Donald Trump

Europeans Taking Their Fate in Their Own Hands? Quelle Catastrophe!

Donald Trump blunders his way into a healthy trans-Atlantic development.

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After the swerve heard 'round the world. ||| YouTube
YouTube

The foreign policy world is atwitter about German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying Sunday, in the wake of President Donald Trump's diplomatically discordant first visit with America's European allies, that "The times in which we could completely rely on others are over to a certain extent. That is what I experienced in the last few days….That is why I can only say: We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands."

Edward Snowden called Merkel's statement "an era-defining moment." David Frum deemed it a "catastrophe for U.S.-Europe relations." Foreign policy establishment lifer Richard Haass, in consecutive tweets, laid bare an underexplored tension at the heart of the very trans-Atlantic project he seeks to defend. "Merkel saying Europe cannot rely on others & needs to take matters into its own hands is a watershed-& what US has sought to avoid since WW2," Haas wrote. Yet also, "Would be ironic if one result of pro-Brexit, anti-European Trump foreign policy would be emergence of a stronger EU. Seems to be happening."

Funny how that works.

The day after this era-defining, catastrophic watershed, new French President and sudden Atlanticist heartthrob Emmanuel Macron, not content to rest on the laurels of his Trump-dissing handshake and Merkel-favoring head-fake, called out malicious Russian propaganda (and more besides) while standing right next to Vladimir Putin:

New Republic tweetstormer Jeet Heer described it all as "the moment when Germany, joined by France, decided to fully take on the mantle of European leadership." To which one might archly add, sounds like a win-win!

This being high-profile, head-to-head diplomacy, and Trump being a prior antagonist of Merkel ("What she's done in Germany is insane"), NATO ("obsolete"), the European Union ("basically a vehicle for Germany"), Brussels ("a hellhole"), and the "global power structure" ("meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty"), coverage has understandably focused on the style and substance of the president's performance, rather than on the effects that it helped produce, intentionally or not. But it might be worth holding up the two strands separately.

First, yes, Trump did beclown himself on more than one occasion during the past week. For instance, this morning:

Bitching about trade deficits is one of lower forms of dull-witted mercantilism, no matter how popular the line of argument is now in both major political parties. And Trump's notion that, as he tweeted in March, "Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany," is at best a very inaccurate way (nobody "owes" any money to anybody in NATO; not in this sense) to make the plausible Transitive Property argument that Germany underspending on defense impels America to spend more than it otherwise would.

But let's imagine that instead of coming on all blustery and EU-skeptical, Trump had couched his cup-rattling as more of a plea to have the other alliance members pay their "full share," in the name of a more robust European integration. Well, that's exactly—and I mean exactly—what Trump's predecessor did, all of 13 months ago:

Pay your fair share, pretty please! ||| Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Barack Obama has accused Europe of being "complacent" about defence by failing to meet the Nato two per cent spending target.

It came as he delivered a passionate plea for the European Union to hold together, saying it is one of the "greatest political and economic achievements of modern times". […]

Mr Obama warned that states are failing to pay their "full share" of spending two per cent of GDP on the military. "I'll be honest, sometimes Europe has been complacent about its own defence," he said.

Search your feelings: Whose approach, Obama's or Trump's, is more likely to result in NATO members ponying up more for their collective defense? (And yes, it was under Obama that the 2 percent target become more than just a purely rhetorical goal.)

I will not here contend that Trump's European vacation was some kind of Bob Corkerian demonstration of "near perfection." Regardless of whether you believe NATO should exist (I am that lonely libertarian who does), it does, and as such the other partners in this alliance were vocally anxious to hear assurances that the new anti-multilaterialist president still believes in the foundational commitment to collective defense. Trump pointedly refused to do so. And just one year after complaining that "We've had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies," Trump tilted his head downward to receive a medal from the king of Saudi Arabia, then days later upbraided our closest allies for not being "fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States," in a speech during which he praised Saudi King Salman as "a wise man who wants to see things get much better rapidly."

But if Trump proves to be the U.S. president who successfully encourages the European members of a mostly European alliance to take a leading role in the defense and foreign policy considerations along the borders of Europe, those ends should be considered a success, even if the means smell weird. Too much responsibility for global affairs has accrued in Washington over the years, leading to the corruptions of both domestic power and international powerlessness. It has been far too easy for the common Parisian to lay blame for the world's ills on the doorstep of the one country that will act when all others choose not to. And for all of Russia's meddling beyond its borders, the bulk of it has been in its own Near Abroad, and/or on the continent of Europe. I for one am heartened to see a Frenchman at the front of that dispute.

NEXT: Anarchy in Greece

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  1. Thank you, Donald Trump, for pointing out what a well democratic Socialist economy can do:
    Out-manufacture, Out-export, Out-Educate, Out-infrastructure, Out-medical-care, Out-vacation, Out-pension, and Out-Unionize the crapitialist US. Has been true for a very long time. But this is true of majority of socialist countries in Europe.
    I always ask of “Libertarians”, where’s your example of economic and social success? But I never wait for the answer, because it’s obvious to any rational (Reasoning?) person: in their solipsistic imaginations, just like Communism was for the Communists.

    1. Are you proud of that one?

      1. Bitch probably didn’t even take a drink.

    2. Trudy,
      There is an example of economic success in north America. It is called the American capitalist system.
      We don’t have to out manufacture or out-do any of those things individually. We can out source our manufacturing to the best potential location that offers the best ROI. Granted we do have failing schools but that is because it is a socialist school system. Most European schools are private.
      Europe is not an example of success in socialism. It is currently reaping the spoils of decades of socialism and its inevitable failings.
      Even our current form of totally perverted crony capitalism works a shade better then European socialism.
      You have to understand what true free markets are to understand that capitalism is the best choice. That is why as the world still falls apart, people still invest in our bull shit bonds over everything else. When all the bullshit is exposed for socialism’s failings, the one true measuring stick is where people vote with their feet and their money.

