Posted by Curt on 16 November, 2016 at 7:24 pm. 2 comments already!


Tom Rogan:

Speaking five years ago, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned Europe to increase defense spending or prepare for a Trump-like Presidency. Americans, he said, might soon elect a leader intolerant of defense free riders:

The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense. . . . Future U.S. political leaders — those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me — may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.

Come January 20, 2017, the Gates prophecy will be realized.

European leaders have entered the whirlwind. President of the E.U. Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, summed up the emotion when he threatened that Trump’s election might change U.S.-E.U. relations “fundamentally and structurally.” The E.U. would “need to teach the president-elect what Europe is and how it works,” said a typically self-impressed Juncker. German chancellor Angela Merkel warns that future relations with the U.S. will be conditioned on Trump’s conduct.

Still, E.U. leaders are far more anxious than they are angry. They know that they ignored Gates’s 2011 challenge and that now it has bitten them.

But for Europe and America, and all those who value the stable peace that NATO serves, Trump’s victory can be a positive. We can hope that Trump, who is now receiving high-level intelligence Presidential Daily Briefs, has woken up about Russia, that he now realizes Russia’s geopolitical interests are not America’s. If so, Trump has a unique opportunity to strengthen NATO and make it fairer for the American people.

For a start, Trump should use his inaugural address to express a realist commitment to global stability. Charting a middle ground between the first Bush administration’s neoconservatism and the Obama administration’s prevaricating appeasement, Trump should recognize his indispensible role as leader of the free world. In doing so, he’ll quickly consolidate those who feared he would render himself a puppet for Putin. Speed matters. If Trump hesitates, U.S. allies and enemies will make policy without regard to U.S. interests. How do we know this? Because it’s exactly what happened under President Obama.

A declaration of intent by Trump would also give him the diplomatic capital to call for a new globalism — a new international order that respects national sovereignty but expects shared sacrifices within alliances. Trump should then call on all NATO member states and conflict-threatened U.S. allies — such as Japan, whom the United States defends against China — to spend the NATO target of at least 2 percent of their annual GDP on defense by 2019 (South Korea already spends 2 percent). Finally, Trump should state that he’ll respect the sovereign choices of each nation, but that those who prefer other spending priorities should expect a changed relationship with America.

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