Play the Trump Card

Duly NotedDuly Noted

America’s new President needs to make crucial decisions regarding the nexus to China, Russia, and Europe. This writing focuses on the US-Europe-NATO link which needs to be reconsidered, better yet, should be re-positioned.

The Alliance has drifted off its intended course and became spastic. Additionally, a security risk emerges because the expectations do not match the commitment of the members and because the means they had created to meet tests are inadequate.

The problem is; what calls itself a mutual security pact puts most of the military burden on one of its signatories. Meanwhile, it creates the illusion of free-for-the-taker security and the right to carp during good weather periods.

Europe’s post-war reconstruction is completed and is not in need of support to prevail. The problem of the iniquitous connection is obvious. What is needed is a rearrangement of duties in the context of a new deal.

The shortened essays (written in 2003-04) show the durability of an “unequal relationship”. Time has not cured the discussed ailments; unattended, the situation has become chronic and, therefore, rectifying attention is imperative.

“From the European Front”. “Our relations are evolving beyond the normal realm of the “differences” of interstate relations. The fitting term for the US-Europe liaison is not “difference” but “exploitation.” Some of our official allies are, whenever it is to be supportive, “neutral” bystanders or antagonists. No new Blackjack Pershing will land on a shore proclaiming “Lafayette, here we are”.

One wonders why a region chooses distance to a friendly global power. Toward one, that has rescued “Europe” in two World Wars. One that shielded Europe during a perilous peace. The question marks grow, if the USA’s power and its global projection are considered. Compute into the picture the demonstrated self-restraint in the use of might. This self control expresses America’s institutions: they provide checks and balances at home, and limit internally the use of force. History knows no more benign colossus, which makes America too mighty to be baited and too benevolent to be contested.

 Anti-Americanism has a tradition. For long it was the cause of “rightist-reactionaries.” The USSR’s grasp for dominance made America to abandon neutrality, and made her detested by leftists. Both the Right and Left acted on the basis of the same logic. America was a threatening precedent of the rule of the Common Man. He could forge his own “luck,” and to “pursue happiness” as he saw fit in a system that separated opportunities from descent. The camp of rejection included the intellectuals: these sensed that those helped by “doing good” become clients and that clients are dependent.

Having alluded to the motivations of visceral anti-Americans, we need to indicate why the flag bearers of “save the world, combat the USA” act with a fervour never shown to “Lenin&Stalin, Inc.”

 We suspect simple answers. However, plain talk can state the obvious that is overlooked if the truth negates the moment’s PC. Some reasons for anti-Americanism might fall into this category.

Let us examine this. Those naughty Nazis and cruel Commies, hit back with the Big Stick. The Amis are hard to provoke. No Big Stick and soft talk –Teddy Roosevelt turns in his grave- is their way. If hurt, they investigate what they might have done to provoke. Americans are easily convinced that if the search turns up someone to apologize to, then that bully will be pacified. Skilfully provoking the USA is unlikely to have a price. Aside of a blunders -Pearl Harbor- the crushing consequence that American might could inflict, did not materialize. Opposing the USA is cheap; the “consequences” of anti-Americanism are lacking bite, yet combating her can confer benefits.

 America’s enemies know that accusing the US can tip the balance of power. World opinion –or what seems to be it- modifies US’ policy. Washington’s allies, once they desert her along the path of resistance in their behalf, serve the Jihad. Immunity from the fury of the aggressor is expected as the pay-off. Short-sighted as this is – the only concession aggressors make to their stooges is to postpone the date of their slaughter- there appears to be a benefit from dropping the Yankees. Disloyalty will not prevent Washington from forgetting and forgiving. This will come in handy once the Americans prevail –such as in 1989. Once this comes about, one can line up for the spoils and, ultimately, one will “get.” Since the input to righting the wrong had been limited, while the risks incurred were reduced when the going was tough, the deal is a “win-win situation.”

Washington tolerates this game and is apt to treat ingrates better than those that stuck with her. This good deal extended to turncoats is an incentive to repeat the trick. Here America needs to detect something elementary. If the rat finds that pushing the lever makes the candy to drop, it will keep pushing the switch. A bit more hard nosed distinction between “friends” and true friends, would level the playing field. And while we are at it: do not re-fill that candy jar. Even given America’s means, the price of continuing in our hither manner might turn out to be too high”.

“From Europe”. “Since its inception to block “sovietization”, NATO was an axis of American policy, and became a hard-to-think-away tradition. It contained the Kremlin and then demolished its empire. Thus, NATO seems a “given” as is the camel’s hump. No hump, no camel. No NATO, no stability.

