A kind of panic spread rapidly among European leaders when U.S. President Donald Trump, shortly after being installed in the White House, said that he would “reformulate” the country’s participation in NATO.
During his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump first criticized her for what he described as Germany’s great debt to NATO, and then thanked her for the country’s commitment to the alliance.
Little by little, after the initial anxiety, things have settled down, and Trump has now announced that he will attend the next Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in Brussels. His greatest concern has already been made known by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who insisted that the United States continues to be “100%” committed to NATO.
It was an obvious ploy, in my opinion, an effort to rearrange the load, with the U.S. President invoking his favorite subject: money. He is demanding that Europe make a more equitable contribution to financing NATO which is supported, in large part, by the United States.
We should not believe, for even a moment, that Trump would consider eliminating NATO, or doubt that there will be new military interventions in which its troops will participate.
Let us not forget that the Pentagon has initiated and carried out several wars over the last few years, both with and without NATO, with and without United Nations approval, and generally without the support of the U.S. people, who pay for these adventures with their tax dollars and the deaths of their children.
More than a few soldiers, who returned from these wars never understanding why they were sent, have committed suicide or suffered devastating mental illness as a result of the trauma.
Perhaps this is why leaders of the alliance continue traveling, giving speeches, immersed in their other war – the media battle – poisoning the world with tales of “dangerous Russians,” and aggravating latent conflicts that can escalate into armed clashes and allow for military intervention.
The best example is Ukraine, and the greatest submission to the designs of NATO can be seen in Eastern Europe, where countries geographically close to Russia’s borders have ceded territory and sovereignty, allowing Washington to install batteries of anti-missile weapons pointing toward Moscow. NATO is stronger than it has ever been since the end of the Cold War, with an ever greater presence on its eastern flank.
Czech General Petr Pavel, head of the alliance’s Military Committee commented, during a recent trip to Madrid, that he doesn’t see any imminent danger of war, but does believe that the allies must be prepared in case Russia’s behavior becomes more threatening.
To give his statement some foundation, he applauded countries like Spain which have funded their military budgets, adding that money must be “spent well in terms of results.”
The next NATO Summit is scheduled for May 25 in Brussels, and should be one more of the forums in which the “Russian danger” occupies a prime spot on the agenda.
We will see what Trump has to say about the issue, since on other occasions he has downplayed accusations against Moscow, which has also raised questions among his European allies who are accustomed to blindly following Washington’s lead.
Fragile Europe continues to face a prolonged economic crisis, damage caused by Britain’s exit from the EU, and the effects of sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S., which hamper European imports and exports to and from a sizeable traditional market. Countries on the continent are clearly incapable of assuming greater military expenditures, which are already high, reaching 2% of GDP.
Agreements to be reached at the upcoming NATO Summit are as yet undefined, but this reporter believes they will be no different from others, although the issue of financial contributions may garner more attention. Otherwise, it’s more of the same. The question that remains unanswered is: What is NATO good for, if anything?