Multipolar World

Lessons to be drawn from Trump’s betrayal of European allies

Jorge Costa Oliveira

On February 10, in one of those remarks bordering on the outrageous, the candidate who the Republican Party, also known as the Grand Old Party (GOP), will likely nominate to contest the presidential elections, Donald Trump, stated that NATO countries not spending [the minimum allocation of 2% of their GDP on Defense expenditure] will not only not be defended by the U.S., but he would also encourage Russia to attack them (!). Various European leaders condemned these irresponsible statements, and NATO’s Secretary-General explained that they put allies at risk by encouraging Russian aggression.

No Euro-Atlantic supporter can downplay this statement. Trump’s declaration is an act of betrayal against long-time allies who share with America a civilizational heritage and common values. Beyond grotesque, Trump’s quip reveals ignorance; European countries neighboring or closer to Russia already contribute to NATO above the minimum threshold of 2% of their GDP, with the exception of Turkey (which has the second-largest armed forces in the Alliance and does not seem to be apprehensive about Russian expansionist whims).

The problem is not new. As Anne Applebaum reminds us in a recent article in The Atlantic, long before becoming a political candidate, Trump questioned the value of American alliances. Regarding Europeans, Trump wrote that “their conflicts are not worth American lives,” suggesting that “withdrawing from Europe would save [the U.S.] millions of dollars annually.” During his presidency, he took several derogatory stances towards the Alliance, having declared in a meeting with John Bolton (then National Security Advisor): “I don’t give a shit about NATO.” Accordingly, Trump threatened several times to withdraw from NATO, including at the NATO summit in 2018.

The main lesson to draw is that we have been overly dependent on the goodwill of the U.S. concerning Europe’s defense. European states (and the EU) need to increase their military spending and provide the European Defence Agency with serious means. To create a truly deterrent arsenal. To have our own massive European production in all relevant segments. And to use the European economic and financial muscle without hesitation.

Moreover, Europe absolutely must ensure that European technology and components, military or dual-use, cannot reach enemies of European interests. And that companies that supply such technology or components to them are severely punished; given the ineptitude in combating the current shame of indirect exports from EU countries to Russia, via Central Asia or Turkey, this task should be assigned to a special supervisory entity.

After the reaction of European leaders and the NATO Secretary-General, prominent GOP members (controlled today by a militia of uncritical spineless lackeys of the creature) rushed to express solidarity with Trump. When a deranged person with no sense of state, honor for international treaty commitments, or respect for History, may very well be the next president of the U.S., we must assume as a priority the full autonomy of Europe’s security to avoid depending on him (now) or whichever other lunatic Americans may want to elect in the future.

Jorge Costa Oliveira

Categories Multipolar World Opinion