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Trump is Right to Pressure NATO on its Spending

German Frigate catches fire during missile test 2018

A big problem with President Trump is not his basic ideas, most of which are good, but the way he expresses them. So it is with NATO, only three of  whose members meet the 2% GDP spending target. That includes UK, Estonia, and Poland. Four more nations will meet that target next year, Next year the number will rise to eight. Nonetheless, the point is not that little  Estonia is spending 2%, but that France, Germany, and Italy, who have half of European NATO’s GDP, are spending  less than they should. France at 1.8% is close to the target, Italy at 1% has survived a huge recession, but Germany, the economic powerhouse of Europe, spends barely 1.26%. 

Here is The Full Video from Trump Breakfast with NATO Secretary General.

What would be really strange to the average American is, however, the extent to which many American analysts go to justify German’s severe underperformance. One, for example, says alliance are not about money, but what Germany contributes overall. That includes a large number of bases. The analyst sneeringly adds that Mr. Trump doesn’t understand alliances.  For more excuses, the best is that Europeans can’t afford to spend more because of their heavy social expenditure.  The great Washington Post, has even more unique excuses. An outstanding one is that NATO has increased defense spending over the last four years.

Reports German troops train with broomsticks in 2018.

At this point one feels like interjecting: Excuse me, please, why are Americans making excuses for the Europeans? Is it a forum for our analysts to show how “sophisticated” they are? Well, no matter how “sophisticated” they are, the reality doesn’t change: When the Russians heave to over the horizon, somewhere beyond three-quarters of the resources needed to stop them will come from the US. Doesn’t that give Mr. Trump the right to ask for a faster buildup to 2% of GDP? Astonishingly, the Washington Post opines that Mr. Trump’s pushiness is detracting from the efficacy of his goals because NATO, and especially Germans, get upset when he pushes.

Germany doesn’t have enough armor to do much of anything.

So just how long are the Americans supposed to stand around politely saying “We wish you’d spend more”? It’s so sad that the Europeans feel they can’t spend more because of the social welfare commitments. Earth to Europe: America has a large number of poor people, and a very large number who cannot afford medical care or decent housing. How about we ditch Europe and spend the savings on our social welfare? Is that too sophisticated for the Europeans to understand?

German Frigate catches fire during missile test 2018

The consequences of 25-years of underfunding for the Germans: In May the Luftwaffe had exactly four Typhoons of 128 ready for combat.  The CH-53s are available for an average 4-months a year. At times not a single heavy air transport is available. All six submarines were unavailable. In 2015, leaks said that German troops from its rapid response unit had to practice with broomsticks and arrive at the assembly area in civilian vans. The topper is something a high official said: “… a spokesperson for the Defense Ministry stated: “In the case of the Boxer armored vehicle, it was being used as a mobile headquarters, and a weapon is not foreseen and not necessary for a mobile headquarters.” So how are command troops supposed to defend themselves in combat? Handheld bubble blowers?

German ports are near Russia. They don’t have even the most basic of sub service to protect their home waters.

More laughs: 9th German Armored Brigade is to a provide a tank battlegroup for the lead brigade in the rapid reaction force for Central Europe.  Of 44 tanks, nine were ready in February 2018, and of 14 infantry combat vehicles 3 were ready.

Amateurs talk tactics. Professional talk logistics. And…

To remind: this is the same Army that almost 80-years ago conquered all Europe from the English Channel to binocular-viewing distance of Moscow, in 27-months.

Not to be outdone, the German Air Force is also a wreck.

How can anyone, American or German, have the gall to defend this state of affairs? Ooooh, President Trump speaks nasty when he’s angry. Poor national security snowflakes. The  mistake seems to be that he is speaking the truth.




Ravi Rikhye


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Ravi Rikhye
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