In 2017, the US contributed more funds to NATO then Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Canada combined. Those countries act like freeloaders. That means 51% of NATO’s combined GDP is paid by the US! And then there is the $151 billion trade deficits with the EU. Germany is complaining that they need protection against Russia, but pays Russia billions for gas, and the US is indirectly contributing with that.
Is it strange that the US is assessing the costs and impact of a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of American troops stationed in Germany (source)? Is it strange that President Trump publicly is asking to increase the NATO members military spending to 2% of their GDP multiple times? Is it so strange that President Trump is going to demand it? It’s not the question that he has other options, but the question is if the Europeans have other options. They don’t.
NATO’s most recent estimate (June 2017), only six nations met the 2 percent target: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland and Romania. The latter two countries barely met the goal by contributing 2.01 percent and 2.02 percent respectively.
But how is the defense of the European countries America’s business? What interest does that give America? In 1917 –18 and in 1941–45? Yes, there was a strong interest in interfering before it would hit America. Or Stalin in 1948? Or the rest of the cold war? Yes, all of those dark times it was a very good idea to defend Europe as part of the global defense against communism, the threat from the aggressive USSR.
Europe is far stronger today, and Russia relatively far weaker. Russia does threaten the post Cold War redrawing of its western borders, and the extension of the EU and NATO eastwards. But it has no chance of overrunning Europe. The actual and original real reasons for the NATO was: “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down” (Lord Hastings Ismay, first secretary general from the NATO). Russians in the form of the USSR are gone, Germans are not a threat anymore, so why are the Americans needed for the NATO, mainly and primarily in defense of Europe.
NATO has failed to be of much use. After 9/11, the alliance invoked its Article 5 mutual-defense provision on the behalf of the US. But action from America’s allies did not follow the grandiose gesture – the NATO mission in Afghanistan relied mostly on U.S. forces. Among the twenty-nine members, only the United States is really serious about its Article 3 obligations to defend itself, spending hundreds of billions of dollars or 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense.And those are only the projected costs and doesn’t show the real costs, which goes into more then a trillion dollars … yearly.
Britain and Poland are the only two members which meets the 2% NATO payment requirements, Canada a meager 1% and Germany a 1.2%, which navy and air force is in desperate need of repair and reconstruction.
The actual reason to keep NATO functioning is defunct just like the Warschaupact was. It’s about time to get America out of the NATO and let it shudder with the Europeans, where it belongs. They can do with NATO what it wants.
With that in mind, we are going to have a very interesting summit, where NATO is meeting President Trump. With the dying old European political order in Trump’s mind, the total changed worldview, the trade deficits, the almost insulting hostility (barely kept under control) of the Europeans against him personally, the threatening immigration issues, the increasingly popular populism. The EU sees Trump and his existence as threat and they are right, unless they change.