From the WaPo
NATO allies of the United States plan to boost their defense spending by 4.3 percent this year, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, a response in part to intense pressure from President Trump that the nations invest more in their militaries.
The rest can be found here.
This is at Quartz.
Options discussed include
- European Army
- Increase spending and pool resources
- “Get good at what’s actually possible without the US”
- Convince the US it needs Europe
- “Don’t do anything drastic”
The issue with NATO isn’t that the allies are free riding. Don’t get me wrong, NATO is “welfare for the rich” and its utterly stupid that Americans are arguably paying more for European security than Europeans do, but to me the issue is that the alliance has been extended into areas into territories that produce the security dilemma from a Russian perspective.
Taking political stock of the past 18 months, It is becoming clear that 1) the original NATO is becoming more essential than we realized and 2) it needs the United States to lead. There is too much latent populism and nationalism on the continent to let Germany rise without some sort of outside check to manage it. And frankly, NATO can’t survive without the United States. You have clear evidence of shrieking now. If the United States were to transfer power to NATO and the alliance was actually somehow needed, why would we assume buckpassing wouldn’t emerge as the dominant response?
First there was the handshake with a message. We are still not sure what the message is, but apparently it’s serious.
Now Macron is taking on Putin’s policy in Syria informing him that if chemical weapons are used again, Russia will have France to deal with.
I’m not sure if he is serious or if this is just sour grapes because both supported his rival. But if there is any country that needs to look at itself before beyond its borders it is France. At one point it was a regional hegemony, but France today doesn’t get much correct.
Below are two indicators of its economy, unemployment and GDP growth. Both are from FRED and both speak for themselves.
There is also the seemingly perpetual issue of integration and terrorism. France more than the United States, the U.K. or Germany seems to have a unique problem integrating members of foreign cultures into their society.
But regarding foreign policy, France should be mostly concerned with Germany’s apparent willingness to chart a more independent path. The biggest long term concern for France is still Germany. NATO was just as much designed to keep the Soviets out as it was to keep control over a recovering German.