Those looking for another reason to love (or hate) Donald Trump have one in his stance on NATO.
Speaking in Wisconsin ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Trump stepped up his attack on NATO calling the network an ““obsolete” defense alliance.
Trump wants the rest of the world to pay its fair share or he would pull the US out of the alliance. I go one step further than Trump.
“Let NATO Go”
The Financial Times reports Trump says US May Have to Let Nato Go.
Donald Trump has stepped up his attack on Nato, saying he would force member nations to leave the transatlantic security organisation unless they contributed more money to what he said was an “obsolete” defence alliance.
The Republican presidential contender has been lambasting Nato since he told the Washington Post recently that he would downgrade the US role in the 28-member alliance, which has formed the cornerstone of the US-European defence relationship for decades.
Speaking in Wisconsin ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday, he went further by saying that Nato’s demise would not be a serious problem.
“Its possible that we’re going to have to let Nato go,” Mr Trump told supporters in Eau Claire. “When we’re paying and nobody else is really paying, a couple of other countries are but nobody else is really paying, you feel like the jerk.”
Mr Trump said that, if elected US president, he would contact many of the other 27 Nato members and put pressure on them to make a larger financial contribution or leave.
“I call up all of those countries . . . and say ‘fellas you haven’t paid for years, give us the money or get the hell out’,” Mr Trump said to loud cheers. “I’d say you’ve gotta pay us or get out. You’re out, out, out . . . Maybe Nato will dissolve, and that’s OK, not the worst thing in the world.”
Addressing a crowd in Wisconsin on Saturday, Mr Trump asserted that the US was paying 73 per cent towards Nato, but figures from the organisation show that Washington contributes 22 per cent of the direct budget, followed by Germany which pays 15 per cent, and France which puts up 11 per cent.
Statistical Lie of the Day
The “Direct Funding” chart may or may not be correct. But Trump is spot on that the US overpays in many ways for global defense.
Dissolving NATO certainly would not be the “worst thing in the world”.
UK Defense Spending
The Times noted the “commitment last year by the UK to meet the 2 per cent of GDP target for defense spending was an important signal to the rest of Europe.”
Between the time the Heritage Foundation created that chart and now, UK defense spending slipped under 2%.
Top Ten Defense Budgets Worldwide
The above chart courtesy of Brookings.
Amusingly the chart shows what would have happened, but didn’t with budget sequestration.
Global Defense Budgets as Percent of GDP
The Forbes chart shows the US spends 3.5% of GDP, Germany 1.2%, and Canada 1% on military budgets.
Saudi Arabia spends a whopping 10.4% of GDP. Not included in the totals are US military sweetheart deals to Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.
Also not included are defense items the US sweeps under the rug into non-defense categories.
The above chart is still not right given the US is pestering the UK to step up its commitment to 2% of GDP.
Rather than the UK stepping up spending, I have a better idea: The US should emulate Canada, Germany, or Australia.
If the US minded its own business, one to two percent would easily be enough for the US to defend itself. We spend more precisely because we meddle in everyone else’s business, making massive numbers of enemies in the wake.
We cannot afford to be the world’s policeman. Trump has this one nearly correct. His flaw was he did not go far enough.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock.
David Sisler (@davesizzle) said:
Because America never got into any military trouble in the 150 years before 1940 when its army was smaller than Portugal.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.
You beat me to it. The US tried repeatedly to maintain peace by being militarily weak. It didn’t make our lives ‘peaceful’, it made us targets: We only stopped being targets when we became strong enough to enact serious hurt on our tormentors (France, England, the Barbary states, etc.).
I don’t want us to be the world’s policeman. I do however want us to forever have the ability to meet with overwhelming & devastating force any adversary, at any place, at any time.
Stuki Moi said:
Unless you restrict the “any place” to within US borders, you’ll end up like the IDF. Forever stuck spending infinite sums and engendering hatred of yourself, by protecting two to five stubborn bastards who refuse to be sensible enough not to insist settling way behind enemy lines, and well aware that the IDF will be forced to have their backs.