      1. Not to mention that we protect much of the world and that costs a lot of money that these countries do NOT pay for. Also when someone needs innovative treatment or to use the latest medical equipment who is it they turn to? That’s right, they turn to America because we don’t spend all our money on a government run health care system. Socialism also come with a zillion rules and laws that control your life and speech from cradle to grave.


    3. I always ask of “Libertarians”, where’s your example of economic and social success?

      Somalia, duh

      it’s obvious to any rational (Reasoning?) person

      DRINK!

      1. You’re right. That is the best they can point to. In the real world, that is.

        1. You might be able to point to the largest economy in the world, the place where people from shitty places still want to move to, the place where the most wealth in the world is warehoused due to safety, and one of the most free economies in the world due to business friendly rule of law and private property rights.

          I think the US is getting shittier every day too but you are a god damned idiot if you think anything in Europe holds better prospects for prosperity.

          In case you haven’t been paying attention, and something tells me you are not smart enough for that, Greece and France have been marked by riots about pensions. Greece has been for about 7 years now. The rest of Europe stands on that same precipice because of dip shit socialist give-aways. Where exactly have you been residing for the last 10 years?

          1. The usual prattle from innumerate ‘murrkin clods.
            Where’s your data?
            Right. You don’t have any. Well here’s some:
            German Fed. Budget: surpluses 4 of past 10 years
            US Fed. Budget: Last surpluses under Clinton 1998-2001
            -2nd – 3rd fewest workweeks in world: 34.7/year vs. 43 for the US
            -6 weeks federally mandated vacation, plus a minimum of 12 public holidays
            -universal means-tested, hybrid public/private higher quality healthcare than US
            -fully funded retirement
            -basically, most unionized country on earth
            -renewable energy fed. investment to 2015: $150bb; equivalent to US investing $1.9TT
            -renewable energy: 35%
            -comprehensive fast, clean, comfortable, convenient, affordable public trans.
            -top quality infrastructure…best roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. in the world by all measures
            -German Balance of Trade: Never had a deficit
            US Balance of Trade: Last surplus was 1975
            German Population: 80.62mm
            US Population: 318mm
            German Land mass: 1/5 of US
            German Natural Resources: practically none, agricultural “museum”
            US Natural Resources: Vast oil, gas, ore and other mining, timber, vast coast line with fisheries, vast agriculture
            German GDP: 1.28TT
            USA GDP: 16.77TT
            German Manufctrg % of GDP: 23.3
            US Manufctrg % of GDP: 12
            German Manufctrg employment % of total: 20
            US Manufctrg employment % of total: 9
            German Export Size vs. US: in 2011 and 2013, out-exported the US. Prior to 2009, regularly out-exported the US and China
            German Exports 2015: $1,329.47BB
            US Exports 2015: $1,504.91BB

            1. Why are things going so swimmingly in Europe then Copernicus?

              All of Europe is experiencing fiscal issues due to budgetary constraints. All of these debt laden countries are bankrupt to include us. If Germany is batting it out of the park then why won’t they continue to fund greece’s broken government and pension system? After all, they are socialist success stories right. Dumbass Marxists like you are remarkably incapable of seeing the obvious truth around you. That is how brainwashing works.

              1. Simply not true. Or, rather, they have to deal with real budget issues. If the USD didn’t have the historical accident of being the world’s reserve currency, the US would have more trouble funding their debt that Greece. More like Venezuela.
                Looks like Socialism is great for national budgets. And, of course, when you take into account that this debt accounts for a greater portion of these countries true indebtedness because the financing of most state, county, municipal and educational functions in Europe is overwhelmingly carried at the Federal level.
                As usual, Timbo just likes to make things up and never has a fact. Like most of the delusional right.

                – The United States recorded a government debt equivalent to 104.17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2015
                – EU average is 85%
                – Germany 71.2% of GDP ?(2015)
                – France 96.5 ….LOL! less than USA
                – Italy 132.5…we’re more like them
                – Denmark 39.6
                – Sweden 41.4
                – Netherlands 65.1

            2. Hey Buddy, Germany only can maintain those production/export levels by their participation in the EU. That allows them to use a currency that is 50-60% below their economic performance.

              Germany, by latching themselves to all those dogshit social democratic southern and eastern European economies like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Greece, like France who has had 10% unemployment for 30+ years, essentially pins their currency at a remarkably low rate, like the Chinese pinned the yuan to the dollar for 30 years. This makes their labor ad their exports enormously cheaper. And because most inputs come from poor nations or can be derived from the EU itself, it is a win win. Germany is the succubus. And they do it by sucking off crappy social democracies.

              If Germany had to float the Deutschmark again their economy crashes, and hard. They need to give up sovereignty to shitty nations to sustain this, and they still have a lower median GDP adjusted for ppp.

              1. And what would you say about the US spinning down the toilet if not for the historical accident of having the world’s reserve currency. That currency, too, is continuously manipulated to keep from permitting all manufacturing export capability from collapsing into a version of Argentina.

                1. And what would you say about the US spinning down the toilet if not for the historical accident of having the world’s reserve currency.

                  “Historical accident”–yes, I’m sure this happened out of nowhere, no reason at all that it took place!

                  1. Oh, so you’re a believe in the divine influence of wars and geographical locations.
                    Me, I call that historical accidents. Last man standing, as long as you’re on another new continent and ocean away where you successfully exterminated the few territorial/tribal rivals.

                    1. It was not an historical accident. It was negotiated. Started during the great depression, when Europeans deposited their gold in the United States. And further negotiated between Nixon and the Saudi king.

                2. Historical accident of America being America? What? Then there is a negotiated settlement on the western front in and the Kaiser takes the east in ww1 and autocratic reactionary Germany dominates the world for the 20th century and social democracy never exists.

                  And if America weren’t the world reserve currency our debt wouldn’t be quite as cheap and maybe we wouldn’t sell notes to buy retarded stuff like f35 and so Hillary could destroy Libya because she’s a cunt and Obama could destroy Syria and we wouldn’t waste money on Obamacare. I’m not counting that as a bad thing. Btw our manufacturing is fine. And there is no free lunch on currency manipulation. Germany just loses economic control, which is fine as long as they are on top and in control politically. they gain the most anyway. They like having shit countries in the EU to deflate the currency.

