July 11, 2018

NATO Matters

Could Trump do what Stalin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev couldn’t?

by Chris Thomas

Photo by A. L.

President Trump has already made waves at the NATO summit in Brussels. As Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt predicted, the President is “going to fly into Brussels like a seagull.” He’ll “squawk” and “defecate all over everything…. and fly away.”

Trump is nominally upset that a lot of NATO countries aren’t meeting their funding goals for defense. The NATO treaty tells member states how much they should be spending on defense. Most of Europe isn’t meeting that commitment and Trump wants them to double their defensive spending and hit their ten-year targets today.

Between that, suggesting that Germany is a Russian puppet, and telling Angela Merkel that she owes him a trillion dollars last year, the NATO summit is off to a great start.

So What?

NATO Matters. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a mutual defense pact between the United States, Canada, and most of Western Europe against Russia and its satellite states. The exact details of the arangement aren’t important; what matters is the basic substance of the deal: Europe gets to stand under the military umbrella of the United States and the Americans get to use bases and other forward facilities in Europe.

That deal effectively froze Russia out of Western Europe from 1949 onward. Even after the Soviet Union fell, NATO held firm, allowing the West to project power and influence further and faster than anyone else. That, in turn, has kept America and her allies safe, influential, and wealthy.

Trump’s actions, remarks, and behavior seem tailor made to fracture the alliance.

Tell Congress What You Think

Foreign policy is the domain of the Executive Branch but Congress is always eager to have its say. The Senate even voted 97–2 for a non-binding resolution supporting NATO. You can write to your Representatives and Senators by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference.

What about that Senate resolution?

The Senate’s resolution was a non-binding statement in support of the NATO alliance. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) were the lone votes against it. John McCain abstained on account of illness.

Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), Steve Daines (R-Mont), John Thune (R-SD), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) voted for the resolution less than a week after spending the July 4th holiday at the Russian embassy.

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