they didn't. And those who did pay -- namely, the U.S., did little, if anything, about it. In the past, this was enough to let things go on as usual. 
 
But the task to justify America's inordinate committment to NATO gets harder by the day. Alliance members are not just continuing to shuck their responsibilities they now they actually thumbing their noses at the U.S. upon being called out about it. The latest such insult comes from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Her German cabinet just decided to keep its defense spending at 1.25 percent of Gross National Product for the next five years. This is well below the 2 percent that Germany committed to.
 
And Germany of all countries in Europe can't claim poverty. It is the powerhouse of the European Union. Germany is expected to have a balanced budget this year, and last year it ran an 11.2 billion-euro surplus, its fifth annual surplus in a row. 
 
Germany's refusal to abide by its defense commitments amounts to giving the middle finger not just to Trump, but to America in general. Merkel is essentially saying: "Keep paying, suckers." Here, the chancellor's timing couldn't be worse for Germany. The likelihood of Trump's reelection went up considerably with the release of the Muller report, and the president is someone who doesn't forget slights.
 
This comes on top of Germany' push for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe.  This pipeline will increase Germany's  dependency on Russia for natural gas. Ironically, Russia is the country that America is spending many billions of dollars each year to defend Europe from. How does this make sense?
 
And Germany is far from the only country tearing NATO asunder. Turkey has defied Washington and is going ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 missiles defense system. The Military Times reports that in speaking to the Munich Security Conference in February, Vice President Mike Pence told attendees:
... we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot assure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.
Indeed.
 
Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 system not only feeds an enemy desperate for cash, it makes Turkey itself more dependent on Russia. It also renders much of Turkey's missile defense system incompatible with the rest of NATO's.
 
How's that for solidarity? And how long has it been since Turkey, a Muslim country, has showed solidarity with the West? 
 
And then there's Italy, the third largest economy in the European Union. Italy has an unstable government, its economy is stagnant with chronic double-digit unemployment, and it's drowning in debt. Whether it is out of desperation or rank stupidity, the Italian government is signing on to China's One Belt One Road project. This act exposes cracks in the unity of Europe and the G-7 and if played out, will make Italy dependent on communist China.  This, too, severely undermines the NATO alliance.
 
Why is Italy's embrace with communist China stupid? It's not just because such an act means Italy will face anger from both Brussels and Washington. It's also because China is a greedy, grasping country. It is not merely amoral, it is immoral .... as was the USSR. Look at the facts. China lies and cheats on every agreement it signs. China has active re-education (concentration) camps for up to a million Muslims which makes it incompatible as a partner to Europe. China actively harvests body parts from political prisoners in a further signal of its inhumane value. Politically, China is authoritarian and spies on its people with a vigor equal to Stalin's. It's not a natural partner for a purportedly freedom loving region with a tradition of humanism, as are any of the nations of NATO Europe.
 
Italy might think that none of that affects them. Not so. The old adage applies: "He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon."
 
By putting itself in bed with communist China, Italy is making NATO more of joke than it already is. NATO is dead man walking. By their deeds, the leaders in Western Europe don't believe Russia is a threat. In this, they are correct. France and Germany have jointly stated that they want to see the creation of a European army. But one doesn't have to be a think tank guru to see that such a military would not be designed to meet external foes on the battlefield but rather to address the unruly Eastern European countries within the EU. Until then, Europe would like to keep U.S. money flowing into the alliance. And NATO serves U.S. national interest only in the minds of the foreign service establishment and the neocons who see its bureaucracy as job haven.
 
The more the contractions and absurdities of NATO are discussed, the sooner the U.S. will unburden itself of it.

Even since Donald Trump won the presidency, the foreign service community has almost unanimously circled its wagons to protect and prop up their prized project, the 70-year old North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
 
Yet the reality is, NATO is hardly a prize. It has been an ongoing complaint by U.S. presidents dating well before President Trump that NATO members aren't pulling their weight. However, it took President Trump to bring to issue to the public's attention. Up until now, NATO members paid lip service to living up to their treaty obligations to spend their agreed-upon commitments for defense. But they didn't. And those who did pay -- namely, the U.S., did little, if anything, about it. In the past, this was enough to let things go on as usual. 
 
But the task to justify America's inordinate committment to NATO gets harder by the day. Alliance members are not just continuing to shuck their responsibilities they now they actually thumbing their noses at the U.S. upon being called out about it. The latest such insult comes from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Her German cabinet just decided to keep its defense spending at 1.25 percent of Gross National Product for the next five years. This is well below the 2 percent that Germany committed to.
 
And Germany of all countries in Europe can't claim poverty. It is the powerhouse of the European Union. Germany is expected to have a balanced budget this year, and last year it ran an 11.2 billion-euro surplus, its fifth annual surplus in a row. 
 
Germany's refusal to abide by its defense commitments amounts to giving the middle finger not just to Trump, but to America in general. Merkel is essentially saying: "Keep paying, suckers." Here, the chancellor's timing couldn't be worse for Germany. The likelihood of Trump's reelection went up considerably with the release of the Muller report, and the president is someone who doesn't forget slights.
 
This comes on top of Germany' push for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe.  This pipeline will increase Germany's  dependency on Russia for natural gas. Ironically, Russia is the country that America is spending many billions of dollars each year to defend Europe from. How does this make sense?
 
And Germany is far from the only country tearing NATO asunder. Turkey has defied Washington and is going ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 missiles defense system. The Military Times reports that in speaking to the Munich Security Conference in February, Vice President Mike Pence told attendees:
... we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot assure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.
Indeed.
 
Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 system not only feeds an enemy desperate for cash, it makes Turkey itself more dependent on Russia. It also renders much of Turkey's missile defense system incompatible with the rest of NATO's.
 
How's that for solidarity? And how long has it been since Turkey, a Muslim country, has showed solidarity with the West? 
 
And then there's Italy, the third largest economy in the European Union. Italy has an unstable government, its economy is stagnant with chronic double-digit unemployment, and it's drowning in debt. Whether it is out of desperation or rank stupidity, the Italian government is signing on to China's One Belt One Road project. This act exposes cracks in the unity of Europe and the G-7 and if played out, will make Italy dependent on communist China.  This, too, severely undermines the NATO alliance.
 
Why is Italy's embrace with communist China stupid? It's not just because such an act means Italy will face anger from both Brussels and Washington. It's also because China is a greedy, grasping country. It is not merely amoral, it is immoral .... as was the USSR. Look at the facts. China lies and cheats on every agreement it signs. China has active re-education (concentration) camps for up to a million Muslims which makes it incompatible as a partner to Europe. China actively harvests body parts from political prisoners in a further signal of its inhumane value. Politically, China is authoritarian and spies on its people with a vigor equal to Stalin's. It's not a natural partner for a purportedly freedom loving region with a tradition of humanism, as are any of the nations of NATO Europe.
 
Italy might think that none of that affects them. Not so. The old adage applies: "He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon."
 
By putting itself in bed with communist China, Italy is making NATO more of joke than it already is. NATO is dead man walking. By their deeds, the leaders in Western Europe don't believe Russia is a threat. In this, they are correct. France and Germany have jointly stated that they want to see the creation of a European army. But one doesn't have to be a think tank guru to see that such a military would not be designed to meet external foes on the battlefield but rather to address the unruly Eastern European countries within the EU. Until then, Europe would like to keep U.S. money flowing into the alliance. And NATO serves U.S. national interest only in the minds of the foreign service establishment and the neocons who see its bureaucracy as job haven.
 
The more the contractions and absurdities of NATO are discussed, the sooner the U.S. will unburden itself of it.