NATO, A Naked Emperor by Publius Tacitus


Further proof of the craziness and pettiness of the anti-Trumpers is the reaction to Donald Trump calling out NATO members, Germany in particular, for expecting the United States to carry the heavy load while they pursue their own side deals with Russia. It was refreshing to hear Trump say out loud what should have been on the public table a decade ago:

President Trump demanded NATO allies increase defense spending immediately, and double their current goal for burden-sharing in the defense alliance. As Trump gathered with leaders of NATO countries for a summit in Brussels, he also repeatedly said Germany's energy dependence on Russia undermines their independence.

He blasted the German government for not spending more on defense and suggested that a 3-year-old energy supply agreement has left Germany "captive" to Russia. . . . "Germany is totally controlled by Russia" because of its reliance on Russian natural gas.

"I think it's very unfair to our country," Trump said. "It's very unfair to our taxpayer."

Trump later tweeted that Germany's energy arrangement undermines NATO and demanded allies increase defense spending immediately — not by a goal set for 2024, which the president seemed to misconstrue as 2025 in his tweet.

Just when you thought the fainting couches were all deployed, along comes this. I found it very hilarious witnessing the various establishment foreign policy "experts" having a case of the vapors over the audacity of Donald Trump to call out the NATO members for not fulfilling their commitment and then playing a double game with Russia. 

We are witnessing a 21st Century update of Hans Christian Andersen's story, The Emperor's New Clothes. Donald Trump is the child:

So now the Emperor walked under his high canopy in the midst of the procession, through the streets of his capital; and all the people standing by, and those at the windows, cried out, "Oh! How beautiful are our Emperor's new clothes! What a magnificent train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully the scarf hangs!" in short, no one would allow that he could not see these much-admired clothes; because, in doing so, he would have declared himself either a simpleton or unfit for his office. Certainly, none of the Emperor's various suits, had ever made so great an impression, as these invisible ones.

"But the Emperor has nothing at all on!" said a little child.

"Listen to the voice of innocence!" exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another.

"But he has nothing at all on!" at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.

NATO, like the naked Emperor, is deluding itself and living a fantasy. Russia is not going to invade any of Europe. Period. That is a myth that is being furiously perpetuated by politicians and industrialists that benefit from the continued existence of NATO. In reality, NATO is bereft of the military capabilities required to fend off a Russian invasion if Putin and his Generals decided to go insane and launch World War III. But that fact does not prevent us from spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a reverse military fantasy. 

Here's the good news. If you get the luxury of being posted to NATO Headquarters in Belgium you will be treated to the best beer in the world as long as you are there. Got to give the Belgian monks their due–they learned how to make the best beer and ales in the world. Hands down.

If Russia really does pose an existential threat to Poland, Germany and the rest of Europe then why is Germany willing to make itself dependent on Russia for supplying its energy? That makes no sense whatsoever if we are serious about the raison d'être of NATO.

The western elite continue to push the lie, the myth, that Russia is a marauding, ravenous bear keen on devouring neighboring states. I am sure you have heard ad nauseam the refrain, "Russia invaded the Ukraine." It is a phrase intended to make one think of Nazi divisions flooding across the border as a prelude to exterminating the Jews of the shtetls. Conveniently excluded from this discussion is the covert action carried out by western intelligence organizations in helping spark the Euromaidan movement, where protesters, funded by the likes of the CIA and MI6 succeeded in ousting the government of Viktor Yanukovych, on 22 February 2014, even though he had been democratically elected in 2010. In the west we call this a coup. The western funded and backed protesters took control of government buildings in the capital city of Kiev, along with the city itself. 

This set the stage for those Ukrainians with close ties to Russia to push back. The Russian annexation of Crimea, which features a majority Russian speaking population, actually came about as a result of a referendum (unlike the coup that deposed President Yanukovych in February). The Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine (which consisted primarily of supplying weapons, money and training to locals) was a reaction to the intervention of western intelligence agencies who were helping rally anti-Russian Ukrainians to push for closer ties with NATO. 

The cluelessness in the United States about Russian sensitivities over NATO military forces meddling on Russia's western border is part of the problem. Having lost millions of Soviet soldiers and citizens in the wake of Nazi Germany's 1940 invasion of the Soviet Union, Russian leaderss are understandably paranoid about having foreign military forces, like NATO, conduct military exercises on their doorstep. 

NATO revels in the fantasy that it is a defensive organization. But when the Soviet Union collapsed, the West, rather than dismantle NATO, embarked on an expansion into territory that had been controlled by Moscow. The Russians accused the United States of breaking a promise made by Jim Baker, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State:

In early February 1990, U.S. leaders made the Soviets an offer. According to transcripts of meetings in Moscow on Feb. 9, then-Secretary of State James Baker suggested that in exchange for cooperation on Germany, U.S. could make "iron-clad guarantees" that NATO would not expand "one inch eastward." Less than a week later, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to begin reunification talks. No formal deal was struck, but from all the evidence, the quid pro quo was clear: Gorbachev acceded to Germany's western alignment and the U.S. would limit NATO's expansion. 

And it is Americans ignorant of history that can not understand Russian pique over NATO. I get it. It appears that Trump does too.

Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run.

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