                  Just stop cherry picking your social democracies. For every good one I can pick a piece of dogshit in that stew that is a net benefit to the decent export based ones that need workers.

                  1. As usual, lots of invective. Even more ignorance. And, naturally, zero empirical analysis. Typical deluded right wing ‘murrkin super patriot.

                3. trudybeauty|5.30.17 @ 5:22PM|#
                  “And what would you say about the US spinning down the toilet if not for the historical accident of having the world’s reserve currency.”
                  I’d point out that you’re a fucking liar.

                  “That currency, too, is continuously manipulated to keep from permitting all manufacturing export capability from collapsing into a version of Argentina.”
                  Please, use English.

            3. US Fed. Budget: Last surpluses under Clinton 1998-2001. Nope, did not happen.
              Clinton just monetized that debt to show a surplus. Furthermore, a surplus is unconstitutional. Article I, section 8, paragraph 1. No mention to collect taxes for a surplus.

          2. Oh, so, if everything has been so great, you can explain Trump some other way, I guess?

            And, of course, you’re right. The US is the place where people from shitty places still want to move to. Europeans don’t go anywhere except for Europe and just visit the US as a nice place to shop and see a relatively safe 3rd world country. The people from the few non-shitty places (Canada, Australia, Singaporte, etc.) in the world, go to Europe. After all, who would want to go down to the US level of infrastructure, public safety, lifestyle, health, etc.

            1. trudybeauty|5.30.17 @ 5:30PM|#
              “Oh, so, if everything has been so great, you can explain Trump some other way, I guess?”

              WIH is THAT supposed to mean?

            2. After all, who would want to go down to the US level of infrastructure, public safety, lifestyle, health, etc

              They do like Disney.

              And once they start paying for their defense and welfare to all the immigrants, They will not be in any better shape.

        2. Most people would be ashamed to express that level of pig-ignorance, but Trudy sorta makes it work. I look forward to further contributions from this new vapid troll.

          1. Usual ‘murrkin prattle. Just insult your way to the 3rd world. You’re doing fine. Keep it up.

            1. Just insult your way to the 3rd world. You’re doing fine. Keep it up.

              True, we have a way to go before hitting Rotterham levels of child-rape, but with the help of our friends migrating from south of the border, I’m sure we’ll get there.

              1. Wow. We have a few InfoWarriors here. I originally thought this place might free of the nutter-right. Oh well.

            2. I don’t mean to come across as insensitive, but I have observed that your counterparts in this conversation are employing a much higher level of argument substantiation. Please try not to take that the wrong way.

              1. Yeah. I see their numbers all over the place. I see their informed analysis. I see the absence of anything that resembles argument by invective. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! NOT.

        3. I feel sorry for you Trudy. You won’t try to educate yourself by reading.

    4. Too bad their economies are all failing, they’re looking for bailouts anywhere they can get them, their credit ratings suck, inflation and unemployment are both higher, goods cost much more, especially technology and textiles, taxes are much higher (unless you’re a soccer player then you get exempted, cuz we all know athletes need more money), and all but germany have little manufacturing.

      Just think, how many things do you ever buy or use that say “made in” France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, or even germany? Likely very few. How much energy or resources do you use from them? What do they sell to gain gdb and create jobs? France has laws that are just now being repealed that made it illegal to fire someone under age 24 (I believe that age is right, could be a year or two off). So 1) young ppl weren’t being hired unless extremely qualified and 2) they had to artificially impose rules to keep young people employed because they lack enough entry level or low skill jobs to employ their own people. Unemployment is near 12% in France, but probably double that for those under age 30.

      Sounds just like a place I want to live. Just so my kids have a poop chance of ever getting a good job before they turn 30. You might like that shit, but we’ll alloass.

      1. To me there are few things sadder, funnier and scarier than a dipshit Marxist. They are so very clueless to the most simple aspects of market economics
        No joke, there is a very large chance that most leftist really think money grows in some room in washington.

      2. Where do you get your information from? Breitbart or Infowars?
        The EU runs a massive trade surplus with the US. Except for oil, bigger than China and most of the rest of the world combined. It goes on and on. You folks just can’t open your eyes and see what a failure the US system has become.
        Of the Northern European Socialist democracies, only UK (large) and Netherlands (negligible) have trade deficits with the US.
        The US could not support its telecom or power transport without Sweden.
        The US couldn’t build a plane (eg 777,787) or an aircraft carrier or a jet fighter without French software and process control technology.
        Virtually every automobile manufacturer depends on Germany for all its robotics and manufacturing control software.
        The remaining manufacturers of pharmaceuticals could not manufacture any simple or advanced (least of all bio-drugs) without French, German, and Swiss technology.
        Almost all packaging and bottling technology comes from Germany and Netherlands.
        The leading manufacturer or chip fabs (apart from the photonics) comes from Germany and the Netherlands
        The US will soon become massively dependent on the Netherlands, reversing their deficits to massive surpluses because the dam, dike, and water control engineering is the only thing that going to save most of the east coast from having to evacuate.

        1. “The US could not support its telecom or power transport without Sweden.”

          Funny, I don’t recall Broadcom or Qualcom being Swedish… Oh, and how’s Nokia and GSM-for-everyone going?

          “The US couldn’t build a plane (eg 777,787) or an aircraft carrier or a jet fighter without French software and process control technology.”

          How’s that A380 workin’ out? And the 787 clone, the A350? You, in the back! Yes, you! Stop laughing!

          “The leading manufacturer or chip fabs (apart from the photonics) comes from Germany and the Netherlands”

          *Yawn* Oh, ASML and Zeiss. And what about PVD? Etch? CMP? How many fabs in Europe? How many are below the 20nm node? I hear the crickets chirping.

