Friday, June 02, 2017
If He'll Desert the Fight Against Climate Change, Why Would We Count on Him When It Comes to NATO?
The world received an unwelcome but important message yesterday. Don't rely on the United States of America when the chips are down.
That post-war trans-Atlantic consensus that has served Europe and North America for the past seventy years? NATO? America was always seen to be the cornerstone of that arrangement.
In Donald Trump's feeble but deeply twisted mind, the Paris climate accord was just another case of the world playing the U.S. for a sucker. The deal, like every treaty, pact or agreement to which America is party, has to be renegotiated. Washington wants a better deal. Americans are winners.
Trump is dining at the table of American exceptionalism. He subscribes to the notion of the United States as the "world's indispensable nation." It fuels his megalomania that's always tinged with just a whiff of sadism.
The thing is that America's elevated standing in the world has always stood on a foundation of confidence. America's core allies have always believed that the U.S. could be relied upon. Every post-war president until Trump worked diligently to nurture that confidence. "Until Trump."
At Brussels, NATO headquarters, the alliance leaders were anxious to hear Trump affirm Article 5, the "attack on one is an attack on all" provision of the Atlantic Charter, the very essence of the alliance. They needed to hear Trump acknowledge Article 5 because the silly bastard has previously mused that America might not answer that call in the future. America, the one country in the history of NATO that has invoked Article 5 to summon its allies to the war in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. Instead,Trump said nothing.
We know that Trump is a lying, chiseling bastard from his well-earned reputation in property development and the long trail of tradesmen he would routinely stiff. Cheating those who were foolish enough to trust him was Trump's way of topping up his profits. Maybe Trump sees the rest of the world as America's gullible tradesmen.
We know, or have every reason to assume, that Trump intends to play us for suckers. It's time we acted accordingly. A good start might be to spurn Trump's demands for NATO troops for Afghanistan. America's not "under attack" any more, the essential condition of Article 5. America had no plan to win when it went into Afghanistan in 2001. It has no plan to win today, 15 years later. Why should we jump back into that bathwater?
Angela Merkel is right. America is no longer our "reliable partner." In the first four months of his presidency Donald Trump has put paid to that notion, the essential confidence that has sustained the West's relationship with Washington for the past seventy years.
America has forfeit any claim on us to support its hapless war in Afghanistan. Let's tell Trump, "not this time."