During his presidential campaign – and ever since his inauguration – President Trump has constantly called on the other members of NATO to increase their financial contribution. At the time Trump took office, only three of the 29 NATO nations were meeting their agreed-to funding of two percent of Gross Domestic Product. As with the UN, the United States was the only nation carrying a disproportionate percentage of the alliance budget.
In typical fashion, Trump was pretty rough on our NATO allies. He treated them like the deadbeats they were.
That got our pin-stripped pants folks in the international relations community all a twitter – so to speak. They accused Trump of violating diplomatic norms – bullying our friends. They accused Trump of trying to destroy NATO as a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The complainers broke down into two camps – those who simply hate Trump and those know-it-alls in the diplomatic community who had been calling on the other members of NATO to increase their contribution – but did nothing about it. Consequently, it never happened. Doing nothing, after all, is the diplomatic norm in their world.
So, what is the situation today?
Weeeeell, the number of nations meeting their commitment has increased from three to eight – and most of the other nations have increased their contributions. In a recent press conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported an increase in NATO income of $130 billion since 2016 (the year Trump became President) – and said that there still needs to be more improvement in member nations meeting their quotas.
Stoltenberg said that increases in member contributions were necessary because of more dangerous international conditions, terrorism, and new military technologies. But … he said that such increases should NOT be because Trump called for them. They had nothing to do with the guy who had been bullying and threatening them, according to the Secretary General.
Now let’s get this picture straight. For decades, the American diplomatic establishment has been trying to get our NATO allies in meeting their financial obligations without any success – even as international conditions became more dangerous, terrorism resulted in a Caliphate off the shore of Europe and military technologies improved immensely. NATO could keep pace with those past events thanks to the misguided generosity of one nation – America.
Democrats and their media allies have been quick to take up the narrative set forth by Stoltenberg. If you start with the argument that nothing Trump does will have good results, it is easy to assume his pressures on NATO had nothing to do with the improvements in funding. But that is preposterous.
In an odd analysis, former General Mark Hertling – a consistent Trump critic – derisively said that the NATO leaders only playing up to Trump so that he would not grouse so much about the funding shortfalls – another example of who Trump Derangement Syndrome addles the left-wing brain. Of course, there were placating Trump. That is called a victory – something Hertling should understand.
The only thing that changed in terms of NATO funding between now and then has been the election of Trump and the public shaming (bullying, if you prefer) he bestowed on our allies. And as far as that nonsense about helping Putin, Trump actually strengthened NATO, added to the membership rolls and sent military aide to Ukraine – a nation eager to join NATO and avoid being Putin’s next conquest.
Though lost in the fog of impeachment – intentionally, to be sure – the increased funding of NATO is a “yuge” victory for Trump, the United States, and the free world. Mark up one more for The Lipper.
So, there ‘tis.