          1. Broadcom isn’t even in that market. Qualcomm (2 m’s you know?) aren’t in those markets. They both make chips.
            STM Electronics, Siemens, Philips provide them with the technology to manufacture them. Along with a number of othe German and French Mittelstand companies.
            Clearly, you can’t even get your sectors straight. Erricson, Nokia (yes, Nokia), ABB all but dominate. ABB and a number of smaller Swiss, German and Italian companies produce nearly all high tension equipment. And the equipment to manufacture it.
            Go ahead. Go to your local power provider or visit the engineering departments at Verizon and AT&T.

            And, as an aside to this: The US cannot even produce the engineering talent anymore to supply the remaining companies that do operate in these sectors. Instead, they brain-drain all the 3rd world. You walk into an engineering department or research lab anywhere in the US and the real minority is US born and educated talent.
            This is what you get when your a US version of crapitalism.

            1. No that’s what we get with US version of socialism.

        2. “Virtually every automobile manufacturer depends on Germany for all its robotics and manufacturing control software”

          Bullshit. Most use Allen bradley automation conponents. Have you even been in an auto manufacturing plant? I have. I have worked on the automation equipment too. Guess what? It’s not german.

          1. BMW’s largest assembly plant in the world is here in Greenville, SC and they’re about to spend up to $1 billion to make it even bigger. Probably because they love making cars in their home country so much.

          2. When was the last time you visited an American automobile manufacturing operation? Allen Bradley (subsidiary of Rockwell) is a bit player. Small potatoes.
            America used to be a power in all of these sectors, but then it decided that the only thing that mattered was shareholder value. And deregulation. And libertarian anti- industrial policy.
            And so swirls it all down the toilet.

            1. whoa whoa whoa calm down. Germany is a leader in manufacturing there is no debate. AutoEurope and Zeiss ETC… are all great companies… proped up by gov’t. everytime you point to the US as a dystopian nightmare you are not pointing to whats truly “American” about it. GM makes deals with the feds… that’s a crony, rent seeking “European” model. I.G Farben needs cheap workers to build pharma… look to gov’t to supply it :(. German workers (along with most of EU) are in a kind of guild economy. somtimes the guild is your perfession(Unions) somtimes its the entire contry(miniumum wage, tarriffs). the “ameracan” system of capitol flows allows market forces (supply,demand) to allocate resources to areas of highest utility(ROI). not to the pockets of connected fuedal lords.

      3. Le Creuset and Staub still make their enameled cast iron in France. Outside of that, not much.

    5. Have you ever been to Europe? All of those dazzling countries are about as wealthy as Mississippi.

      1. Lived in Germany, France and Switzerland. Speak fluent German and decent French. You know, have a European education even though I’m ‘murrkin.

        But again, just nonsense. Mississippi. ROFL. Where’s your numbers, where’s your sources. Oh, right. This is Reason.com. You can just make things up?

        1. Well there are a few places that someone supposedly as educated as you should have been able to find.

          That Eurotard education is certainly proving its worth.

          1. No one claimed European college education was very good. It isn’t.

            1. Yeah. Most tech powering the internet (apart from the original government funded inventions) comes from Europe. Everything from Linux to Google’s PageRank.

            2. And that’s why they can supply nearly all their engineering and scientific talent rather than raid the 3rd world and borrow from Europe?
              Clearly, you have not been to an engineering department any where in US and Europe or a research lab.

              1. Excuse me. All that European tech was born in the US.

        2. trudybeauty|5.30.17 @ 5:05PM|#
          “Lived in Germany, France and Switzerland. Speak fluent German and decent French. You know, have a European education even though I’m ‘murrkin.”

          So you know full well you’re a fucking liar.

        3. Did Germany, France and Switzerland kick your out? I’ll bet Russia refused your entry.

    6. “I always ask of “Libertarians”, where’s your example of economic and social success? But I never wait for the answer,”

      If you are immune to facts, why wait for an answer?
      Try running those places without US military support. IOWs, make them pay their own way!
      Quelle surprise, asshole!

      1. Yeah. The US Military and its military-industrial socialist economy. You’re right. It’s one of the few sectors where the US competes. Profit motive and deregulation are nearly irrelevant, so I’ll give Trump one thing: he’s pointed that out.

    7. Thank you, Donald Trump, for pointing out what a well democratic Socialist economy can do:
      Out-manufacture, Out-export, Out-Educate, Out-infrastructure, Out-medical-care, Out-vacation, Out-pension, and Out-Unionize the crapitialist US.

      And if anybody decides to take them on militarily, they can collapse into a heap without a huge problem.

      It’s ironic that as much as Europe HATES Israel, Israel could conquer much of Europe without much effort.

      1. And my daddy will beat up your daddy without even lifting a finger. Nanananana!
        (You gotta love these fools here. COMPLETELY UN-SELF-AWARE. Cute, in a way)

        1. Do you honestly think Europe is remotely capable of defending itself?

      2. Trudy didn’t learn anything about the Marshall Plan in the European College.

    8. Except that they aren’t out producing us. They aren’t out-medical caring us. They aren’t out performing us.

      They’re freeloading off of us, and spending their money foolishly. Their people pay the price as well. My German co-workers are green with envy when I buy a new car, because they’re stuck with their old one for years past when I can afford a new one. They can’t drive as far because they have to pay 4X the amount I do for gasoline. They can’t afford to eat out as much because restaurants are more expensive. They can’t buy a house, unless they can sell one that they inherited. And don’t get me started on taking them shopping for clothes and electronics every single time they come over here.

      Your definition of success is really pathetic. Our working poor are financially better off than their middle class.

  2. “The times in which we could completely rely on others are over to a certain extent. That is what I experienced in the last few days?.That is why I can only say: We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.”

    Did she really say “completely rely on others”? Because Jesus Christ, time to grow up and move out of your parents’ basement, Europe.

    1. It’s either “completely” or “fully,” depending on translation. And yes, emphatically. (There are entire articles written about her careful word choices here.)

      1. I posted a link top this last night and a bullshit-artist claimed that was “taken out of context”, and it really meant the US was “breaking agreements” and only “Trump-lovers” believed that.
        When I asked for proof, I got more bullshit.

