The President and FLOTUS Melania are traveling to Britain this morning for the NATO Summit. They will attend various functions with other world leaders through December 4th. Thus, the Trumps will be in England, on a world stage, with impeachment swirling on the homefront. Dems and US Press Corps will do their best to discredit our leader. Expect it, as the sun will rise in the east.
As financial contributions to NATO have been a subject for many years, let’s take a look at the 2.5 billion dollar budget. Not a much as we thought. “NATO Allies have agreed the civil and military budgets for 2019. At a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Tuesday (18 December 2018), Allies agreed a civil budget of €250.5 million and a military budget of €1.395 billion for 2019.” https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_161633.htm
What is the purpose of the North-American TransAtlantic Organization? It used to be the group were allied to defend Western Europe against Russia. Yet today, France wants to buy ships from Russian military and form a closer alliance with Moscow. Germany has been working on Nordstrom pipeline, to supplying 60% German citizens with LNG from Russia. Obviously, Western Europe does not perceive Russia as a threat.
Newly declassified documents paint a CLEAR picture of the promise from George Herbert Walker Bush and his admin, to Gorbachev of Russia around the time of the of the Berlin Wall. The promise made was that NATO would NOT expand past the East German Border, “not one single inch”. In effect, if the Soviet Union was to disband, there was no further purpose to NATO. Yet, various interests in the USA and Europe were reluctant to give up the fiiefdom of NATO. In fact, over the last 30yrs, NATO has expanded to include 13 former Soviet Bloc Nations, and advance all the way up to the Russian border. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/newly-declassified-documents-gorbachev-told-nato-wouldnt-23629 RT points to the 30 documents as proof of a broken promise. https://www.rt.com/news/413029-nato-gorbachev-expansion-promises/
Here’s the link to the actual documents, fascinating read. https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early
Of course, IF the USA and NATO broke their promise to Russia, it would still be fresh in the mind of Putin, who was stationed in East Germany 1985-1990. AND it would explain his objections, nervousness, as NATO absorbed more and more countries, placed Patriot missiles in Poland, and probably why Putin would object to our involvement in Ukraine.
Again, we come back to Ukraine. Funny, eh?
Yet, this particular NATO Summit is fraught with high stakes drama from all sides.
December 12th is the “Snap Poll/Election” for Boris Johnson/Brexit/MPs in the UK and the most unpredictable in a generation and a true showdown. It’s the first time Brits have gone to the polls for a December election since 1923. Try these links for more background to get “the feel” of drama for Brexit (or check on our own Churchmouse who has many excellent posts on the subject). Tories have been thrown out of the party. Decoupling from the EU is main driving point of the election. Will they leave or remain? https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/29/uk-general-election-confirmed-for-12-december-after-brexit-stalemate https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-general-election-held-december-20752583
A NATO Summit the week before the election gives Boris Johnson a chance to take the stage as a world leader. Look for President Trump to try to help him as much as possible.
Added to the drama is our squirrelly ally Macron of France. He gave an interview to the Economist in November and his comments were “scary” as to the future of NATO’s alliance. He doubted if the USA would show up for a conflict in Europe and said NATO is experiencing “brain death”. https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/11/08/allies-aghast-at-emmanuel-macrons-dismissal-of-nato The Allies were “aghast”, as The Economist points out, they were sure it would be Trump who would make the incendiary remarks. (Sigh).
The Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, fired back at Macron in an article for The Financial Times, picked up by Reuters, here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-nato-idUSKBN1XL13B
Interesting little tidbits fall from the article:
French President Emmanuel Macron’s critical remarks about NATO were “dangerous”, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview published on Sunday evening by the Financial Times.
