NATO in tizzy after Trump tells members: 'You gotta pay your bills'
President Trump made an impassioned speech about the United States' generally worthless allies, the ones in NATO who promise to spend 2% of their GDP on defense and then go their merry way, spending it on padded welfare benefits for migrants instead. The U.S. picks up the tab for that stuff, and then Europe's intellectuals have the nerve to deride the U.S. for its giant defense budget. Amazing how that works.
Trump called them out on it in Montana yesterday. Breitbart reported him saying this:
"I'm going to tell NATO, 'You gotta start paying your bills. The United States is not going to take care of everything,'" he said to loud cheering from the crowd in Great Falls, Montana.
...and oh, what a fluttering, clucking, chicken-feather response over in the NATO coop. Here is the top story in Mike Allen's Axios lineup for this morning:
President Trump's harsh blast at NATO during a rally last night in Helena, Mont., was Europeans' worst nightmare come to life, Western diplomatic sources tell Jonathan Swan and me:
- Trump portrayed the alliance as one-sided, transactional and bad for the U.S.
- He seemed to suggest that U.S. military support is conditional on the Germans paying more, calling out "Angela" – the German chancellor.
The president's views on NATO and trade are inseparable: He believes that, as he said in Montana, Americans are "the schmucks paying for the whole thing."
- Trump re Europe: "[T]hey kill us on trade. They kill us on other things. ... [T]hey kill us with NATO. They kill us."
- He sees both as examples of international systems set up to screw the U.S. And now he's going around the world with his hand out, collecting what he sees are America's dues.
Axios includes a copy of the letter President Trump sent to Norway's prime minister, so politely, politely, gently, and diplomatically asking the Nordic state to up its NATO commitment to the level it signed on to and then ignored. That's worth looking at here.
Worst nightmare? Come to life? A request to pay bills? So bills are for other people to pay? Why this is cause for outrage is amazing.
Trump asks them to pay their bills, to honor their treaty commitments, and they have a cow? They call it their worst nightmare come true? Why don't they just say "we're working on it" and follow through? Trump isn't the hardest guy out there if someone is actually trying. Instead, they launch a P.R. campaign to claim that Trump doesn't love them.
Maybe it's time for them to consider some real nightmares, such as a Russian invasion. Russia isn't just annoyed at all the land it lost in the outrageously bad deal it got in the wake of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' breakup in 1991-1992. It's still pretty mad about all the tsarist empire it lost, too, and sometimes President Vladimir Putin waxes nostalgic for getting that stuff back. This being Putin, he probably wants to best the tsars anyway. That should be what concentrates Europe's minds and incentivizes these wealthy states to honor their defense commitments.
Instead, they are hollering about Trump and demanding more of the free ride they've always gotten. It's amazing how they can imagine that the blame for this situation is on Trump. Why indeed was that diplomatic correspondence, which only reflects well on Trump, released? Did they really think it would win hearts and minds here? Maybe it's time for these childish partners to learn a few things about honoring contracts. Their outrage is the result of their own bad choices.