    2. What a catastrophe for the US.

    3. The next question is, does “completely rely on others” mean to rely on others for everything you have or need, or to rely on others holding completely to agreements and promises that they have made?

      1. “rely on others holding completely to agreements and promises that they have made?”

        Maybe it is just “fake news” but didn’t Germany and the other NATO members agree in 2014 (to the Obama administration no less) that they would increase their military spending to 2% of GNP? If so, just whom is breaking the agreements and promises they have made?

        1. The usual pervasive ignorance here.
          The stated target is to do this by 2025, even though a few of the countries are ahead of this.
          Hey, but, who cares about the facts. They’re just pesky details…when you’re really just trying to make yourself feel good about our shabby crapitalist country.

          1. trudybeauty|5.30.17 @ 5:08PM|#
            “The usual pervasive ignorance here.”
            We3ll, you’re kind enough to show up with the usual lefty lies.

            “The stated target is to do this by 2025, even though a few of the countries are ahead of this”
            The stated target seems to keep changing, but the spending doesn’t:
            “Nato defence spending falls despite promises to reverse cuts”
            […]
            “Despite the Ukraine crisis and increasing tensions with Russia, most Nato members are doing little to reverse the decline in their defence spending.
            The promises and rhetoric that they will meet the threat is not matched by reality.”

            “Hey, but, who cares about the facts.”
            Seems you don’t.

          2. Try 4 April 1949.

        2. That 2% was agreed upon 4 April 1949. They have been slacking ever since.

  3. Well, Brussels IS a hellhole. I like their sprouts, though.

      1. I’ve never denied that.

      2. Unless you’re objecting to the city comment, it is YOU who are the monster!

        Fingers crossed for some fresh b sprouts at the store…

        1. If you can’t get fresh try the flash frozen ones shredded and added to fried rice.

    1. Never been there. Neither has a sprout ever been to my stomach, because they get vomited up first.

    2. Mmmm….. Sprouts…

  4. alliance members pay their “full share,”

    Matt, let’s change this statement to “fair share” and send it on to Chuck Schumer’s office for review.

  5. I wonder what Welch did back in the days when he was writing for that LA rag or whatever before the internet when it was all print and he couldn’t hyperlink to the things he was talking about. Probably made shit up. That’s my guess. Who would know back then? Losers.

    I’m not sure making Europe pony right up for more of their own defense would strengthen the European Union. When they have to take away all those mandatory vacay months and raise retirement ages to pay for it, I can see a whole lot of burning Citroens instead.

    1. I can see a whole lot of burning Citroens instead.

      Isn’t that called “starting the car”?

    2. Take away a month’s worth of vacation? That is crazy talk.

      Europe is entirely successful as a continent simply because they work less and give out more free shit. Austerity is simply a tool of the elites to make people pay for stuff they want.

    3. You mean “more” burning Citroens?

      1. Aren’t those good for keeping mosquitoes away?

    4. Yeah, they’ll stop exporting all their high tech manufacturing and software and we’ll go back to tobacco farming. We’re almost there, as it is.
      Check the figures. EU has a massive surplus (no, not mining, minerals, oil, and agra, like the US).
      And thank you Mr. Trump for bringing it to ‘murrkins’ attention that that don’t make anything anyone else wants. Unless it’s massively subsidized agra or weapons.

      1. EU has a massive surplus (no, not mining, minerals, oil, and agra, like the US).

        “The EU has a massive surplus if you ignore these parts of the US economy!”

        LOL.

        1. Nothing says quality microelectronics and software like Made in the EU. Take away the subsidies and Airbus is gone. Take away oil and gas and Norway is a bunch of broke herring fishermen.

  6. Burning a Citroen beats driving a Citroen any day.

  7. Wait, maybe this isn’t a good thing. When the German Chancellor says Germany will take their fate into their own hands, could this be a bad thing? Maybe keeping Germany in Mom’s basement, playing XBox and selling weed to Greece is a good thing.

    1. I figured that Merkel was just talking in code for her inevitable masturbation session with The Donald’s old wig.

  8. We should pull all funding from NATO. Point blank. Let these assholes deal with their own shit. Especially if their foreign minister wants to cozy up with Iran. At the bottom of this link.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..alues.html

    They’re going to shit in their own bed, like socialists always do, so let them wallow in it. France, Spain, and Italy are all ripe for rapid financial decay, forcing France and Spain to pass a massive “one percenter” tax 2 years ago that’s chasing a lot of capital away. Good thing those uber rich soccer stars get personal exemptions though! We can chase away business, jobs, and capital, but god forbid we lose our footballers!

    1. Just turn it into the Northern European Treaty Organization, or NETO (pronounced ‘neato’)

    2. If trump were the real deal and not just another FED/Military Industrial Complex/Big Washington mouthpiece, he would call for the abolition of all of the following bureaucratic money pits:

      NATO, UN, World Bank, IMF, bank of international settlements, The FED, WHO, etc. I know there are plenty.

      All of these organizations exist for a select few to take grandiose junkets on their tax payer’s behalf.

    3. Dizzle,
      Without the bread and circuses, the people will revolt.

    4. Good thing those uber rich soccer stars get personal exemptions though!

      Where are you getting this information?

    5. It’s simple.

      OK Angie. We’ll be out in 30 days. Have a nice day!

  9. What could possibly go wrong with a very large German army?

    1. Cool pants and a funny walk?

    2. More Pickelhaubes!!!

      1. Nipple-StraBe?

    3. The expensive sightseeing tours to neighboring countries?

    4. Fire up the ovens!

    1. You can stop spelling that after the second ‘l.’

  10. Regardless of whether you believe NATO should exist (I am that lonely libertarian who does)

    I’m not anti NATO but (this won’t change the meaning of the words preceding ‘but’, I promise) has the European continent and political landscape changed enough where structural changes to NATO are reasonable? When NATO was formed, Europe was still a smoldering fire, and some of those nations had been conquered by the allies, no one was really in a position to defend themselves against the Red Menace.

