A grim reflection on the prospects of NATO in Foreign Policy in the style of “all is lost” and blame Trump:
The long whimper
In NATO’s case, the long whimper of its demise began with the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2017. Throughout the endless 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had railed against American allies that he felt did not carry the burden of their own defense. He hinted darkly that as president he would not defend allies that did not pay their share. His praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin further stoked fears in Eastern Europe that he would abandon them to Russia’s tender mercies.
Once he became president, Trump’s attitude toward Europe and NATO became just as erratic as his ramshackle presidential campaign. He appointed cabinet secretaries who praised NATO in their confirmation hearings. He allowed visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May to assert that he “supported NATO 100 percent.” Then, just as suddenly, he would veer back toward bashing allies, calling NATO obsolete, or attacking the EU as a German plot.
Each new tirade would be followed by a new round of tumult in the press and hand-wringing on the part of Europeans. And yet little changed on the ground. U.S. forces remained in Europe, U.S. planes took part in patrolling the skies over the Baltics, and U.S. soldiers still participated in NATO military exercises. Beneath the headlines, NATO quietly remained, on paper, the most powerful military alliance in the world.
At first, far from breaking the alliance, Trump’s threats even appeared to motivate Europeans in a way that the blandishments of previous presidents had not managed. European defense spending crept up toward their commitment of 2 percent of GDP, and Europeans established new mechanisms for defense cooperation within the post-Brexit EU. At Trump’s insistence, NATO proclaimed that counterterrorism was its primary mission and embarked on multiple studies to explore how NATO might fulfill its new purpose.
In the end, NATO’s new mission did not shift much in the way of resources; the alliance simply stopped talking about its previous core mission of defending Europe from Russian aggression. But these cosmetic changes allowed President Trump to claim that he had succeeded in adapting the alliance to his “America First” philosophy. In a famous speech delivered in front of the Las Vegas facsimile of the Eiffel Tower, he proclaimed that “now, instead of America working for NATO, NATO works for America.” Trump no longer thought that NATO was obsolete. To the contrary, it became for him a symbol of how he could restructure American alliances to serve American purposes.
Rotten to the corps
But beyond the symbolism, it was not really clear that NATO worked for anyone anymore.
When Russia stepped up its proxy war in Ukraine in mid-2017, NATO debated a response, but with U.S. energies focused on building a wall on the country’s southern border, it failed to find any consensus for new sanctions or for reinforcing existing deployments in the east. Poland, France, and Germany decided that the EU’s new Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism for defense was more fit for this purpose. Along with most of their European partners, they began using it to supply weapons and training to the Ukrainian government. Officially, NATO declared its neutrality. Russian propaganda pivoted away from denouncing the United States and NATO and toward excoriating Germany and the EU.
In early 2018, the Egyptian economy went into free-fall, and the government collapsed. As disorder reigned in Cairo, hundreds of thousands of refugees began appearing on the shores of Greece and Italy. Once again, NATO considered action — in this case, a naval mission to intercept and return the refugee boats, seen as both a humanitarian and protective measure, similar to the missions it conducted in the Mediterranean in 2016. But this time, Eastern European members, stung by NATO’s neutrality in Ukraine, opposed the alliance’s participation in the effort. The United States, embroiled in a scandal over Roger Ailes’s purchase of the New York Times at an IRS tax auction, did not take a side, and in the end NATO did nothing.
Then, in January 2019, in response to the U.S. decision to search Iranian shipping boats in the Persian Gulf for weapons shipments, Tehran staged a coup in Baghdad. The Iranian puppet regime ordered U.S. forces out of Iraq while combined Iraqi-Iranian forces attacked Turkish forces in Iraqi Kurdistan and began arming the Kurdish insurgency in southeastern Turkey. Turkey, supported by the Trump administration, asked NATO to invoke its sacred Article V — that is, to declare Iran’s actions as aggression against a NATO member and come to Turkey’s aid.
PS. It is not difficult to see, an apocalyptic picture of the future of Europe and NATO is directly linked to the policy of the administration of NATO, which is credited with the desire to get rid of NATO, in fact, the United States simply require from the Europeans to fulfill their obligations that the European elites are not very happy – under Obama, the US turned a blind eye to the fact that the majority of NATO countries do not fulfill their obligations on defence spending that shifted the burden of costs on the American economy. In this respect, NATO is really an instrument of American foreign policy.In case of reduction of financing of joint programmes, the EU will remain the three outputs – to increase defense spending to the required, to create a parallel structure of a common European army, which are themselves EU countries to determine the volume of defense spending, and finally the dissolution of the Alliance with a return to the system independent of the existing armies, the costs which each country determines its own.In this fact lies the deceit of the article Shapiro, who is accusing trump of the European reluctance to pay for freeloaders who don’t want to pay for their own defense and prefer to pass the cost on to the United States, which because of their economic and financial situation, it is becoming more expensive.
In General, these charges are part of a massive awareness campaign where Trump is attacked inside the US and outside, accusing him of neglecting environmental issues, safety, global enterprises, as well as in lying down on the problems of minorities and trying to flirt with Russia. The globalists, losing the election certainly learned nothing, Clinton has become a lost battle that they are trying to fight again, accusing the administration of Trump with an endless succession of scandals and accusations, which are designed to make him completely incompetent and mired in the relationships with the enemies of the United States. The last two months have shown a sufficiently high efficiency of this campaign – the administration Trump hard bounces from a series of scandals and allegations of links with Russia, lose key personnel and may not begin to implement the main provisions of the foreign policy program trump.
Trump has already been forced to delay talks with Russia on Syria, to somehow hush up the “Russian theme”, and his attempts to get NATO countries just to fulfill their obligations, caused a series of attacks from the European and American press, where he is accused of the desire for isolationism and pandering to Russia. This time the Kremlin is well caught and deliberately distanced itself from the problems of the current US administration, which obviously constrained in their foreign policy initiatives.Although some elements of the fighting in Syria suggesting that a certain discreet cooperation still produces, but not pushing, not to create the Trump even more problems.
The prospects for NATO, I think the Alliance will not disappear by 2020, although it is likely to evolve under the pressure of change in the world. Key countries will have to increase defense spending, and how centralized or fragmented will be the form of its existence, will depend on the outcome of the elections in Germany and France, which will determine the General vector of development of the Alliance in the coming years.With the victory of Merkel and Macron, I would bet that NATO will be strengthened and will conduct a more active policy not only in Europe, being a system element of the centralized structures of the European Union, with a separate option associated with the transformation of NATO into a single European army. When the victory of the alternative candidates, NATO is likely to continue is present in a semi assembled state, when some members of the Alliance sincerely believes that their security should be dealt with other countries, and Berlin and Brussels should be more cautious in their hegemonic ambitions.