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."


Tal Hartsfeld said...

I agree with this article.

Confidence and credibility are the ONLY reasons anyone trusts anything, be it an industry, product, agency, or government itself.

If something or someone doesn't come through for you (at least in part) when needed or wanted, what use are you going to have for it?

Toby said...

NATO without the US has a nice ring to it.

The Mound of Sound said...

This must be a very difficult time for many Americans, Tal. My own pals in Seattle are almost beside themselves. It's important that we remember that the American people aren't behind Trump on this. They want action on climate change. Trump's base may support him but they're a minority. The silver lining in this cloud could be that, going forward, it fixes blame for early onset climate change impacts squarely on the Republicans. The GOP has worked long and tenaciously to subvert any and all action on climate change. Let them reap their whirlwind.

The Mound of Sound said...

Toby, NATO has outlived its usefulness at least in the context of Washington's dutiful Foreign Legion. The Alliance may have had no purpose after the fall of the Soviet Union but I think the future will require something along those lines again, especially among the founding NATO membership. Whether there's a place for the United States in that is unclear. That's the inevitable problem with trust. Once it's lost you have to work very hard for a good long time to restore it.

Lorne said...

I can't help but think that Trump's undermining of NATO is, in fact, Putin's endgame here, Mound. If the Americans refuse to join in on Putin's next incursion, the Russian dictator will have a free hand. It's true that Trump is an absolute idiot, but I do wonder if the stories about what Russia has on him are true, and that Vlad the puppet master is succeeding in his game plan.

The Mound of Sound said...

You raise a valid concern, Lorne. On Trump's return from Europe I wrote a piece (not yet posted) about how Trump's disruptive behaviour at the NATO and G7 summits would trigger not only impeachment but imprisonment if it was discovered he was in collusion with the Kremlin. What he achieved was of immense value to Putin, especially as Russia was booted from what had been the G8. Undermining NATO certainly strengthens Russia's hand in eastern Europe and the Baltic states. If those events were seen in the context of aiding Russia, Trump's treachery would be treasonous. He'd be spending the rest of his days in the Greybar Hotel.

the salamander said...

.. reap the whirlwind .. I lke that..

I was trading 'war stories' just the other day.. with a salty old dude who's work experience far exceeds my extensive ramblings in the field of opportunity called Canada. He's seen a phenomena I've mentioned a few times to those I trust won't cringe during the telling. That being.. for every tough guy looking for a fight, there's someone coming.. right around the corner that will swat them casually aside in passing & leave them behind, face down in the dust.

That's kinda where I place Donald the amazing swingin shriveldick Trump.. in the mystical & mythical realm of 'tough guys' .. Yes, Trump is the fatass phony type, hitching his big shiny suit - about to spew his nanny raised nonsense when he may notice he's suddenly face down in the dust and talking out his ass. All the 500/hr lawyers & those dimsum trophy sons & Steve Bannon will be needed just to get ol dung face donaldo upright, whereupon he'll snivel n whine about a lucky suckerpunch whilst he was pulling out his unfair fight rulebook. 'I wuz just about to trash that f'er when I slipped & caught a lucky sucker punch'

Trump will get hurt the worst.. when he lands hard, right where he's vulnerable.. on his his wallet afore bouncing onto his race off a wall. We're seeing the flameout crash n burn now. Ol fat lips Frump already has his lard ass on the ropes.. sucking for oxygen & in way over his fat head,. with his demons, debt, Russia and the white nazis etc.. and the most frightening and dangerous opponent he's ever met.. himself. Yes, that's the guy I see coming around the corner who'll trash The Trumpster.. its himself.. and its an inevitable collision of one half a self destructing disaster seeking the other half a disaster.. & finding it.

Oh.. it may not be obvious, it may be swift & sudden.. blink the eye & ya miss it. Bystanders & the eyewitless will say he tripped or stumbled. But in my view, thats how a streetfight or prison yard payback goes. It aint like the movies, or in a novel. Its a flicker of movement, barely there. A defiance of gravity or a silent thunder bolt seemingly from nowhere.