    Now Europe has the finest holiday schedule, pension benefits and job security in the Universe. They seem perfectly capable of dropping a day or two of paid leave and covering their military obligations.

    1. The current structure of NATO should be updated at the very least.

      1. Who are we defending against though? Russia is completely bankrupt. More so than us exponentially almost. 1/3 of our army could exhaust Russia’s army in short order.

        What is the point of putting money into a slush fund if we are going to pick up 100% of the tab for war.

        Even though we will have likely started the war via proxy. On second thought – NATO on because we need to keep all of those people at lockhead in a job.

        1. More so than us exponentially almost. 1/3 of our army could exhaust Russia’s army in short order.

          You may not have noticed but Europe is bankrupt too, and four kids doing fake Russian accents wielding Daisy Air Rifles could probably overrun half of Europe in short order.

          1. Indeed. All the more reason to stop funding all of these organizations. That is what I love about the over use of the term globalists. The only thing wrong with “globalism” are these organizations and an attempt to “organize” them under the EU bureaucracy or any of the other charades cited here:

            NATO, UN, World Bank, IMF, bank of international settlements, The FED, WHO, etc. I know there are plenty..

            Too bad trump did not hold true to his “drain the swamp” and his “anti-globalist world government” rhetoric.

        2. What is the point of putting money into a slush fund if we are going to pick up 100% of the tab for war.

          Well, I don’t think there is any way that the United States leaves NATO, but the current structure needs to be updated.

          1. The US is not going to stop any of this stuff. That is where politicians get to waste money on hookers and booze.

            We’d soon have a better chance of getting bill clinton to stop raping young women.

        3. The reason we’re still there is to exert influence.

    2. I supported NATO in its purpose to offer a defense and a deterrent against the Soviet Union.

      I supported NATO as a means to bring free, democratic, and capitalist nations onto the other side of the former iron curtain.

      An alliance can still be an important part of a libertarian foreign policy, in which the legitimate purpose of government, in part, is to protect our rights from foreign threats. But I’m not sure that needs to be within the framework of NATO anymore.

      You’ll notice that some of the countries that are spending what they’re supposed to on NATO are the countries who fear the worst should NATO collapse–namely Estonia and Poland. If we’re giving them assurances through NATO now, I don’t see why we couldn’t do that with them individually should NATO go the way of the Delian League.

      Russia might be a more strategic ally in the fight against terrorism anyway–rather than some of the NATO countries And the collapse of the Soviet Union isn’t the only thing that’s changed since the Cold War. The EU is there to take on their own defense like it wasn’t during the Cold War. Let them coordinate their own defense without our influence or support. It’s not as if the EU were likely to become a belligerent enemy of the United States.

      1. You’ll notice that some of the countries that are spending what they’re supposed to on NATO are the countries who fear the worst should NATO collapse–namely Estonia and Poland.

        That’s probably because they ‘own’ the problem more than Western Europe.

        They spend what they’re supposed to because the threat feels very real to them.

        I agree that there’s nothing stopping the US into entering a targeted alliance with such countries.

        1. “What is Tallin?” How far do you think the American people would be willing to go if Russia invaded Estonia?

          1. To the phone to call the new Euro ‘strongman’ Macron!
            That’ll show Putin!

          2. How likely is Russia to invade Estonia (or Poland) if we have troops stationed there?

            1. Ken, I don’t know, and I don’t care.
              Germany is right over there; let them take care of it.
              Not
              My
              Job

        2. It’s also baffling seeing the hand-wringing that Trump said he might not honor Article 5 at all times.

          It seems only the US is expected to honor commitments. Why should we get involved if, say, Luxembourg cannot be bothered to do a damned thing to help themselves?

  11. “Donald Trump blunders his way into a healthy trans-Atlantic development.”

    I take issue with the word “blunders”. Donald Trump campaigned on this stuff. How can Trump blunder into doing exactly what he said he was going to do?

    He campaigned against the international climate change accords that Merkel is reacting to, and he campaigned on the Europeans paying their fair share–or shouldering more of their own burdens.

    Trump’s positions on these issues were well known during the campaign.

    I guess the reason the media thinks he blunders into these positions is because a) they didn’t pay attention to his positions during the campaign and/or b) they can’t believe he’s actually doing what he said he would do.

    For people who thought the most important issue of the campaign was whether Donald Trump was a pussy grabber, I’m sure the fact that Trump was consistent on certain policy prescriptions during the campaign comes as a shock and a surprise.

    If Trump had caved on international climate change accords, it would have played in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin like when George H. W. Bush broke his “no new taxes” pledge–a betrayal.

    1. Trump campaigned on promising to alienate America’s closest allies by blurting out strategically disseminating confidential intelligence and berating them to the point where they no longer want the baggage that goes along with dealing with the US government? TMYK….*

      Oh sure, Trump is retarded. Retarded like a fox!

      1. We’re talking about Trump’s positions on international climate change accords and on Europe standing on its own two feet–if it wasn’t going to pay its fair share.

        I should add, however, that Trump did campaign on working with Russia on fighting ISIS. That’s why John McCain gave Comey the piss-gate dossier just before Trump was inaugurated–and why McCain and the neocons have been trying to throw a monkey wrench in Trump’s attempts to form a working relationship with the Russians since before Trump became president.

        How’s it feel to be on the same side as the neocons?

        Actually, if you were backing Hillary, I guess you were already used to it.

        1. Don’t ever listen to the haters and losers who say you’ve lost your mind, Ken. Everyone is against you. The whole world is in on the Hillary conspiracy to destroy you and your America. Only the whispers in the dark speak the truth. They show you the truth of the glorious future led by the glorious leader who can do no wrong. Never question your resolve. Never engage in honest debate. Never cut your hair or your toenails. That’s what they want you to do. And hang on to those jars of urine, they’ll be invaluable in the fullness of time.

          1. Are you saying that McCain didn’t give the piss-gate dossier to Comey before Trump was inaugurated?

            Are you saying that the Obama administration wasn’t investigating the Trump campaign while he was running against Hillary?