US oil cos, and banana cos, behaved largely the same way in the Middle East and Latin America. As did US merchants in “Barbary State” waters. And more recently, in Somali waters.
National defense means defending national territory. If some American wants to venture beyond that, he can buy cannons on his own dime, not mine. Or behave nice enough not to become a target. Or decide he is willing to accept the risk. And if he miscalculates… Hey, some people croak sometimes. Just don’t drag third parties, including taxpayers, into it.
That is exactly what Trump wants. Massive military strength that we, hopefully, will never have to use
Ron J said:
“You beat me to it. The US tried repeatedly to maintain peace by being militarily weak.”
Other than the war of 1812, no country has ever invaded the U.S.
The first U.S. military involvement in Korea, was to force the Hermit Kingdom to open their market to American merchants. What about that was keeping the peace?
To Ron J:
No.. we got dragged into war before 1812. The US’s economy was extremely dependent on trade. Congress (in particular when Jefferson was President) wanted to keep the Navy small with dependence on small coastal gun boats and revenue cutters (for the coast guard).
Unable to project force, it became open season on the US merchant fleet by the French, the various satraps of the Ottoman Empire, and the English, which drove up insurance rates, crashed trade, and crashed the economy. The French seized our ships (over 1,000), the British seized our sailors (the English ships had far worse pay and conditions.. they just kidnapped US merchant sailors instead of improving conditions), and the Muslims seized both, selling US citizens into slavery. The US federal government at one point was spending nearly half its budget on tribute to stop the Islamic piracy.
All the above stopped when we built a real Navy (beginning with six very capable frigates). Diplomacy with are aggressors only worked when that diplomacy was backed by force.
From the early 19th century on, we kept a decent naval force.
NATO activities are inefficient and counter-productive in the Baltic States.
see the article “The Baltic States: top 10 results of NATO membership”
I am in agreement that we need not be the world’s policeman. However, all of the other “large powers” in the world are quite imperialistic in nature (China, Russia, namely) We need to be stronger than those nations, so as to be a deterrent to their aggression, as well as to secure our power and interests world wide. (yep, I understand the argument of our “nation building”, and that is a large part of what much stop)
We need a strong Navy, strong nuclear presence, and a strong “rapid deployment” force, to include air superiority. This includes stealth technology, as well as missile defense.
There is little doubt we could reduce our military spending by 50% and still have the military we need for defense and for protection world wide. “defend smarter, not harder”.
Sadly, we are at war with radical islam…but there are some very simple and effective means of dealing with that threat…but it is grossly outside of the political correct world, so a paisley leader will never implement them.
We have been at war with Islam on and off since the founding of the nation. We got peace when diplomacy was backed by a navy with ships full of marines.
Brian Gray said:
“His flaw was he did not go far enough.”
I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that said of Trump.
I’m bit not sure it’ll be the last.
Now we know why Putin likes Trump !
The worlds policeman?
You mean, the worlds bully!
According to some sources, we have more than 1,000 military installations and more than 250,000 personnel stationed in 63 countries. If you were the Chinese how secure would you feel when you are generally surrounded by American military bases, ships and submarines all the way from Japan around to Afghanistan.
But let the Chinese construct one base on a small island not far off their shores and everybody in Washington freaks out. If we can’t handle a few Chinese planes, ships (they have one aircraft carrier and no ability to use it) or radar installations no wonder we can’t beat the Taliban or ISIS.
The Air Force is short 500 fighter pilots. They are getting out because of political correctness, not enough actual flying and the lure of high-paying airline jobs. But we have plenty of Generals and Admirals waiting to go to work for defense contractors.
Eisenhower was right.
Airline jobs are not high paying, pilot, co-pilot or otherwise.
There was a time, that time is long gone.
China is all over Africa. The islands they’re building in the SCS are rattling all the countries around the area, not just the U.S.
China sits at the USPTO all day and night looking thru US patents. If you aren’t seeing what’s going on, you aren’t looking very hard.
