Eventually, you need to kick your loser kid out of your basement, cut-off his allowance, and introduce him to the harsh realities of the real world. In the case of our European allies, particularly the insufferable Germans, that time was about 20 years ago. Well, Donald Trump just announced we will be pulling out 12,000 troops of the 36,000 still deployed there – think of the good they could do for America deployed in Portland! – and the krauts and the Establishment are livid. Good.
Think of it as tough love for the Euroweenies.
Trump came to office with a foreign policy that the Establishment hates, embracing a Jacksonian perspective that holds that the purpose of our diplomacy and our military power is to promote America’s interests. It’s not to promote other countries’ interests, and it is not to make it so our Foggy Bottom Irregulars don’t encounter uncomfortable conversations at Berlin cocktail parties.
It’s to serve American interests, and for too damn long our Establishment has failed to do so by looking the other way as rich Europeans, year after year, skated on the check while Bush and Obama obligingly reached for our wallets. Trump proposes to end dine n’ dash diplomacy, and normal people can’t understand why we allowed it to happen in the first place.
For too long we have been taken advantage of by Teutonic freeloaders who were more than happy to cut their defense spending to the bone while allowing us to make up the difference. The Germans ended conscription, let their once-formidable military rust, and refused to keep their promise to put a measly 2% of their mammoth GDP into protecting their own country. They have gone from an aggressive invader-repelling Arminius to a wimpy Colonel Klink perpetually asking to borrow an infantry brigade combat team today for which he would gladly pay us Dienstag.
They are going to ride Uncle Sucker’s gravy train until somebody derails it, but now Trump is doing that, and it’s got the Establishment shrieking like a bunch of tween girls watching whatever the hell BTS is being fed into a wood chipper.
Oh, Berlin and the DC pros thought once that mean old Ric Grenell stopped being ambassador, they could go back to monkey business as usual. They thought wrong. These status quo strategists, whose track record of successes in recent decades, like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, make them people to whom you listen to carefully, then do the exact opposite of what they recommend. Trump got elected in part because Americans are sick of agreements where foreigners fleece us. Funding the German welfare state by taking over their nation’s defense is simply nuts. Go up to a normal American and ask, “Hey, should America give Germany money and blood to defend itself when Germany won’t give its own money or blood to defend itself and, instead, spends its dough on illegal aliens?” and that normal American will likely call a couple of dudes in white uniforms with butterfly nets to come to take you away, ha ha.
The Establishment claims that Trump demanding that our allies be allies instead of parasites shows Trump is betraying them, and that is one of the lies I cover in my new book, The 21 Biggest Lies About Donald Trump (and You). Okay, I know it seems obvious to you and to everyone else who is not part of our glorious foreign policy elite, but alliances typically provide benefits for both parties. Us writing checks to Merkel to cover the coin she withholds from the Bundeswehr so she can make it rain for on every Tom, Dick and Abdul, who wanders into der Vaterland is a bad deal. It’s actually no deal – we weren’t even asked. The Germans just decided, “Ja, I know. Ve just not pay for our Army undder Yankees pay for it instead. Gute idea, eh Fritz? Pass der schnitzel.”
Okay, perhaps I have forgotten some of my German from when I lived in Stuttgart as an Army lieutenant 30 years ago when there was still a Cold War and a reason for us to be there in force.
Catch that? Thirty years, and 75 years since World War II ended. I don’t know, call me strategically wacky, but maybe it’s time to rethink this whole arrangement. It’s no longer V Corps minding the Fulda Gap. The Bear, which used to be next door, is now a couple of countries east of where the Iron Curtain used to be. Putin would have to go through Belarus, then Poland (and those stubborn cusses would strenuously object) only to get to the new German border, then he’d have to drive through half of the reunified Germany just to get to the Fulda Gap.
But rethinking is not what Team Status Quo wants, and another lie it spews to avoid change is that this shows that it’s Trump + Putin, sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g (I think it’s Lie #5 in my book). It’s unclear how demanding that Germany become more capable of confronting and defeating Russian combat formations helps Putin, but these same guys thought invading Libya was a great idea so who’s surprised that their assessment is ridiculous.
The fact is that if you want to protect Germany from Russia (which I and millions of other Americas personally did), and you want a strong NATO (my NATO medal is about 10’ away from me as I write this), then you must support Donald Trump’s policy of tough love. Americans are just not going to pony up for Deutschland in perpetuity. To quote noted political philosopher Kang, the politics of failure have failed. Not penalizing the Huns for their deadbeatery hasn’t worked. Maybe turning off the cash spigot will. And if it doesn’t, at least we get to keep our money.