            1. Don’t forget Seth Rich’s murder.

    2. Smart man, this one.

      Ironically these are things most libertarians should want, which Matt alludes to. These are the things libertarians like me who voted for the guy actually wanted and expected.

      And seriously, shouldn’t bunching the gutchies of a group of pretentious socialist leaders make any libertarian smile? I like our President more each time he trolls these people, and hope he keeps trolling them. Call them out on their nato funding, their unemployment rates, their reliance on others for energy, their bailout seeking and giving, etc. Troll it up, and don’t let them forget it.

      We seriously don’t need these politicians to like us, were competitive enough and our goods/energy cheap enough they’ll still need/want to buy from us. And I personally know my german and French friends are both obsessed with American denim, so we can always upcharge the hell out of blue jeans to make up any trade defecits.

    3. Yeah. That disaster of a non-exploding national debt, that damn Bush senior.
      Oh. And as the price of wind, solar, etc. sink way below the cost of coal (as is nearly the case, when all-in is reckoned), the US will have yet another manufactured product it has to depend on from Europe. And the EU surplus will explode even more than it already is. And their coasts will be inundated since they can no longer afford Dutch and Danish water control technology.
      Smart folks those ‘murrkins.

      1. And their coasts will be inundated since they can no longer afford Dutch and Danish water control technology.

        Oh, look, a “GLOBULL WARMIN’ WILL KILL US ALL!” true believer.

        Hey dumbshit, the Dutch and Danes can’t put in “water control technology” around the entire continent’s coast, no matter how much you think the limits of scale don’t apply to the real world.

      2. Psst, windmills and dikes are such simple technology even Europeans can handle them…

      3. “And as the price of wind, solar, etc. sink way below the cost of coal (as is nearly the case, when all-in is reckoned)”

        Protip The “social cost of carbon” are not real costs, they are a political fabrication at best.
        How does renewable fare on an even playing field without the governments of the world picking winners and losers? If it was so cheap and efficient we would see wind turbine factories 100% powered by wind turbines.

        But we don’t do we? Why do you think that is? It’s is quite simply because the numbers don’t add up.

        But hey, you keep on wishing for death and destruction so that one day you can stand tall and lord your moral superiority over those who “didn’t listen”. Perhaps at this moment, when your life finally has meaning. you will realise how hoping for death to “prove” you were righteously vindicated is a hollow victory.

        But you don’t have to worry about looking in that particular mirror because those biblical floods you are hoping for wont happen. CAGW has been over sold.

        Enjoy the awesome life fossil fuels have given you while you still can, if you and your ilk have your way the next generation wont have this pleasure.

        1. “Protip The “social cost of carbon” are not real costs, they are a political fabrication at best.
          How does renewable fare on an even playing field without the governments of the world picking winners and losers? If it was so cheap and efficient we would see wind turbine factories 100% powered by wind turbines.”

          Here’s how:
          “NEW BMW Engine – PRODUCTION ”
          […]
          “BMW Brilliance Automotive opens new engine plant with light metal foundry in China”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXSasCIXZ54

          They didn’t even bother with the baffle-gab of ‘local market production’ in the blurb, just feel-good bullshit.
          But no competent manager of a German firm which is involved in manufacturing is planning on that doing that in Germany so long as the population is determined to return to 19th-century ‘romantic’ living; candles are so ‘authentic’, doncha’ know?
          So those plants (and jobs) will go where the population is a bit less enthralled with pixie-dust energy.

      4. Oh. And as the price of wind, solar, etc. sink way below the cost of coal (as is nearly the case, when all-in is reckoned),

        Explains the near-total dearth of private investment and desperate need of massive subsidies to keep them afloat. Because they are hella-profitable and all.

        Little question: How, precisely, do you STORE the energy generated? And what about the pollution required to mine the minerals to make them possible? Or the bird genocide involved with wind?

        the US will have yet another manufactured product it has to depend on from Europe.

        The same Europe that Russia can drop into darkness by cutting off oil deliveries? That Europe?

        And the EU surplus will explode even more than it already is. And their coasts will be inundated since they can no longer afford Dutch and Danish water control technology.
        Smart folks those ‘murrkins.

        Care to guess what country has actually gone the farthest in cutting emissions?

        Hint: It ain’t in Europe.

        1. “Explains the near-total dearth of private investment and desperate need of massive subsidies to keep them afloat. Because they are hella-profitable and all.”

          A couple of weeks ago, some watermelon swore the Euros were ‘half way’ to ‘sustainable energy’, and it took a minute or so to search and find they were at about 10% on average (which ignores the subsidies they’re charging the tax- and rate-payers).
          Well, the response came back that ‘they’re on their way to 100%!’ I mentioned I’m ‘on my way’ to be a billionaire, also.

  12. Trumps ‘Art of the Deal’ logic is to ask for 3 times what you’ll really settle for during a negotiation. But if the other players already know that’s his strategy going in they don’t have to worry about him backing down a couple of notches. He needs a bit a more variety in his game.

    1. So you’re saying he needs to yank harder on the shake?

    2. I have no idea what “hank harder on the shake” means. Let me know.

  13. We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.

    Well it’s about damned time!

    1. Hey, at age 70, it’s probably time to move out of the basement.

    2. Yeah. It is about time. No need for the US oil, agra or protection anymore. And eventually the EU will have to stop selling to US and reduce it’s massive surplus because, as a 3rd world country, the US won’t be able to afford developed manufactured goods.

      1. trudybeauty|5.30.17 @ 5:18PM|#
        “Yeah. It is about time. No need for the US oil, agra or protection anymore. And eventually the EU will have to stop selling to US and reduce it’s massive surplus because, as a 3rd world country, the US won’t be able to afford developed manufactured goods.”

        OK, I’m calling trolling here.
        Not even the dumbest lefty fuck believes the US is going to become a “3rd-world country”, so this is so much noise.

      2. You mean the EU who’s completely dependent on the US for everything? That Europe? Man… you remind me of a friend who put out an article about how the New Orleans Saints were now America’s team. He really believed that it was fact. His hatred of the Dallas Cowboys was so overwhelming, that he neglected to read the last line of the article which basically said “Well, WE think we should be America’s Team! Don’t you?”