Stuki Moi said:
Honestly, the best thing that could happen to US inventors, is China, or anyone else, getting economically powerful enough to force through much less stringent patent protections world wide. Including the US.
The intents of patents are in many ways good. And they used to, and in some instances still do, serve their intended purpose: protect inventions so that those inventing them can obtain funding for their work. But just as with anything else, the “protect” part has gone way beyond the “invent” one. So that, nowadays, the net result is a bunch of third generation has beens and their lawyers, are instead using the laws to prevent those currently capable of inventing and refining stuff, from being able to do so.
Hill Farmer said:
I wonder whether the Trump presidency have plans to recover charges from the world to recompense the US for the entertainment value of the commander in chief.
News programs are going to rival comedies
Why should I believe defense spending numbers of Russia and China? I don’t believe them for a minute. Brookings has no reliable insight into the numbers of those two nation-states and the head games they play.
The Polish horse cavalry is an international laughing stock. Last go round the Russians hung all 4,300 officers in the Polish Army from trees. They got what they paid for.
Jack, what Stalin did to the Poles was much worse than you suggest:
Hard to say which is worse: Communism or nazism. As a result of being caught between Russia and Germany in WW2, Poland had the highest casualty rate of it’s citizenry of any country in WW2.
At least today, Russia admits it’s responsibility.
Ian Nunn said:
NATO has outlived its usefulness to everyone but the US. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there would have been no threat to anyone from Russia had the US neocons not deliberately poked the bear in the eye by continual expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders.
Of course the media and the politicos perpetuate the fiction that Russia is on an expansionist track to rebuild the old empire before conquering the world. But people conveniently overlook the fact that the American Empire with military bases throughout the world and with special ops units active in over 100 countries has already achieved what they say is the Russian’s goal.
Ask yourself this. If Canada and Russia became pals and Canada invited Russia to station military units along the American border – not permanently but just by rotation – how would Washington react?
Military units in Ontario or Quebec would still be farther from Washington than NATO units would be from Moscow should the US’s effort to move Ukraine into the NATO camp be successful.
As a Canadian I would like to see us out of NATO but Washington is not going to allow that since the participation of countries like Canada gives Washington military policy, executed through NATO, a veneer of legitimacy.
‘If the US minded its own business’ – Many countries wish that you would. Imperialism has costs as well as benefits.
As unpopular as this thought might be, we might consider that things can get a lot worse than what they are. AS George Carlin suggested, it is those who believe they can “fix things” that are the REAL problem.
I agree with all this but how will it play out with the rest of the Republican party – especially in those states yet do conduct their primary?
Trump also says a massive recession is in the offing. My weekly letter from John Mauldin agrees the next president will face trillion dollars budget deficit and bad recession. The MSM destroys trump for every comment but he’s been more right than wrong since entering the race on immigration, terrorism and the economy. I have no issue with others paying the US for protection on their trade and other civilian activity. It should be deducted from our deficit and debt via the treasury. It is merely a line entry on a computer anyway.
I’m not sure why so many are resistant to the idea that we are entering another recession, Cyclically we are we do for another if you accept that we ever actually recovered from the last one. And God knows there are plenty enough signs. Of course this is what always makes recession hurt so bad, is that so many are in denial about it, adding only more fuel to the fire of destruction.
If US defense spending were cut in half, GDP would implode. And if that happened, the hoards of unemployed voters would hasten the installation of fascists and Marxists into most every public office, assuring another doubling of defense spending. Catch 22?
“War is a racket”. Smedley Butler. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
General Butler was an isolationist and that book is a bit dated. You may want to read “Before The First Shots Are Fired” by retired U>S> Marine General Zinni. He may not be the best writer, but he is far more relevant in today’s world. He was there when the politicians screwed up in the more recent ventures.
No one surrenders empire willingly.
Curiouser and curiouser…
Maybe Trump is part of the Soviet red army
whose victory Putin glorifies every year.
