I think Trump will take the USA out of NATO; if not today, if not at this summit, as soon as he can. He is preparing the ground.
This has begun with his current claims, that Germany is completely controlled by Russia.
The purpose of this is to devalue the alliance with Germany (through NATO). If Germany is already subverted, what point is there being in alliance with them?
So, when Europe is composed of individual States with their own armies you sooner or later get war. Maybe not in our lifetime, but certainly for our children, and war now means war in a world with widespread nuclear weapons.
When there is a pan-European war, the USA gets involved. It happened in WW2 and it happened in WW1. This leads to many hundreds of thousands or millions of American deaths. US Presidents until now have been wise enough to know that it is infinitely better and cheaper to station troops in Europe and so prevent war, than to remove them and then have war; Europe and the far east centered upon Japan constitute along with the USA the First World, and the USA ultimately benefits so profoundly from the First World that it acts, our of self-interest, to preserve the First World. This has post-war been achieved by the US alliance with Germany through NATO) and with Japan.
(US troops prevent war in Europe by being part of NATO, and if you attack anyone in NATO, you attack all of NATO, and the USA has massive military power. So it hasn’t happened, and Europe has had a very long period of peace. So much so in fact I think people have forgotten that war is the normal, default state of affairs and peace is something which only happens when efforts are taken to stabilize matters.)
Trump is going to lead the USA out of NATO.
This is happening because Trump is above his ceiling. When a man is above his ceiling, he continues to operate in his new role as he did in his old role. Trump is running the USA as if it were a hotel chain; he is also I judge from what I read of his conduct to his staff authoritarian. Authoritarian leaders are so because of insecurity, and this leads them to hire weak and submissive staff, always, as such people form no threat or competition and can be dominated. This we have seen the departure of all those around Trump who are capable and strong, being replaced with the weak and submissive. This is also why Trump is so single-minded about loyalty; if you are insecure, you need blind loyalty to reassure you, as you’re sure you’re no good but can’t stand to think other people will know it or think it.
I may be wrong, but I think Trump sees NATO only as a cost, and the whole situation as unjust (as the insecure tend to), as the USA spends and NATO does not. Beyond this, he sees not. I doubt he knows much history, or reads much. (I must say that I do not expect the USA to reduce its spending when it leaves NATO.) I also have some vague wonderment about the relationship between Trump and Russia. What *is* going on there? Trump doing a great deal which supports and encourages Putin’s goals. It is purely co-incidence? I think so, but I am maybe oh 5% not sure, and I tend to see Russian influence in a lot that happens – Russia historically has always been expansionist, and I think it the same now. You have to think that the mass of Russian people are conditioned into a world view which condones that which Putin does; the Russian people *believe and support*. I expect to find Russian money making its way into the hands of those who are acting to destabilize the EU and the West; it happened for the last hundred years. Why would it stop now?
The NATO States, knowing it is in the best interest of the USA to keep troops in the EU, have not spent enough on defence. The UK and France have spent barely enough, they have a long military history and so culturally are inclined to at least spend something, the Germans have spent very little because they are inculcated with war guilt and do not like military spending. The Italians have not spent enough because their economy is regulated to death so they cannot afford it, the Spanish have not spent enough, but here I cannot say why. Turkey spends a lot, but has never moved on from more direct forms of dictatorship, overt or covert, and currently has departed from the Western sphere. The other States are small players.
This provides a possibility of failure where a populist comes to power in the USA and removes the USA from NATO. Populism has arisen in the USA because the body politic is understood by the mass of people to be corrupt and foul, but they do not understand why, nor what ought to be done, for the mass of people in all countries have for centuries been brought up and conditioned from birth not to think but to simply accept the State as right, and so people are utterly open to manipulative populism; they have no framework of concepts of their own of what is right or wrong, or the mental defences or capability to detect something which is bogus. In short, people have been raised to be gullable and naive, to be obedident to the State, and so they are vulnerable to deception.
(The basic ethical rule is that everything two entities – individial, business, State, anything – do together, must be voluntary and well-informed, except in self-defence. You cannot force others to do things, nor trick them into it, unless you act in self-defence. Almost everything State does violates this principle, taxation for example.)
But NATO still exists, and if defence spending rises and it becomes a credible force, that will keep Europe from being a collection of individual States with their own armies, which will lead sooner or later to a pan-European war, in a world with widespread nuclear weapons.
The EU also helps in this matter, as it has acted to pull the individual States together into something more like a single entity.
The problem here though is that the EU is going to fail. You cannot have economic union without political union, and there is not enough political union. When the economy part falls over, the political part will be profoundly weakened. (There have been sixteeen currency unions in history. Eight ended when the States involved merged, the other eight failed.)
So all we have between us and individual States with their own armies is NATO, and Trump is weakening it by taking the USA out.
The EU I think will end up weakening NATO as well, as it is now that the Brits are out calling for an EU military. The Brits always flatly blocked this, citing NATO as the combined military force. The problem with the EU assumining a military role is that when it collapses, the military as with the econonmy will re-nationalize. So it doesn’t work – attaching the military the EU will lead to its fragmention when the EU fails, and then we’re back to individual States. NATO is the right solution in that sense.
Looking over the US web-sites, I see for example Fox news (which seems to be a Trump mouthpiece) asserting NATO is obsolete.
My experience of people is that if you imagine the most destructive, self-destructive, staggeringly horrific and utterly incomprehensible act – something really beyond imagination – like moving the world toward a war where millions in appalling agony, along with the chance of nuclear exchanges, where the ecological damage will devastate the planet globally even if the nuclear explosions do not do so directly – you will find tons of people calling for it and huge numbers of people thinking its a good idea and wanting it to happen.
Plenty of people are evil, and plenty of people are gullable and naive. The former is human nature, the latter is that the mass of people have been raised to be gullable and naive, to be obedient to the State, and so they are vulnerable to deception.
So all in all, NATO is our hope.