Excuse the expression & apologies for the biological analogy.. but in the mystery of Trump Time.. it'll be like a transient killer whale in a hurry to get somewhere grabbing a quick snack in passing.. and an unfortunate blundering old beast suddenly finds itself missing 1/2 of itself .. and the herd has to move on in fear & wonderment, a new leader or bell cow moves to the fore.. Trumph is just a fat old aged cow.. lunch for a wolfpack.. or a dimwitted evening snack for an apex hunter

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, in the next day or two I'll post from an article in a recent Aviation Week describing how America's defence contractors are playing Trump. They've learned to act as though he's kicking their butts on contracts while he's actually doing nothing of the sort. So long as they can make sure Trump looks good, he's putty in their hands. Sure he's lying to the American people but the defence industry isn't going to do anything that might harm their interests.

the salamander said...

as always .. be lookin forward to that Mr Mound..

old auntie Martha - my late great legal guardian
would hand me her Aviation leak n Space Mythology
when she disembarked from the train at Acton, Ontario enroute to her farm
n my fortunate 2nd home.. god bless her

I was what.. 12 mebbe .. n greener than grass just planted
My older n wiser hip sister hopped off th train with her one day..
had a Beatle wig for the dimfounded farm boy me
and a thing called Sgt Pepper went round n round on a turntable she gave me

Well, the two of em were pretty radical.. to a kid
who liked to snuck up on unsuspecting deer
n baled sum hay.. fed our lovely black angus calves..
n much later had a 22 then a scoped 22-250 cal
for ground hogs migrating to our trefoil or clover fields

Auntie Martha was very up on trefoil... called Rapeseed by a new name eh..
Ahead of her time n 1st female Certified Stock Analyst in history of 'man' .. huh ! !

I devoured the discovery a guy she lunched with.. n called his 1st draft 'The Right Stuff'
Auntie Martha did Bay St lunch in New York or San Fran with a callow fellow parishioner oft times..
guy named McLuhan ..& said - he said 'the medium is the massage'
Aunt Marha was big on verbatim .. perfect chapter n verse
more infallible than the pope .. or trumph ..

Thats right.. she said he had a special rwinkle in his eyes
& wuz a twinkle in her bright blue eyes.. in the telling

the dude said 'massage' .. not message
her hearing was A-1 - AAA - destroyer hull & deckplate right stuff recollection ..
its was eerie at times what she reflected - n as th broker boys slurped double martinis

& so was my hearing n absorption - she could hear my sister n I near midnight or well after
turnin pages readin Rudyard Kipling, Nevil Shute or Av weekly under the covers by flashlight upstairs
while grandad snored loudly beside her n her sistas from too much whisky n no filter cigarettes

grandma abed at 7:30 from cookin n feedin 3 generations of Irish prairie farmer immigrants
who come across the great big seas n passed Newfieland in the 1820's
long before the famine..& were cooks n atop th mast lookouts for vikings in th late 1770's

We creepin downstairs as Keon n Baun slayed the dreaded Canadians n th Beliveau..

My ancestor folks r th folks who looked in th eyes of the First Nations
n saw death, or were graciously given deer n moose meat n berries
when the cold times come a calling, sheathed their shilleleghs n shivs n hard fists

salamanders have spoken ..
truly admire how you do.. too ..

Anyone who thinks ya just land or cross into a barren heathen land is just pure asshat n fool
about to starve while clutching a crusifix .. to their freezin n starvin bosom or shriveled trumpydick ..

we being massaged Mound .. n there aint no message.. just noyz ..or worse, grooming
take that from an altar boy cum farm boy .. with mucho thanks to his auntie Martha
who bought, much as her ancestors were given.. or pioneered a farm..
.. just like her deep Irish forbearers..

But.. she saw a priest..
his hand, gently massaging my slender 10 year old shoulder..
& knew how to go from there.. and so do I .. now

Trump has his hand on America's shoulder ....

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, some families are lucky to have someone like your aunt Martha. They are family treasures and lineages can be built around them. The thing is to keep their memory fresh and see that it's handed down in as much detail as possible. Too often that invaluable memory can be lost over the course of three or four generations.