The tiny Balkan country of scarcely more than 600,000 people is known mostly for its sunny Adriatic beaches – so why is Trump portraying it as a threat?
For three decades, since returning from his mysterious trip to Moscow in the summer of 1987, Donald Trump has publicly railed against America’s allies. He has consistently portrayed Washington’s security partners around the world as “freeloaders” and worse. In Trump’s zero-sum worldview, which is derived from the casino business rather than diplomacy or military strategy, alliances are for chumps, at least when you’re the stronger partner.
This attitude has particularly applied to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which in his 18 months in the Oval Office President Trump has depicted as a scam designed to bleed America dry of dollars while lazy Europeans refuse to do their bit for the cash-strapped alliance. Trump’s dismissive attitude towards NATO was on full display during the alliance’s summit in Brussels last week. There, the American president repeatedly castigated NATO members, only five of whose 29 members meet the alleged “requirement” to spend at least two per cent of their GDP on defense (the United States leads the pack, with 3.5 per cent of GDP given to the Pentagon in 2018).
In Brussels, Trump was his usual bull-bringing-his-own-china-shop self, causing offense as casually as normal heads of government shake hands, and notwithstanding his claim that the NATO summit was “truly great,” few Alliance members concur with that assessment. The summit was just one more official event which Donald Trump turned into a reality TV show, with the usual diplomatic puffery being replaced by orange-hued plate-throwing. If the president’s unstated aim was to hobble the Atlantic Alliance with mutual rage and loathing, he succeeded masterfully.
Read the rest at The Spectator USA …