#tartus

NATO (lack of) commitment update

NATO

In 2018 we wrote the following piece on NATO funding after Trump called out those nations who weren’t keeping up with their own self-imposed military spending commitments of 2% of GDP made back in 2006. At the time, only 5 of the 28 member countries outside of the US had met the 2% commitment. Fast forward to today and only 6 countries (ex-US) have achieved it.

Yet the Left is howling that Trump is a hypocrite for looking to move an F-16 squadron, amongst other instalments from sub-2% Germany to Italy – a nation with an even lower commitment –  because he thinks that the Teutons are derelict with respect to their NATO promises. How ironic that German politicians are begging the US to reconsider the move, knowing the boost to the local economy those facilities bring.

What the Trump-hating world doesn’t see with the relocation of forces is that such decisions aren’t solely based on monetary commitments but the strategic implications of new bases, not to mention the approval of the new country to accept US forces on its sovereign territory.

Others are saying this is further evidence of Trump placating Putin. Were that the case, Trump would encourage an extension of the timeline for nations to meet their NATO commitments and recommend the redeployment of those forces to the western-most part of Northern Ireland so as to be the least effective deterrent to Russia.

Given the long-standing arrangement Putin has with Assad, the Russian navy has access to the Meditteranean port of Tartus in Syria. Relocating fighter jets in Italy makes more sense than having them in Germany were a skirmish ever to ensue.

Never mind. Orange man bad.

Putin’s puppet?

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Not surprising from Rasmussen overnight:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 65% of Likely Democratic Voters believe critics of Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin truly believe he is a treasonous Russian puppet. Just as many Republicans (67%) disagree and think those critics are only making the charges for political purposes, a view shared by a plurality (47%) of voters not affiliated with either major party.”

Trump’s  unconventional (yet unsurprising) outburst of diplomacy against Iran (if it can be called that) on Twitter in capital letters does dispel this somewhat. To fire a social media salvo at Rosoboronexport’s second largest arms customer (one Russia has sold weapons to Iran  for 98 years) would somewhat dispel that myth of kowtowing to Putin’s every move. 85% of Iran’s military hardware is Russian. Syria is Russia’s #1 export client with the prize being the naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus.

In any event both Iran and Syria serve Russia’s ability to interfere with US policy in the Middle East. Israel now claims Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers have stepped up from being mere advisors in the Golan Heights to actively fighting. Israel has commenced day raids in Syria such has the threat escalated.

If POTUS is intending  to remove one or two of Putin’s clients (list here) then one suspects the Russian dictator should be pulling Iran’s strings to get them to arm in silence rather than pick a fight with the US.

Perhaps a more apt way to look at this is Trump’s hatred of Obama’s (foreign) policies far outweighs his supposed love of Putin. The evidence for that is not only obvious but entirely factual, backed with empirical evidence.