One part, a large one, of President Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” effort was to teach Americans and others around the globe that America should be looking out for America’s interests … first!
Part of that was his opposition to international “global warming” deals that put an excessive burden on Americans, while leaving other nations actually cashing in on those schemes.
Economically, he wanted the U.S. to look out for U.S. interests first, and level the playing field when interests with foreign allegiances wanted to take profits from Americans, and out of America.
Another issue was international stability, through organizations like NATO.
That international coalition, now numbering 31 members with one application pending, long has been supported with huge dollar amounts by American taxpayers. Trump worked hard during his first term in the White House to raise the stake for other countries.
That was some $800 billion plus. Total defense spending was up 24% from 2014, to a total of $1.2 trillion.
The members agreed on a benchmark of 2% of annual national budgets to be spent on defense, and through Trump’s pressure on other national leaders, nations raised the spending by percentages often in the double digits.
At this point, some NATO allies are at that level, though there remain many with progress still to be made.
As part of his push for others to have a financial stake in their own national security, Trump at one point told a national leader whose country was “delinquent” in its funding to pay up.
According to Reuters, the exchange happened some years ago, with an unidentified foreign leader, who asked whether his nation would be protected anyway.
“Well sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia – will you protect us?” he said.
“I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’ He said: ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay,” Trump recalled saying.
The encounter was related by Trump himself at a recent campaign rally, and the world’s media, which often leans far to the left politically, erupted as if Trump was encouraging Russia to attack.
Reuters itself complained, “Trump raised a storm of criticism from the White House and top Western officials for suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who failed to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them.”
Even that report, however, noted that Trump had a point in his comments.
“Other U.S. administrations have also accused Europeans of not spending enough on defense, but in less strident terms,” the report said.
The report notes that there are “common funds” that NATO uses, but much of the spending is each nation’s own defense budget, providing for a military that logically would be used against a foe should NATO be attacked.
“Most” of NATO nations are not meeting the 2% spending goal to which they agreed, the report said.
NATO secretary Jens Stoltenberg reacted as if the statement was new, and there was an actual threat to ignore the NATO alliance.
“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” he claimed.
The article charged that either Trump doesn’t understand NATO or was “distorting” it for “political gain.”
Joe Biden, whose declining mental capabilities were confirmed in the past few days in a report from special counsel Robert Hur, who investigated Biden’s taking and keeping classified government documents and said he wouldn’t recommend charges because of Biden’s diminished mental capacity, claimed the recollection of a years-ago conversation was an “admission” that Trump would “give Putin a green light for more war and violence.”
But the PBS statement did concede that back in 2014, even Stoltenberg admitted “members needed to invest more in their militaries.”
The BBC reworded the issue, claiming, “The Republican said he had told allies he would ‘encourage’ Russia to attack any NATO member that failed to meet the alliance’s target of 2% of their GDP.”
But that report even admitted the scenario was “hypothetical.”
NBC put the entire issue in the present: “Trump says he’d let Russia do ‘whatever the hell they want’ to NATO countries that don’t pay enough.’”
One report actually brought the issue back closer to reality, with the Guardian explaining that Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, pointed out Trump was “simply ringing the warning bell.”
“NATO countries that don’t spend enough on defense, like Germany, are already encouraging Russian aggression and President Trump is simply ringing the warning bell,” he said.
“Strength, not weakness, deters aggression. Russia invaded Ukraine twice under Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but not under Donald Trump.”
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