Macron told The Economist last week that NATO was experiencing “brain death”, citing a lack of coordination and U.S. unpredictability under President Donald Trump. (Got that? Macron waffles on NATO – but blames Trump)
“I think President Macron’s doubts about (NATO’s commitment to mutual defense) can make other allies wonder if perhaps it is France that has concerns about sticking to it. I hope that we can still count on France fulfilling its obligations,” Morawiecki was quoted as saying. (Morawiecki puts the blame back where it belongs)
“France is spending below 2 per cent of GDP (on defense) . . . I think it’s worth asking why certain aspects of NATO do not look as we wish. And it’s not for the lack of U.S. commitment to the alliance, but rather the lack of reciprocity on the part of some European allies,” he said. (Ouch, that one hurt, but Morawiecki is correct)
France has traditionally had an ambivalent role in NATO, taking no part in its strategic military planning from 1966 to 2009 despite being a founding member. Still Macron’s comments – a month before NATO’s Dec. 4 summit in London – were unexpected.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-nato-idUSKBN1XL13B
Wait……… What do you mean France takes no part in strategic military planning and hasn’t since the mid-60’s? So, France contributes less than 2%, complains about it, and has absolutely no idea how their country is defended? Did France just become the 14yr old teenager, consuming more than they contribute?
In 2017, France looked to expand their relationship with Moscow and Beijing. https://www.wsj.com/articles/france-looks-to-deepen-trade-ties-with-russia-and-china-1514808000
In 2018, Macron was still looking to cozy up to Moscow, despite tension in Syria. https://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-france-russia-talks-20180209-story.html
With friends like France, who needs enemies? Of course, everything is relative and media cannot be trusted. Many times leaders use hot rhetoric to their domestic audience which does not play well on a foreign stage.
But then……. there’s Merkel of Germany. Merkel lambasted Macron for his comments on NATO, https://www.dw.com/en/angela-merkel-condemns-macrons-drastic-words-on-nato/a-51154583
Take a look at Germany’s Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen ……. the petite blond to the right of Merkel, and Kramp-Karrenbauer, known as “Mini-Merkel” the brunette to the left of Merkel….. thought to be Merkel’s successor…. a “coronation in waiting”. The woman on the far right, wearing red, is German Politician Julia Kloeckner.
Germany has pledged to bump defense spending to 2%……. but by the year 2031. They hope to get to 1.5% by the year 2014. No kidding, they’re waiting until 2031. According to Kramp-Karrenbauer “A country of our size, with our economic and technological power, our geostrategic position and global interests, cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch,” she said.
The Bundeswehr should be deployed proactively abroad, the defense minister said. She has pledged to bump defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2031, which could make Germany the third largest defense spender in the world.https://www.dw.com/en/germany-must-play-active-military-role-says-defense-minister/a-51145869
In other words, Germany wants a seat at the table but for the USA to pick up the tab. President Trump believes this is unfair to the USA taxpayers….. but apparently President Trump is a brut for asking his allies to pay for their meal.
Merkel has problems with her health, the videos of her shaking violently are still fresh on the minds of others. She also has problems with allowing free speech in Germany, her most recent contentious policy stance. Merkel is on the way out. It will be interesting to see if her “replacement” accompanies Merkel and is introduced to new leaders. Watch the makeup of the German delegation.
According to AP, the USA will pay less for NATO in 2019 and Germany will pay more. The U.S. spends more on defense than all other 28 allies combined. Macron refuses to increase France’s portion, citing the death of 13 French soldiers.
Macron said France won’t increase its contributions for NATO’s in-house budget and referred to the 13 French soldiers killed in a helicopter collision as they were fighting Islamic State group-linked extremists in Mali.
“If anyone wants to see what they call cost sharing, they can dome to the ceremony that France is organizing on Monday,” he said. “They will see the price.”https://apnews.com/d70fb6c8ede14d578246f95b0b27ac1f
As Eastern EU nations are still fearful of Russia, western EU nations look to strengthen ties with Russia. Eastern nations strongly object to the dangers of nation security which come with more immigration from the Middle East, while Germany/France/Belgium and Spain embrace more and more migration. Trade/IP theft/National Security and surveillance from China and problems with radical Islam present new problems.
Whatever happens this week in England will surely make headlines.