HORIST: The family feud at NATO
In President Trump’s departing from the NATO summit, one thing was very clear – and that was the most important “thing.” NATO remains a strong and unified force for good in the world. It remains as the premier deterrent to Vladimir Putin’s dream of regaining the old “evil empire.” The Russian dictator will have to settle for a miniature version if he can even maintain that. Those assurances were provided by every member of NATO at the conclusion of the meeting – including President Trump.
As usual, the Draconian narratives of the anti-Trump media were more exaggerated than even Trump’s propensity to brag beyond the borders of precise accuracy. Were you to believe the elitist press, Trump was literally destroying NATO, scaring the bejesus out of our allies and making Moscow the happiest place on earth. He was an embarrassment and a danger to world peace. So sayeth the increasingly irrational radical left – which now includes the most prominent leaders of the Democratic Party.
The mendacious narratives of the media all started over breakfast – specifically the early morning coffee and rolls shared by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump and their top advisors. Traditionalists saw the event as more of a business-as-usual photo opportunity at which the Secretary General and the President would exchange banal diplomatic-esque dialogue. That is not Trump’s style.
Unlike most presidents, who keep the serious conversations and heated debates behind closed conference room doors, only to issue very carefully crafted, committee-generated public statements, Trump lets the public see how the sausage is made. He invites the public into the meetings via the press – more than any president in American history. He holds long impromptu casual press conferences. His breakfast in Brussels was no different. In front of the assembled, the cameras and by extension, the world, Trump laid out his number one demand – NATO allies need to cough up more of the alliance’s budget.
In a breach of pre-Trumpian protocol, the President specifically called out Germany for purchasing its natural gas from NATO’s arch enemy, Russia. Trump saw no reason for a NATO nation to be enriching Vladimir Putin. So much for the claim that Trump is a lackey of the Russian President.
Trump even got in a bit of a zinger by noting that Nord Stream AG, the company that owns the pipeline between Russia and Germany, is headed up by Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder – who actually worked out the deal with Putin while Schroder was still Germany’s head-of-state. Hmmm. Me thinks that smacks of Russian collusion on the part of the German political establishment. Why, Trump inquired, are the Germans sending euros to the nation that NATO considers its principal enemy and not put more money into defending against Russia?
In claiming that Trump is doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin – as the media does on a daily basis – it is hard to see the logic. First Trump criticizes Germany for sending money to Russia and then he calls for increases in NATO defense budgets to … to what? … to build up a military force to OPPOSE Putin.
None of that will make Putin a fan of the Trump administration. We have to remember that several of the nations now in NATO were once part of the Warsaw Pact – the Russian controlled alliance created to oppose NATO. Had NATO responded favorable to the Ukraine request to joint NATO, the Crimea would not be currently occupied by Russia.
The media hardliners interpreted White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s grimaces during the breakfast meeting as a reflection of his disgust for Trump’s forceful conversation. It later turned out that he was unhappy over his continental breakfast – having expected a more substantial meal.
Despite the media reports that Trump has embarrassed himself and America with his criticisms of British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the two lady leaders appeared to have productive and cordial meetings with the American President.
Yes, Trump exaggerated the outcome in his braggadocios style. But, it is the substance behind the self-congratulatory rhetoric that is critically important. NATO was not destroyed, and Trump did not withdraw the United States from the alliance – as if that was ever really at risk. Following the meeting, Trump and the other heads of states all concurred that NATO was as strong as ever – even stronger. AND … there was a general agreement by the allies to increase funding. If one can get passed a visceral hatred of Trump and a blind devotion to the radical left-wing agenda, the NATO meeting would be seen as having a rather good outcome.
Trump and the other allies reaffirmed Article 5, which calls for all members of the alliance to come to the defense of any member under attack. All the #NeverTrump media hysteria was for naught. That’s right. It was all concocted political flak by news people who are supposed to render up the facts, not bogus political narratives.
To stay on top of these breaking news stories, it is better to ignore the elitist east coast media attempts at telling us what to think. Their opinions and analyses are generally wrong. The ginned-up controversy and analytical narrative of the press turned out to be much ado about nothing.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.