        That’s you in a nutshell. Emphasis on nut.

  14. The foreign policy world is atwitter about German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    “Atwitter”, Matt? Aren’t you risking a lawsuit?

    1. That phrasing made me feel kind of nauseous and kind of angry.

    2. It’s definitionally not Twitter.

      1. HyR is the Untwitter.

    3. Maybe Twitter can stem its massive losses by suing Matt Welch.

  15. Nixon should have slammed NATO shut the same moment he slammed the gold window shut. He stopped short – he pulled the US out of being France’s bitch in Viet Nam but went no further.

    For all the bluster about stopping communism, NATO didn’t do a damn thing from stopping Western Europe from going full-blown socialist – the same damn thing essentially. And the fools even formed a doomed economic union, just like the former enemy.

    Poland was stupid enough to escape the Soviet Union and rush to join the European Union.

  16. As far as I can tell, most Europeans dislike Germany for the same reason they dislike America. No one likes superpower seemingly dictating policies. Why Merkel thinks Europe will unite behind her is beyond me. They hate each other, and the French and Greeks were never fans of Germany.

    Not even TRUMP said “I don’t need allies, America and Britain should go it alone”. What Merkel and Macron are doing is as reckless and irresponsible as anything Trump has ever done. Don’t these people get oil from us and Russia? Who drops bombs on ISIS? It’s mostly us, Russia, and other middle eastern frenemies. You want to do things alone without our assistance, go ahead.

    In normal times, sensible observers in the media would be alarmed this, or by a 39 year old former bank boy trashing the RT in the presence of Putin. Not because Macron was wrong about RT, but France has none to gain by poking the bear. But this is the age of Trump, and anything that can be used to sleight Trump is now good news.

    So the eurotrash willy say something completely insane like “just get used to terrorism already” and get less coverage than Melania slapping Trump’s hands.

    1. A photoshopped meme of the Pope slapping The Don’s hand is making the rounds in papist patriarchies.

    2. As a general rule they Like America more than Germany, simply for the fact that we are way over here and as a result meddle less. From their point of view the US didn’t roll tanks over them or stuff anybody in ovens.

  17. So basically we have this….keeping in mind he got the dental plan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR1QL7CJltQ

  18. Angela Merkel: “If my sugar daddy won’t continue to pay for the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed…”

  19. I’m gonna haveta agree with Matt on the future of Europe. If it’s anything like it’s past, better their own hands than ours!

  20. We get it Trump bad, Obama good! He asked nicely and we should ask the people who say they are our friends to finally pay up.

  21. Donald Trump blunders his way into a healthy trans-Atlantic development.

    Even though Trump has been saying for decades that allies need to bear more of the burden for their defense, when he achieves it as President, he has “blundered his way” into it, because if we actually admitted Trump was right, cocktail party invites…, etc.

  22. Matt, I have to take exception with you on…
    “…Whose approach, Obama’s or Trump’s, is more likely to result in NATO members ponying up more for their collective defense? …”

    Well, apparently we tried it Obama’s way and it didn’t work, or Trump wouldn’t be need to be talking about it. So, it is NOT more likely that NATO members ponying up more simply by having a ‘photo-op and TEA’.
    Fact is, NATO countries have no real incentive to “contribute their fair share”. Not as if, should Germany be attacked by whomever, we’re going to say, “well, Germany, we’d like to help, but we have this matter of your back-taxes that need to be settled before we can engage”. Right?

    1. Not as if, should Germany be attacked by whomever, we’re going to say, “well, Germany, we’d like to help, but we have this matter of your back-taxes that need to be settled before we can engage”. Right?

      And why shouldn’t it be that?

      If they won’t contribute to their defense, then let them pay us for our help. We aren’t benefitted fighting on behalf of Europe.

  23. I notice all the Intelgesia in the Media are falling over themselves to praise and elevate Merkel over this speech. Has anybody actually talked to any of the rest of Europe? I’m kind of thinking a substantial portion of the EU’s citizenship is aghast at the thought of being “led” or “ruled” by Ms. Merkel and Germany. There’s some history there, remember. The only thing that keeps much of the continental EU members on speaking terms is that overt equalizer that is US influence and NATO. When Merkel steps up to lead, Poland and much of Eastern Europe along with the Dutch, the Spanish and the Greeks will step back and tell her to F*** Off! They don’t want a European Army under German control. They’ve experienced that twice in the past century. As the tanks rolled over them. At the first sign of overt German Leadership the East half of Europe starts electing their own Trumps and stockpiling guns.

  24. Sorry Matt; Hairman Booring is right on one count: NATO is an anachronism, designed to thwart a foe that no longer exists.

    The EU can keep NATO if it wishes. The US defense industry will be more than happy to sell it all the arms & intelligence services it cares to pay for…

  25. Thank you Matt. I’ve been trying to figure out why everyone is in such an uproar about this development.
    It sounds like a good realization to me. No healthy person, or country, should be dependent upon anyone else for their safety. Conversely, lets not go all extreme to the other end… there is a lot of space between stepping up and taking more responsibility, and Germany raising a big… German… army. I doubt that Trump wants or expects that sort of extreme response.

  26. We have a massive trade deficit with Germany… Uh yeah.. says the guy who has owned several $450,000 Mercedes and BMWs… And BTW, both of those companies manufacture here in the US and employ 700,000 US workers at very good wages, so we can sell those cars to China. (BTW.. That’s 10 times the number of Trumps’ coal workers in the US). As to ‘not paying their way’… They are in the path of any warlike moves from Russia.. The reason we established NATO originally. We have our military in bases all over Europe and our missiles as well. That is a major benefit to us…Anyone seen any German or French bases here in the US? Nope. That’s because we need our troops there!

  27. 65% of Germans oppose using the German military to come to the aid of a fellow NATO member that is being attacked, and Germany does not spend enough on its own military. They won’t come to the aid of others and won’t do enough to defend themselves, but for some reason we are supposed to defend them.

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