Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explains to readers of The American Conservative that Europe and the United States should cooperate, but as equals. Donald Trump seems to be unique among recent presidents in recognizing that, says Bandow, and he should go with that gut feeling by demanding Europe pick up its slack in the NATO alliance. He writes (abridged):
Unique among recent presidents, Donald Trump recognizes, at least in his gut, that America’s aging alliances have turned into ends rather than means. He also understands that Washington’s supposed friends have enthusiastically taken advantage of our willingness to defend the entire world.
Yet virtually all his appointees are committed members of “The Blob,” the bipartisan foreign policy elite, whose members view the slightest reluctance to intervene abroad as shocking, even scandalous. They have diligently frustrated his oft-expressed wish to end America’s participation in such counterproductive conflicts as Afghanistan and Syria—and to force Europe to take responsibility for its own defense.
In early March, General Curtis Scaparrotti told Congress that more manpower and materiel were necessary to match growing Russian strength. Despite the president’s continuing call for Europe to do more, most of these resources will come from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who recently reinforced the seemingly limitless U.S. commitment by inviting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a Joint Session of Congress. She presumably hopes to embarrass the president, given his criticism of NATO, but Stoltenberg is a creature of America, not an independent actor. Without the U.S. military, the alliance would not exist. Washington should speak to him, not him to it.
There is much on which America and Europe should cooperate. But they should do so as equals. And that requires kicking the continent off the U.S. defense dole. The starting point should be to end any talk of Fort Trump. It is time for Europe to take responsibility for its own defense.
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