I choose not to watch television news. At all. No CNN, no Fox, no MSNBC, none of the broadcast networks. I much prefer to read my news, because the data rate is so much greater and because I don’t care for the curating, drip-feeding, and editing-by-omission that is the essence of talking-head journalism. But, since I am not a hermit, I get exposed to talking-head news from time to time.

Recently, while at the gym, I caught a glimpse of a CNN headline that read “Can NATO Survive the Trump Era?”

It put a smile on my face. One of vindication, and a bit of schadenfreude.

This headline, obviously born of the recent summit, has to do with Trump’s pressuring the other NATO nations to honor their spending obligations. Trump has touted some success in this pressure, but wants more.


Pax Americana, as I’ve argued for years (and well before Trump’s advent), has been a massive wealth transfer from America to Europe’s welfare states. American taxpayers have enabled the big social Democracies of Western Europe to underspend on their militaries, and therefore to lard up their various welfare programs (which our domestic socialists then point at as “this is what we should do). Hawks and apologists assert that our spending serves our purposes, of course, but I see absolutely no down side to demanding that the 29 NATO nations live up to the recommended 2% of GDP military spending (as of earlier this year, only 7 do so).

The threat from the East (see: Russia) and the Middle East (see: well, all of it) is of much greater import to Europe than it is to America. That we haven’t pressed them on this matter harder and sooner is one of the big failings of past administrations, no matter the party. These are nations with mostly lower national debt-to-GDP ratios than America’s (America’s is 105%, the EU as a whole is 80%, and all but four European NATO nations have rates lower than America’s), making it doubly insulting that America is borrowing money to provide for Europe’s defense.

As for the schadenfreude? Europeans and their leaders have long postured as wiser, more measured, and more sensible than the American yahoos who abandoned their political system nearly 250 years ago (an attitude echoed loudly by the UN types I’ve witnessed and met), and the image of the boorish Untethered Orange Id forcing them to ante up some bucks they’ve long managed to keep pocketed is delicious. This is an unreservedly “Good Trump” moment.

Even more delicious is the schad regarding CNN and its “if Trump did it, we must denounce it” sourpusses. They had to come up with an angle, and that angle was apparently that expecting the other nations in NATO to actually honor their pledges puts the 70 year old alliance at existential risk.

Oh, please. The European states need America more than America needs them. It’s past time we called them out for their freeloading on our taxpayers’ backs.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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