We saved their butts twice and they still haven’t forgiven us…

This is cleaned up paraphrases a classic slam at the French for underappreciating the U.S. role in both World Wars.

It came to mind when I read a Los Angeles Times article over the weekend.

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The gist of the article is that Trump — by calling on NATO members to meet their 2% of GDP defense commitment and by not wholeheartedly promising to defend Montenegro — has given NATO members cause to question whether the U.S. is a reliable ally.

Say, what?

Let’s dig a little deeper…

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Here are a couple of snippets from the article:

The dominant U.S. role in NATO was by design when the alliance was created in 1949 — to keep Washington engaged in defending Europe, where it had fought two major wars, to deter Russia by vowing to defend Europe with nuclear weapons if necessary, and to prevent Germany from reemerging as a military threat.

Deeply alarmed at President Trump’s attacks on NATO… European governments are rethinking their reliance on the United States as a strategic ally against Russia.

“We can no longer fully rely on the U.S.” Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister.

But, Europe has not developed the kind of capacity it would need to have a more independent defense capability.

The combined defense budgets of the 28 NATO members other than the U.S. is around $312 billion in 2018. That’s less than half the Pentagon budget but far exceeds the $51 billion that Russia said it is spending.

But other than the United States, Britain and France, most NATO members lack equipment and manpower to fight a sustained conventional war without the U.S. at their side.

It would take a decade or longer for the European Union to develop armed forces that could rival the U.S. military.

That’s assuming there was political will to create a standing European army.

For now, there isn’t.

That’s exactly the point … and should have been the theme and headline of the LAT article.

Saving their butts twice seems to have provided the vulnerable NATO nations  with a safety net that has bred complacency.

They underspend on defense (versus their own NATO commitments), confident that the Big Dog will come to the rescue again if necessary … they then spend lavishly on social welfare programs (and chastise the U.S. for being uncaring).

Maybe they should give some thought to building a capability to protect themselves.

If Trump finally broke their complacency, good for him.

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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One Response to “We saved their butts twice and they still haven’t forgiven us…”

  1. JOhn Milnes Baker Says:

    ” …. good for him” indeed!

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