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The Brussels Summit and NATO Expansion

Trump spent the last two days berating NATO allies to increase military spending, and it yielded nothing [1]:

French President Emmanuel Macron has denied President Donald Trump’s claim that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product.

It is not surprising that gratuitously haranguing other governments in public doesn’t make them more cooperative. The president managed to alarm allied leaders with his antics, but he doesn’t seem to have persuaded them to do anything more than they were already doing. As he did at some other recent summits, Trump put on a show that achieved nothing except to damage relations with allies. When he claims [2] that he scored a great triumph, it is important to remember that he’s lying to the public as he so often does.

Meanwhile, NATO expansion continues to shuffle forward [3] like the zombie policy that it is:

NATO on Wednesday invited Macedonia to start talks to join the alliance after Skopje reached a deal with Greece in a long-running row over the country’s name.

Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said Macedonia would be able to become NATO’s newest member, provided the new name was approved in a referendum later this year.

Macedonia’s membership in NATO had been blocked by Greece because of the dispute over the country’s name, and it is likely that the recent agreement to settle that dispute will resolve the matter in the near future. While the possible resolution of the disagreement between the two neighbors is welcome news, it makes no sense to bring yet another country into the alliance. The alliance also continues to string along Georgia [4] with the promise of future membership, and Trump said [5] that Georgia would have a chance to join in the future. The U.S. doesn’t need any new security dependents, and it certainly shouldn’t support Georgian membership in the alliance, but the alliance keeps adding new members and keeps giving aspiring members encouragement that they will be let in at some point.

It is strange that ongoing NATO expansion never seems to provoke Trump’s ire. If Trump’s objections to European levels of military spending were rooted in a concern about free-riding allies, he ought to be opposed to adding new members that are guaranteed to be free-riding dependents. Curiously, he raised no objections to Montenegro’s accession last year and he evidently doesn’t oppose bringing in Macedonia. He isn’t even clearly opposed to bringing in Georgia. No matter what one thinks about the alliance, halting its continued, mindless expansion should be the priority for the U.S.

9 Comments (Open | Close)

9 Comments To "The Brussels Summit and NATO Expansion"

#1 Comment By Roy Fassel On July 12, 2018 @ 9:12 am

Bush 41 and Gorbachev had some sort of arrangement that if Germany would be allowed to reunify, NATO would not expand toward Russia. One of the great delusions and errors was made by the neocons who insisted in shoving NATO right up to Russia’s borders. This created needless concerns from the Russian’s point of view. Would American be willing to send their boys and girls to war along the Russian border to protect countries like Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania? Only fools who probably dodged the drafts endorsed such nonsense.

#2 Comment By Jay C On July 12, 2018 @ 11:24 am

” The president managed to alarm allied leaders with his antics, but he doesn’t seem to have persuaded them to do anything more than they were already doing. As he did at some other recent summits, Trump put on a show that achieved nothing except to damage relations with allies.

Well, since with Donald Trump, the “show” is pretty much all there is wrt his Presidency, his antics at the NATO meeting have probably (as the WH will reckon it) accomplished their goals. Those goals, apparently, being: 1) getting Trump’s name/pic in the headlines; 2) getting Trump’s memes (exaggerations, misstatements or outright lies as they may be) into the media; 3) getting the media to promulgate more of his signature campaign-rally whine about how America is being chronically “victimized” by freeloading foreigners, and that only he, President Tough Guy, can “fix” things.

Petty? Egocentric? Counterproductive? Of course: but it gets “good ratings”: welcome to foreign policy in the Age of Trump.

#3 Comment By Jon On July 12, 2018 @ 11:44 am

Here, the court jester while bringing upon himself accolades for his performance does not inspire his audience to laugh. Instead, they growl, and an angry scowl remains ensconced upon their faces.

In times past, the court jester served at the pleasure of the king. In these times, the king’s subjects serve at the pleasure of the court jester.