NATO is a coalition reminiscent of the Delian League (-478). Athens and America are dominant democratic powers in a common cause with lesser states. In both cases, the “sun” of the system could “go it alone,” while unilaterally the “moons” could not resist the military threat of their time.

Beyond this, the similarities end. The League protected its members from external subjugation but not from Athens. The small city states had the choice of domination by an “outsider” or an “insider.” Soon the small states lost their ability to choose between the evils; by might they were tied to Athens. In NATO, the discrepancy of power is greater than in ancient Greece. Nevertheless, its members could maintain political equality with, and independence from, the US.

Regardless, the Left sees NATO as a mirror image of the Warsaw Pact, the socialist ‘alliance’. By this trick, the WP shared with NATO its virtues, while NATO got smeared with the WP’s interventions against its members. Thereby, the good become twisted into the shape of the bad, while the bad emerged better than it was. By this intellectual somersault, the contest became one among equals.

During the Cold War, the West’s Left preached a liberty that required no sacrifice. It claimed to fight for the “convergence” of Communism and the Free World. It pretended to stand for brotherhood and peace, while suggesting that if pressured, to “save the peace”, one should surrender promptly.

These “capitulationists” ignored the way by which the Soviets dominated “their” Europe. Meanwhile, in America, they found a “safe enemy” to be heroic against. As an ideal foe, America shielded Europe while against her insider-detractors she would not retaliate.

Fantasies cannot change the dissimilarity of NATO and WaPa. Membership in the WaPa could not be renounced. For proof, we have the ex-Muscovite Imre Nagy. In 1958 he was executed for treason because he exited the WaPa and declared neutrality. In 1968, the crushing of the “Prague Spring” followed justified by the alleged inability of the local CP to remain in the WaPa. The upshot was the formulation of the standing policy as a principle. Its name: the “Brezhnev-doctrine.” The essence of “limited sovereignty”, for which T-72s vouched, had been that no member may withdraw from the “Socialist Camp of Peace.”

Certainly, “Panzer Communism” might be appalling, but in the terminology of peaceniks both alliances were equally bad and evenly good. By this logic, Western “progressives” fought US “domination”. The heroic fighters against “Coca-Colonization” felt to be on the level of the Nagys, Dubceks, Amalriks, Solzhenytsyns and Sakharovs, who really risked their existence. The try to equate the dissimilar, induces us to demonstrate the difference between the Pacts.

The “Great Nation’s” case verifies the divergence. France decided to quit NATO and demanded the removal of its HQ. (The war graves were allowed to stay.) Had NATO and WP been identical, Paris would have been occupied and De Gaulle hung. However, the boorish Americans left. Whether then the French were neutrals as Nagy wanted Hungary to be, is left to reader’s judgment. However, France’s subsequent sorties against America betray how dissimilar NATO and WP were.

A recollection will exhibit the case of a wobbly Europe. In the Seventies I took a ski lift to the top. With my neighbor, we got to politics. The Left was protesting the deployment of Pershings. It was the “cause of the day” although no one had a tantrum when Soviet missiles were planted in Central Europe. I let the man say what he wished to share with someone thought to be local. So I found out that Germany is America’s victim. She wanted to defend it with weapons disapproved by Moscow. That is dangerous as it undermines Europe’s peace and security.

Peeved, I opined that to shield herself, America does not need Germany. So, why not do everybody a favor? Quit NATO! The Yanks might appreciate to be released from having troops trapped in a country that is unwilling to help itself. His shock reminded me of a kid just told that there is no Santa. At that, we arrived at the summit and I could not get the benefit of his rejoinder.

This incident indicates that, even during the Cold War, NATO was of limited value. Certainly, the proper reaction was not, and is not now, the USA’s exit from Europe. Yet, as it now stands, NATO is more of a liability than an indispensable American strategic interest”.

In case that the old text is seen as relevant, an adjustment of the course of the drift appears to be imperative. The President-Elect has signaled an inclination to act, and promptly, some circles misrepresent him. Mr. Trump has not indicated that he wishes to shred NATO. His real position is that the alliance is in need of an overhaul.

What to do? First, push for a reform with the help of the willing. Second, round out the security system by bilateral deals. Create ties to countries that are committed to maintain their identity and who are prepared to engage in that effort with all their means. One more thing: America shall assert herself. Not only in Europe.

Take this case, -possibly a footnote- provided (17/12/16) by the Philippines’ Duterte. “We survive without American money, so be put on notice. Prepare to leave. Tit for tat, bye-bye America.” Whatever it costs, give whatever that “tat” might entail. Rest assured that the measure will be noticed and that it will make an impression.

 

 

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