Monday, February 13, 2017

Notes on NATO

One of the big reasons that Donald Trump was elected President was his willingness to speak about issues that most every other politician was afraid to talk about.

I wrote back in January, 2016 that this was Trump's greatest quality as a candidate. However, in speaking out he also is consistently inviting criticism by the political establishment.

"Trump sees things that others politicians see but they don't want to talk about it. He will talk about it, which is why he is frequently criticized."

The most obvious example was illegal immigration and the need to build a border wall (that Mexico would pay for!)

It is one of the things I liked about Trump from the very beginning even when he was not my preferred candidate for the GOP nomination.

Trump also raised questions about NATO that had many so-called "experts" stating that Trump did not know what he was talking about. His principal arguments have been that NATO is 'obsolete' in an age when terrorism has become such a big threat and that many NATO members are not paying their fair share.

In my view, Trump is exactly right. However, no one else had the courage to speak about it. Many NATO countries are facing enormous challenges from Islamic terrorism but NATO is totally focused on the threat from Russia. The NATO alliance needs to be revamped with this as an additional focus.

In addition, the fact is that most NATO members are taking advantage of the alliance (and in particular, the United States of America) by not paying their fair share of defense expenditures as they are supposed to as members of NATO.

In the late 1980's, NATO members spent, on average, 3.5% of GDP on defense expenditures. Last year, that number had fallen to approximately 1.5%.

The current minimum defense expenditure that a member country is supposed to meet as a percent of GDP is set at 2%.  However, only 5 out of 28 member states are meeting that target. Of course, the United States is doing much more than that meaning that most NATO members are getting a free ride from us.

This inequality is there for all to see but Donald Trump is the only one willing to talk about it?

And he is then criticized for it by those who say he "doesn't understand" and is putting Europe in danger?

The main purpose of NATO from it inception was for the member countries to defend each other from the possibility of the communist Soviet Union taking control of their nation. Who is more at risk of this occurring---the European countries who are NATO members or the United States?

It would seem since the Europeans are the most at risk that they would be more than willing to pay the bill to defend themselves. Why rely so much on the United States? Is that fair? That is the main point that Trump is arguing.

Let's look at the current scorecard of NATO countries and see what each member is contributing to its defense as a percent of its GDP.

Credit: The Daily Shot

The United States is spending 3.61% of GDP on Defense which is well over double what the average NATO member is doing. Poor Greece is next at 2.38% The U.K., Estonia and Poland are the only other countries meeting the 2% target.

France is spending 1.78%. Germany 1.19%. Denmark 1.17%. Italy 1.11%. Canada is not even spending 1% of its GDP on Defense.

The political establishment and mainstream media wants you to believe that Trump is off base in his views about NATO. When you see these facts, what do you believe?

1 comment:

  1. I was not sure about Trump until he came out in favor of term limits.I think term limits are the only chance this country has to be great again. When congress does what is best for the country and then goes home and earn livings like the rest of us we have a chance to become great again.We don't need a cancerous growth formed by politicians out of favor and retired life termers who lobby for money and not whats best for the nation.