In a secret alcove tucked away from view, the court jester smiles as he places a crown upon his head privately rehearsing his future coronation. As an experienced comedian, he has turned humor upon its head. What is serious has become nothing but jocularity while what is humorous has become deadly serious.

#4 Comment By b. On July 12, 2018 @ 11:47 am

The credit for violating the informal – and maybe bad faith – assurances of the Bush administration goes to Clinton and the neolibs first, not that the neocons objected.

The dot.com bust was blamed on Bush, when it was a direct result of the Clinton financial industry “reforms” and the Greenspan Fed. The Great Recession of 2008 was blamed on Bush exclusively – while it is true that he and Bernanke did everything to make the problem worse, it was Clinton/Greenspan that created it in the first place.

The Great Recession 2.0 that will hit us some time between now and 2020 should be credited to Obama and Bernanke (and Yellen) first and foremost. Trump is certainly doing everything he can to inflate the bubbles even more, and providing ample trigger episodes to end the “irrational exuberance” racket that we call the stock market, and he should be blamed for the former (but not the latter, as a crash is now inevitable anyway), but again the primary responsibility for “re-priming” the “con” economy again belong to Obama et.al.

#5 Comment By b. On July 12, 2018 @ 11:49 am

“[H]e ought to be opposed to adding new members.”

Consistency is the hobgoblin of actual minds.

We should take note that Trump has not yet, by twit, committed NATO to accept Ukraine.

#6 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On July 12, 2018 @ 11:53 am

I can’t fathom why NATO even exists. The Soviet bear has expired and curbing Germany is no longer a military question. It’s like the March of Dimes after the polio vaccine was discovered–it should have folded its tent, but it tried to repurpose itself.

#7 Comment By rayray On July 12, 2018 @ 1:53 pm

Obama’s reforms were certainly truncated and insufficient, but given what he was up against congressionally, he debatably did what he could. Given what Trump is doing right now, I think we can safely say that he will rationally and morally own the coming recession.

#8 Comment By rayray On July 12, 2018 @ 1:58 pm

Trump played this same game, notoriously, a couple of times in the New York days. He would blow up a negotiation, he would essentially be told “no” in the negotiation, and then he would walk out and declare victory.

Worth noting – it didn’t work. The deal still didn’t happen. And if you’d like to know why no more New York deals were happening, that’s part of it. It’s your classic insecure guy move, designed to bully and embarrass. As we often say in what I do…this business is hard enough without this kind of jerk.

#9 Comment By LouisM On July 12, 2018 @ 11:33 pm

I think its almost laughable the paranoia surrounding Russia. Is Russia an enemy or a frenemy or misunderstood outsider.

The one thing that is never revealed is the meddling the US or Israel or EU does within Russia or its nearby territories. Id wager that a lot of what we label as irrational and unprovoked behavior in Russia is actually provoked.

I wish I could tell the Ukrainians, trust me, you do not want to be apart of the European Union. They could very easily do to Ukraine what the EU did to Greece. You would be trading one Soviet Union for another Soviet Union.

The real threat to the US, EU (nearly every nation within the EU), Australia, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. 1) Most of these countries are secular and depopulating. 2) Most of these countries are being outpopulated by African and Muslim migrants who have no loyalty to the nation, traditions or culture that they reside. 3) Most of these countries are little innocent bunny rabbits who are drunk with leftist / progressive utopian social engineering and cannot see the sobering reality of the tribalism and poverty that the rest of the world lives. They cannot defend themselves or their citizens or their borders or their culture or their faith or their traditions or their marriages or their families or their genders or their existence as a nation.


NATO expansion is just an organism that wants to keep growing and is reaching the limits of its growth potential. If it insists on growing beyond its limits then it will initiate a push back or a blow back that it is unprepared and doesn’t expect…in the end an organism that must grow and cannot will die. NATO and the EU both need to look at the rot within, fix it and focus on sustainability.