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Donald Trump continues to HAMMER away at NATO’s necessity

With the passing of the Soviet Union, NATO is an alliance without a purpose, and the US president is not afraid to say so

Seraphim Hanisch

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Donald Trump continued his round of criticism for the aging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as he prepared for an upcoming trip to Europe that will culminate in a July 16th summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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The New York Times noted that this critique was not met with the most appreciation:

Mr. Trump’s comments touched off a round of trans-Atlantic sniping with Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, that was sure to start the NATO meeting on a tense note.

“The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter of the other members of the Atlantic alliance, hours before Air Force One left for Belgium. “Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer.”

He complained anew about trade deficits with the European Union, and seemed to threaten to cut American military spending in a bid to compel other NATO members to increase theirs.

The complaints reflected the degree to which Mr. Trump is coming into the summit meeting focused on his anger with NATO and his conviction that the alliance exploits American largess to the detriment of the United States. That is a stark departure from previous American presidents of both parties, who have tended to regard the alliance as an invaluable force for collective defense that reflects shared values among its members.

Mr. Trump’s remarks exacerbated concerns that he may torpedo the meeting that begins on Wednesday, and with it, the alliance’s efforts to show unity and solidarity in the face of global threats, including from Russia.

READ MORE: ‘Russia not to be isolated over Crimea’ – NATO head

However, this article notes that the point of view held by many in the mostly European alliance is still that Russia represents some sort of threat to the security of Europe. This is strongly disputed by both the Russian Federation leadership itself, and even by other powers in the world. The United States’ leadership largely holds to the same view, but a look at most of the rhetoric about this casts Russia and President Putin as threats akin to the Soviet era, and have largely ignored the reality of the changes that have come to the country since the fall of Communism in 1991.

A Fox News opinion piece by Harry J Kazianis puts forth an argument that in the following excerpts follows the thought that President Trump appears to believe as well:

The U.S. president understands one of the great cardinal rules of geopolitics that others seem to have forgotten: no alliance lasts forever. After almost 70 years, America and its NATO partners in Europe may be heading for a new relationship, while still remaining friends.

In an early morning tweet Tuesday, President Trump wrote: “Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting – NATO. The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!”

Tusk responded with a tweet of his own: “Dear @realDonaldTrump. US doesn’t have and won’t have a better ally than EU. We spend on defense much more than Russia and as much as China. I hope you have no doubt this is an investment in our security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian & Chinese spending.”

History teaches us obvious reasons for the breakup of alliances. Circumstances and threats change. One country’s mortal enemy one day could be the nation’s best friend the next. Just look back at World War II – our enemies Germany, Japan and Italy are our allies today. Our ally Russia (part of the Soviet Union back then) is our adversary.

There is only one constant when it comes to smart foreign policy. A nation seeks allies and partnership where it has common interests. Sometimes those alliances lose their value or importance over time and break up.  

NATO was formed to defend against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. But the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact died in 1991 – and NATO’s original mission died then as well. Soviet tanks are no longer primed to head into Europe to conquer our NATO partners. NATO is now a world-class military alliance looking for a mission.

But today’s Russia is not the superpower threat that the Soviet Union was. Over the long-term, demographic issues, economic stagnation and questions of who succeeds Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly ensure Moscow is not the boogeyman it once was.

Much of the rest of the piece admittedly follows the narrative that the world is full of “threats” from China primarily, followed by North Korea and Russia as a tertiary threat, suggesting the rather mainstream view that the whole world is out to get America. This narrative is certainly the one being defended in Europe regarding the preservation of NATO itself. However, Mr. Kazianis has been forced to acknowledge that things do change:

All this means that America’s available diplomatic and military bandwidth that it can devote to Europe must change. We must face up to the fact that NATO, in its present form, is obsolete. The alliance must evolve into an organization led and mostly resourced by Europeans.

So, is America going to quit NATO and go back across the Atlantic or abandon its allies in Europe? Never. Does that mean a wave of isolationism has infected Washington and we won’t honor our treaty commitments or push back against Moscow in another crisis? Not at all.

But it does mean a fundamental shift in burden that a Europe blessed with wealth and riches can easily maintain. However, if Europe is unwilling or unable to field a credible armed force to take on challenges from Russia or elsewhere, we must question the utility of an alliance that is a shell of what it used to be.

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Adrenglouis robertBob SchmitzJames JohnsonDaisy Adler Recent comment authors
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Adreng
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Adreng

Even now, the European NATO members spend on their militaries far more than is necessary (except if there are plans to go on destabilizing countries with regime change wars). Even without counting the US, European NATO countries spend significantly more on their militaries than Russia. Such calculations are somewhat inaccurate because of different cost levels, so that absolute cost levels make the Russian military appear smaller than it actually is. But still, even just comparing the numbers of tanks, airplanes etc. European NATO members and Russia are on a similar level with European NATO members generally having more military equipment… Read more »

louis robert
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louis robert

So evidently simple!

In simple terms:

1. The literally bankrupt Empire cannot afford being an Empire any longer.

2. The Empire’s Trump is, in actual fact, permanently in a begging position.

3. Begging all over the world is what the Empire is now left doing.

4. That presupposes imperial decline, decadence, collapse and terminal fall.

5. “Interesting times” ahead!

Bob Schmitz
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Bob Schmitz

Trump goes into the NATO with his usual bluster. Basically a mafia protection racket: ´we´ll protect you when you pay up´ But the Europoodles don´t negotiate, but ask instead: what must we do to keep NATO? Why is it in our interest to be ´protected´ (= occupied) by the US??? The only rational negotiation position would be: No thanks mr Trump, but please get your stuff disassembled and shipped back to your country. The Euro members have a military budget 4.5 times that of Russia! OK, the US 12 x, but why not half the EU budget and become efficient… Read more »

James Johnson
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James Johnson

The US wants to convince every one that Russia must be out to conquer the world..
I don’t think the European Leaders really don’t take it very seriously. Why should they?

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Trump: “the U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.”

NATO annual budget: its civil budget for 2018 is €245.8 million, while its military budget for 2018 is €1.325 billion – a total of less than $2 billion a year, the US is paying 22% of it – or $440 million per year. When one knows that US spends some $2 billion per DAY, $440 million – or 20% of the US spending in ONE day – look like peanuts.

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Donald Hypocrite Trump: “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?”

What good is NATO if the United States are paying Russia billions of dollars for hundreds of thousands tons of Titanium, used by the American aircraft industry for their jets and commercial carriers, for RD-180 and RD-181 rocket engines used by American Atlas launchers, and pay Russia $81 million per seat to transport American astronauts to and from the International Space Station?

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“Trump said talk with Putin will be easier than with NATO allies”

Trump will never be able bùll$hitting president Putin as he did to the “allies”.

Gio Con
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Gio Con

Any extra money the Europeans put into a NATO can only come from one of two places: the people or the oligarchs. Both have their downsides.The oligarchs don’t want to give up a cent of their profits; but increasing the burden on the average working person could well provoke unrest throughout Europe. Europe has seen its share of rebellions and revolutions — and the rich have learned their history lesson. No oligarch in Europe would dare say “Let them eat cake” again. The rich also know that money spent on NATO to “protect” Europe from Russia is just wasted money… Read more »

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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