” Trump On North Korea Going to War: ‘Good Luck, Enjoy Yourself Folks’ (to Allies Japan/Korea) ”
Defense spending? Why not call it by its proper name, attack or aggression spending.
So “the US overpays in many ways for global defense” should read “the US overpays in many ways for global aggression”
Maybe we should try to fix our own problems here at home instead of starting wars all over the planet.
Former NATO commander, U.S. Army General Galvin said he had a battle plan on file stating what will be done if Russia attacks Europe. He said his real plan was to retreat as fast as we could and just hope because NATO could not stand up to Russia’s equipment. That was before the Iron Curtain came down: NATO was useless then, and about the same today.
Stuki Moi said:
And at the same time, the Soviet plan was not to first attack Europe at all, but to lead any offensive against Europe with a hailstorm of nukes to the US mainland; to make sure the Americans were busy at home……. Kind of funny, how none of the superpowers actually gave a toot about Europe, but their little bluffing games still managed to keep the continent safe for half a century.
The Soviets have been attacking the West for 70 years with cultural marxism.
Apparently, the Soviets have won… the degenerate West like ripened fruit is ready to fall to Putin.
Ron J said:
“He said his real plan was to retreat as fast as we could and just hope because NATO could not stand up to Russia’s equipment.”
I thought i read read not long ago, that the plan was to nuke Berlin and Moscow, if the Soviet Union attacked the west.
A bit off topic, but you ma recall Mish frequently being interviewed by Lauren Lyster on RT’s Capital Account show. I am assuming she was canned from that show and she jumped to Yahoo Finance, likely canned from there, and is now a hack reporter for ABC News. But hey, she was a double major in gender studies as an undergrad. What do the less attractive grads do with such a degree?
Vichy Chicago said:
Trump should change Dept of Defense back to Dept of War while he’s at it.
Trump is just so incredibly spot-on on all the critical core issues facing America.
I just wish he’s shut his mouth about all the emotional social issues that draw so much ire from half the population with IQ’s that fall in the subnormal range.
No one ever required a voter to take an IQ test. But Trump is forced to play to them too. They way to do that is to ignore or at least dance around the emotional social issues that the subnormal IQ crowd gravitates around.
D Charles said:
I agree with Trump; the whole world is getting a free ride on us courtesy of our very generous politicians and diplomats. Time to stop spending money on behalf of other countries and spend it on Americans. Too bad Eisenhower didn’t get all of the troops back to the US in his day and force the Europeans to provide for their own defense.
Mission Accomplished said:
The MIC shills are out in force tonight gathering their 30 pieces.
So where is Iran & the rest of the Axis of Evil on the chart?
Want to talk about waste just look at the cost of maintaining all our nuclear weapons. Like many people I do not find what is known as the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction, or MAD to be reassuring.
The nuclear deterrent we hold is a hundred times larger than needed to stop anyone rational from attacking America. To stop anyone that is insane an arsenal of any size will be insufficient. The article below delves into the risk, size, and cost of these weapons.
Bobby Hill said:
Who needs NATO if you can torture yourself to security.
Trump summons warmongering spirits (Muslims dancing in the streets after 9/11) and promises a more powerful military. So, he is
A warmonger in sheep’s clothing.
Save money on NATO, but spend it on carpet bombing unilaterally.
It’s it an incoherent mess, but with a predictable outcome: as much or more war, and continued gigantic defense spending
To grasp on a favorable policy position of trump is like reading the time from a broken clock. Right twice a day.
Correction: torture your way to security
Trump has initiated a much needed discussion on wasteful military expenditures but how do we convince the other 535 idiots of this need? The neocons of both parties are paid by the MIC to keep this racket going. Ted Cruz has shown his true colors by denouncing Trump’s ideas. So much for being a conservative.
Chris Boyd said:
Shame he spoils his sensible opinions like this with a barrage of crazy ones.
The only reason NATO has expanded to its bloated size is that the US gets to sell weapons to new members.. This unnecessary and un-Reagan like goading of Russia is mostly at the behest of arms makers and energy companies, serving no useful political outcome.