Two clues to rub together? No, just one.
The historical foundation of NATO has always been the one for all, all for one, Article 5. It states that an attack on one member is an attack on all. Article 5 has been invoked only once. On 12 September 2001, the day after 9/11, NATO unanimously invoked Article 5 for NATO to come to the aid of the USA. Under that one and only Article 5 declaration NATO aircraft patrolled the skies over the USA for seven months (Op Eagle Assist), NATO naval forces performed counterterrorism patrols in the Mediterranean for 15 years (Op Active Endeavour), and NATO went to war in Afghanistan for 16 years – so far – under the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) banner.
Donald J Trump hasn’t got a freaking clue about history.
The NATO alliance was formed in April 1949 to respond to the threat of war with the Soviet Union. On that first day there were 12 member nations – including Canada. In 2001 there were 18 and now 29. Beginning in 2017 Trump questioned the value of NATO. In 2018 he said if member nation Montenegro was attacked the US might not respond because it could draw NATO into a war with Russia. In 2019, he divided the member states into two camps: those who spend two per cent of GDP on their military and those who do not. Eight do – USA, Bulgaria, Greece, UK, Estonia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland – 21 do not. One could conclude that those who are more threatened by Russia spend more. The USA would spend whether or not they were in NATO. Trump has threatened economic sanctions against those who do not meet his threshold. He has begun his tweet storm. It is reported that the other NATO delegates had a prepared plan ready to respond to Trump if he announced in London this past week that the USA was pulling out of NATO. Didn’t happen, but they were ready.
Macron says NATO needs a defined purpose. He hints that NATO opposition to Russian aggression and to ISIS are excellent options. Trump takes Macron’s criticism personally because everything is all about him. Russia and Russia-Turkey together are a clear and present threat to NATO. Turkey and Greece are both NATO members. Turkey invaded Greek-Cypriot lands and still occupies them. Turkey displaced the most effective anti-ISIS forces – the Kurds – from northern Syria when the US stepped aside. Russia is patrolling there to help Turkey and has occupied the former US bases. Turkey purchased weapon systems from the Russians. In response, the US said to Turkey, you can’t have our new stealth fighter. Turkey is negotiating to buy the Russian version. Trump met with Turkey’s Erdogan and found him to be a good guy doing great things.
Canada’s largest current military deployment is in Latvia under a NATO umbrella (Op Reassurance). It stood up in 2014 in response to the Russian aggression in the Ukraine. In recent years, the Canadian military has also deployed under NATO to Poland, Romania, Iceland, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Lithuania. Operation Unifer – a Canada, US, UK action, not NATO – provides training to the Ukranian military so that they can defend against Russian aggression.
Donald J Trump hasn’t got a freaking clue about alliances.
Have a look at the article, “Inside Trump’s First Pentagon Briefing” published by Politico. A quote, “playing a game of chess against a president fixated on “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”” And another, “I learned an important lesson … only use slides with pictures” And this from Trump, “The French had an amazing parade on Bastille Day with tanks and everything. Why can’t we do that?” Nobody laughed. It wasn’t a joke.
The UN laughed to his face when he spoke there. NATO heads laughed behind his back in London this past week. Putin laughs at him. I laugh at him. He left the NATO meeting early, chastened, and angry. As ignorant as he is, it really isn’t a laughing matter.
I don’t have a freaking clue what will come of this, but there is a way out for everyone.
If Trump is impeached by the House, then a trial proceeds in the Senate. Two-thirds majority (67 of 100) is required to remove him from office and that is unlikely in a stand-up vote. However, the Senate first has to agree on the procedural rules for the trial. The rules are adopted by a simple majority vote – 51 of 100. If a senator proposes that the trial be decided by a secret ballot, it would likely become a rule. If the trial was decided by secret ballot, one Republican senator has predicted that 30 Republicans would vote with the Democrats for removal and another says 35 would do so. If the Senate adopts a secret ballot rule for the trial, I expect that Trump will simply not fight the impeachment. In this case, he does have a clue and, for once, everybody grins – I mean, wins.