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Boats 11-08-2019 01:07 PM

Emmanuel Macron is right: NATO is over
Emmanuel Macron is right: NATO is over
By: Jacob Heilbrunn - Washington Post - 11-8-19

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French President Emmanuel Macron, seated between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, at left, in Frankfurt, Germany, last month. (Pool/Reuters)

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and a scant month before NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary in London, French President Emmanuel Macron is disrupting the party. During an interview published on Thursday in the Economist, Macron blew a loud raspberry at the military alliance, declaring that Donald Trump’s presidency has inflicted “brain death” upon it. Ooh la la! His fellow European leaders are dismissing Macron’s remarks as Gallic impertinence; German chancellor Angela Merkel frostily remarked on Thursday, “This view does not correspond to mine,” while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described Germany as being “at the heart of NATO.” They need to get over it.

The truth is that Macron has it right. The surprising thing isn’t that NATO is on artificial life support. It’s that the alliance has lasted as long as it has.

In many ways, NATO is a victim of its own success. In 1957, Lord Ismay, the organization’s first secretary general, explained that the purpose of NATO was to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” The formula worked. But after 1989, with Russia prostrate and Germany again ascending, NATO embarked upon a protracted search for a new one. It substituted a process for a doctrine by deciding to enlarge its membership rather than define its mission. Its welcome mat inadvertently set the stage for a fresh confrontation with Moscow as it now directly abutted Russia’s borders. The result was a kind of geopolitical ouroboros: NATO helped provoke the very standoff that allowed it to justify its continued existence.

Until now, a revived Russia threat has allowed the alliance to keep chugging along and some Trump officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are embracing it. On Thursday, during an official visit to Germany to mark the anniversary of reunification, Pompeo stated, “NATO remains an important, critical, perhaps historically one of the most critical, strategic partnerships in all of recorded history.” The champions of the alliance can also point to an uptick in U.S. troops stationed in Europe and the upcoming NATO exercise “Defender 20,” which will feature more than 37,000 U.S. troops.

But Trump’s own actions and rhetoric suggest that he wants to wave auf wiedersehen to the alliance. His willingness to allow Turkey to run roughshod over the Kurds, his attempt to muscle over Ukraine, his ostentatious praise of Russia and his unremitting condemnations of Germany offer ample evidence of his disdain for the Western allies.

In warning about Trump, Macron has put his finger on a fundamental problem — the fraying Three Musketeers credo of the alliance: All for one and one for all. When asked whether he believed in Article 5′s declaration of reciprocal defense obligations when a member is attacked, Macron punted: “I don’t know.”

Such doubts will only be multiplied if Trump were to win reelection in 2020 and further emboldened to pursue his benighted “America First” course. Trump has made it clear that he regards relations with the allies as an economic venture, in which they are supposed to cough up the funds for their own protection, but the overwhelming odds are that the president’s support in an actual crisis would probably be about as reliable as his previous casino ventures. This is why Macron’s apprehensions about the debility of NATO are as timely as they are appropriate.

What can be done? The moment has arrived for France and Germany to adopt more than baby steps to make Europe great again. This would require them to establish a Franco-German condominium to assert their interests, including the joint development of new nuclear weapons to deter Russia and China. It would also allow Europe to win an independent footing from an increasingly hostile United States.

It’s always possible that France and Germany would adopt the path of least resistance and seek to placate a revanchist Russia by ceding it a de facto sphere of influence in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

But there are some promising signs: After decades of inhibitions about the prospect of rearmament, Germany is finally starting to up its military game. Its doughty defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is seeking to cement her bona fides to replace Merkel as chancellor, delivered a major speech at the Bundeswehr University in Munich on Thursday declaring that Germany should participate militarily in Asia to help contain China and that it should become the third-biggest spender on defense (behind China and the United States) by 2031.

For his part, Macron has been pushing a European Intervention Initiative that is supposed to allow Europe to operate independently of either NATO or the United States. Forewarned is forearmed. When Europe’s leaders assemble with Trump in December, they would do well to treat the festivities in London less as an affirmation of NATO than as a remembrance of things past.

Personal note: The next thing we will hear is that Trump pulling troops out of those countries and I fear things will only get worse from that point on. NATO no longer trust Trump especially with all his ongoing issues currently underway and in process in the US. More instability will grow and we the (US) will end up standing alone in most cases and Europe will become something altogether different in the near future. I don't foresee any quick fixes and our ability to work with them in the near future. It's doubtful - as they can no longer depend or trust America since Trump took office.


Boats 11-08-2019 01:22 PM

Allies aghast at Emmanuel Macron’s dismissal of NATO
Allies aghast at Emmanuel Macron’s dismissal of NATO
By: The Economist News 11-8-19

FOR MONTHS, NATO officials have fretted that a summit of alliance leaders in London on December 3rd might be soured by an impolitic remark by Donald Trump. They didn’t count on Emmanuel Macron. In an interview with The Economist published on November 7th, the president of France declared that NATO was experiencing “brain death”. He cast doubt on Article Five, the alliance’s collective-defence clause, and said he was not sure whether America would show up to defend Europe in a crisis.

Mr Macron was saying no more than has been murmured in chancelleries and think-tanks for years, particularly since the election of Mr Trump, who has called NATO “obsolete” and chastised allies for failing to spend enough on defense. But Mr Macron’s willingness to say it out loud worries NATO.


Playing hardball with our alias won't improve relations. Trump has to cool his jets and become a diplomat of which he has little knowledge of. His way or the highway won't fly in NATO. He's no diplomat rather he's becoming a Supreme Leader like Russia and North Korea and that won't fly with NATO Leaders!

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