Donald Trump, NATO, Russia, and Election Interference
On Thursday, Donald Trump recommitted his support for NATO after he claimed that the United States had been treated unfairly by other members of the alliance. Trump, after stating they were “treated unfairly,” said he now “believes in NATO.”
Not long after, Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, said that they had merely upheld their previous promises to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on military spending by 2024.
Macron said, “it reaffirms the 2% by 2024 commitments, that’s all.” Even though Trump was friendly in public, sources, according to the New York Times, stated he was a lot more abrasive during private talks.
According to The Times, Trump said the “United States would go it alone,” if the other members of the alliance didn’t meet their targets by January. Officials who were there at the meeting didn’t know precisely what that meant.
When asked if it meant he would withdraw from the alliance, the French president dismissed it and said it was unfounded. Macron said that Trump, “bilaterally nor multilaterally – (did) not say that he was intending to leave NATO.”
The allies within the alliance agreed they would spend 2% of their gross national product on defense by 2024, but Trump said they needed to meet those targets right away, by January of next year.
However, Mr. Trump stated he was happy with their new commitments, explaining that, however, their spending should be at 4%, considering the United States currently represents 67% of NATO’s budget.
During a news conference held on Thursday, Trump, who hasn’t held a conference on American soil for over a year, denied castigating NATO members and being “cozy” with Russia.
For the longest time, the mainstream media has been accusing Trump’s administration of colluding with Russia in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The irony being, that Russia interferes with elections of other countries on a regular basis, all of the time. In fact, most countries do try and influence other nations’ democratic process.
The United States, in particular, according to Noam Chomsky, has been interfering with democratic processes for a long time, ever since the 1950’s.
According to Chomsky in his interview with TruthOut.org, “much of the world must be astonished – if they are not collapsing in laughter,” while the mainstream media has been concerning itself with Russian meddling in American elections (3).
Chomsky stated, “by US standards, the Russian efforts are so meager as to barely elicit notice (3).”
Following the Second World War, when the threat of Soviet expansion was imminent in Western Europe, the United States began vamping up their interference in other nations as a form of deterrence against Soviet aggression (3).
Some of the countries include South Korea, the Philippines, Indochina, Thailand, Japan, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, and countries in Latin America (3).
One study indicated that the United States has intervened in 81 elections since the Second World War, while Russia intervened in 36 (3).
This practice, while being the most dominant in the United States and Russia by far, has also occurred in other nations, including in France, when Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential campaign received around 50 million Euros from the Libyan leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi (4).
Because of the history of election meddling, a common practice throughout the world, the idea that the media has been using Russian interference as a means of disparaging Trump as much as they can is a complete joke.
Nonetheless, the mainstream media continues to ignore facts for the sake of demonizing the president.
Trump Thinks That The United States Is Being Unfairly Treated By Their Hypocritical Allies
According to the president of the USA, there was “collegial spirit” in the room. During the conference, the president said he took “total credit” for encouraging them to increase spending.
He added, “I don’t think that’s helping Russia,” whom the media claims Trump is getting “comfortable with.” Additionally, the president used examples of Ukraine and Georgia, two nations “partially” occupied by Russia, as a reason for increasing NATO’s budget.
During his talk at the news conference as well as Twitter, the president returned to the topic of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, the one connecting Germany and Russia, so the former can get their hands on the natural gas in the latter.
According to Trump, Russia is holding “Germany captive” because of their natural gas dealings. The president explained that Germany pays the Russians billions of dollars a year for energy, whereas the United States pays billions of dollars to protect Germany from Russia.
According to the president, countries like Germany and other rich NATO countries want the United States and others to pay for their protection from Russia, while they turn around and do business with them.
In other words, in the president’s view, the United States is footing the bill for the defense of Western Europe, while taking a massive hit in foreign trade, as countries like Germany do business with the countries the United States is paying billions to deter.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump and 28 other national leaders signed the NATO declaration, stating they would promise to uphold the previous commitment of a 2% commitment to the military spending budget.
Moreover, NATO signed a 23-page, 79-point declaration, stating they condemn Russia’s choice to illegally annex Crimea. According to the Times, Trump said to Air Force One a week ago that he thought about supporting Russia’s claim to Crimea, which they seized in 2014.
Russia’s foreign ministry called NATO a “useless military bloc,” and while they’re “grinding their teeth in Brussels,” they’re preparing to watch the 2018 World Cup.
Reporters at the news conference stated the meeting was awkward, and it was clear that Trump was being ignored somewhat by other leaders. However, White House officials called the claims “fake news.”
Journalists also criticized the American president for claiming he was the first one to bring up the pipeline, while it has been a topic of discussion for a long time.
The pipeline connecting Russia and Germany is a point of contention for European leaders because Russia is exerting pressure on other nations by cutting off their natural gas supply.
According to the New York Times, the other members of NATO have all met their financial contributory targets to the alliance, despite Trump’s claim.
However, what they seem to miss is that Trump is complaining about how much the United States pays in comparison to other NATO countries.
Targets laid out by previous American and European leaders, whether allies hit them or not, are targets that Trump thinks are unfair and lop-sided, created by former American officials.
Interestingly, NATO was initially a European invention, but over time, as the former Soviet Union and the United States grew ion power, NATO became more of a concern for Western powers.
Brief History Of NATO
NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty, is a treaty that 29 independent member states have signed, a document that serves as the organization’s framework and guideline.
The treaty states that if one of the member states faces an attack on their soil then all of the countries involved in the organization consider it an attack.
NATO, created in 1949 after the Second World War, is an attempt to consolidate power in Europe, to bring smaller, less strong, nations together, to defend against much bigger and potentially hostile nations (2).
For instance, when Russia annexed part of Crimea back in 2014, Ukraine, who is a much smaller country, needed help from NATO.
Initially, NATO was created as a response to the fear that the former Soviet Union would invade much smaller states, and therefore, would become a threat to Western Europe and the US (2).
When it first began, it was an alliance between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as a response to Societ aggression (2).
Around 1949, the Soviet Union had just thwarted a coup d’etat attempt in former Czechoslovakia and began a blockade in East Germany.
Smaller countries including Norway, Turkey, and Greece, were vulnerable at this time and felt as though the Soviets could easily annex their territory (2).
After Denmark, Italy, Iceland, Norway, and Portugal joined NATO, the United States and Canada began negotiating and eventually joined.
The result of which secured the relationship between Europe and North America, becoming the link between the safety and security of North America and Europe.
However, over time, the United States began contributing, by far, the largest number of funds to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Trump is correct when he states that the United States contributes a significant portion of their budget, an agreement prior presidents and other European leaders had agreed upon.
But, obviously, Trump isn’t happy with the way the United States has footed a majority of the bill over the years and is asking for other member states to step up (1).
Some critics of NATO claim it is merely a tool of United States imperial interests, due to their influence on it. Other critics state as the Russian Foreign Minister claimed, that it’s practically useless, enacting nearly ineffective sanctions on adversarial nations won’t agree with Western foreign policy and interests.