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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Media Doesn't Understand -- Trump's Foreign Policy Is Working

This morning brought more "analysis" from the mainstream media about President Trump's just completed trip and its effects abroad.  A good example is an article in USA Today breathlessly announcing that European leaders are "distancing themselves" from Trump.  It's a good example of the inability of the mainstream media to recognize reality.  Let me explain:

The biggest move of so called distancing came when Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said that Europeans have to rely more on themselves "in friendship with the United States".  Merkel's message has been interpreted as Eurocentric; she wants Europeans to decide how Europe will be run, defended, etc.  Merkel is not advocating a break with the USA, but rather she is recognizing that Europe cannot simply rely on the USA for its defense.

If you think about what President Trump's position was at NATO and at the G-7, Merkel was essentially agreeing with him.  The President says that it is unfair to put all the burdens of defending NATO on the USA and the American taxpayer.  Trump wants Europe to do more; he wants Europe to actually meet the standards set by the NATO treaty.  Under that treaty, each member of NATO is supposed to devote 2% of its GDP to defense.  Only 5 out of 28 countries do that; the rest are - to some extent - freeloading on the USA.  Merkel's call for Europeans, especially Germans, to rely more on themselves is another way of saying that they will have to take care of themselves more.  She's not advocating a break with the USA, not even a bit. 

Look, for fifty years after World War II, the idea of a strong Germany was unacceptable to most of the rest of Europe.  In two world wars, that continent had suffered as a result of German expansionism and nationalism.  It was a common goal to keep Germany militarily weak.  Today, that is no longer an imperative.  The generations that fought the wars are gone or about to disappear.  We may see strange currents in the German political scene from time to time, but that is no more than what is seen in the rest of Europe.  We are at a point where Germany can participate in its own defense in a major way.

The same thing has been true in Japan.  After the second world war, the USA demilitarized Japan and institutionalized that in the Japanese constitution.  Recently, with the rising threats from North Korea and even China, Japan has taken steps towards rearming itself. 

Bringing both Germany and Japan back into the real world in which the countries must defend themselves is a good thing.  America never undertook the obligation in perpetuity to provide a defense for those countries.


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