The Bully Goes To NATO 😱

Consider this:  you have a child who is cruel and a bully, the one who kicks sand in all the other children’s faces and shoves them off the swings.  Now, he is invited to a birthday party … not because anybody wants him there, but because the parents of the ‘birthday boy’ felt it was the right thing to do.  You understand all too well the dangers of your son attending the party, you realize he could spoil it not only for the ‘birthday boy’, but for every child in attendance.  Do you allow your son to go to the party, or do you do the right thing and keep him home, perhaps spend some time explaining why he isn’t being allowed to go?

We the People unfortunately have just such a bully, and later this month he will be attending an event that he seems prepared to ruin: the annual NATO summit.  Remember the last such event he attended, the G7 hosted by our close friend and ally, Justin Trudeau of Canada?  Remember how he insulted every one of the other 6 leaders there and demanded that Putin/Russia be allowed back into the group?  And remember how he insulted Trudeau after leaving the meeting, refusing to sign off on the joint communique?  Remember the 2017 NATO summit where he refused to endorse the collective defense clause and then … then in order to be first in front for a group photo, he shoved Dusko Markovic, the Prime Minister of Montenegro?

There is every reason to believe that this year’s NATO summit will turn into an even bigger disaster, for he has already laid the groundwork.  Last week Trump sent letters to eight of the 29 NATO members criticizing and threatening them for not yet having met the guidelines of defense spending.  Donald Trump has either no concept or an erroneous concept of how the NATO collective defense program works, and he sees his own role as being considerably larger than it is.

NATO is based on the principle of collective defense: an attack against one or more members is considered an attack against all. So far that has only been invoked once — in response to the September 11 attacks on the U.S. To make the idea work, it is important for all members to make sure their armed forces are in good shape. So NATO sets an official target on how much they should spend. That currently stands at 2% of GDP. The 2% target is described as a “guideline.” There is no penalty for not meeting it. It is up to each country to decide how much to spend and how to use the money.

A few things are worth noting:

  • Jens Stoltenberg is the Secretary General of NATO, not Donald Trump
  • The 2% target is a ‘guideline’. Many countries are not in a financial position to be able to spend 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on military, and at least one nation, Germany, has other reasons for not being able to spend 2%
  • The agreement was that member nations would work toward the goal of spending 2% of GDP on military/defense by 2024! This is only 2018
  • European members of NATO are spending more on defense than in the recent past. Most have increased spending as a share of GDP since 2014, and in economically difficult times
  • Nations do not pay this 2% to NATO and no nation owes any portion of it to the U.S.
  • Thus far, the U.S. has been the only nation to receive the benefits of this program

Trump is a bully, and the letter he sent to several nations was a thinly veiled threat.  Here is the letter he sent to Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada:NATO letter-Canada

He was also particularly contentious toward Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, that letter said to contain the harshest language of the eight letters, though I am unable to find a copy of the letter to Merkel.

Chancellor Merkel backs plans for Germany’s defense budget to eventually reach 2 percent of GDP. However, her Christian Democrats’ junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, are against massive defense spending increases and demand funds be used more efficiently.  I would note here that the U.S. Congress should also be demanding that our own funds be spent more judiciously, for we have a ridiculously and unnecessarily burdensome military budget, while we are cutting safety net programs for the poor, ignoring infrastructure needs, and making health care unaffordable to all but the wealthy.  Our own priorities are truly skewed, and Trump reminds me of a little boy playing with his army soldiers.NATO defense spendingNote that there are only five nations that are currently able to meet the 2% defense spending goal, yet Trump singled out our closest allies for his letter-writing campaign. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords, pulled out of the Iran deal, criticized our allies at the G7 summit, and harshly imposed unwarranted tariffs on our European allies, and now he is bullying them ahead of the NATO summit.  What could go wrong, eh?

“Why the president would find it necessary to send a letter like this in advance of the NATO summit is a mystery. It shows a lack of understanding … and sets the wrong tone in advance of an important summit in mid-July. This isn’t how you ‘prep’ for a NATO summit. Letters like this will only backfire.”  — Julie Smith, a Europe expert with the Center for a New American Security.

International relations are difficult at best when the parties involved have a full understanding of the issues.  Trump has no understanding and does not listen to those who do. He is a loose cannon and stands to do even further harm to our relations with our allies, making this nation far less safe than it has ever been perhaps since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. I do realize that nobody has the power to stop Trump from going to Brussels on July 11th, but I certainly wish there were a way to keep him home.  I’m thinking duct taping him to the potty?

 

70 thoughts on “The Bully Goes To NATO 😱

  1. I would like to see a greater grassroots protest focus on foreign policy debacles of Trump. It seems so many just give him a free pass on foreign policy as domestic crises take center stage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may have just given me an idea for a post later this week. The reason that most people just shrug their shoulders regarding foreign policy issues is, I think, two-fold: a) the vast majority do not understand international relations well enough to understand what he is doing, and b) domestic issues are more immediate, closer to home, to their own pocketbooks. Thanks for the idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Imagine no more Canada, England, European Union, Middle East, or even India or Japan. Imagine this world–The United States of the Americas, Russia stretching from Ireland to the Bering Sea, Israel from Capetown to the Himalayas, China from India to Japan. And the only free states left in the wold, Oceana, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Possibly some small enclaves scattered across the globe.
    Is thst the plan? It would not surprise me one bit!

    Liked by 2 people

    • If that is the plan … if there is, in fact, a master plan as some believe, then I am glad that I will not be around to see it. I have made my decision to return as a wolf. 🐺

      Like

          • I was looking to give you a better life, but if nobility is what you want, how about a dolphin. Sleek, fun-loving, and still quite noble. I myself would choose a penguin, preferably an Emporer. I used to spend hours watching them in the Vancouver zoo. Even in their captivity, they went on with their lives as only penguins can.
            Fortunately, they are no longer kept there, having been phased out peacefully.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t really think being crushed under someone’s boot is what I would call a ‘better life’. I just have a soft spot for wolves … always have. Dolphins are nice too, though. Penguins are fun … I love watching them, but not in a zoo. I’m glad they phased them out, assuming that they returned them to a natural habitat. I cannot think of many animals I don’t love … perhaps warthogs.

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              • Warthogs are grumpy, you gotta admire their stamina, kinda like the big guy on Sesame Street, which we never got to watch as children, probably thankfully.
                There are ugly animals, scary animals, frightful birds, and savage bugs, but they all get my respect and love. Viruses, on the other hand, I do have trouble with. They are living beings, but they almost always hurt me, and my body rushes to kill them even if “I” don’t. They are my one nemesis in my philosophy, but I try to love them anyway, even as they try to kill me.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Never having been up-close-and-personal with a warthog, I suppose I should not judge them. But I have to disagree with your take on Sesame Street! Though of course it wasn’t around when I was a kid, I watched my share of it when my own children were little, and I love that show!

                  You are the first person I’ve known who ‘tries to love viruses’. There are few critters I would willingly kill, but I have killed a few million viruses in my day … it was them or me!

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                  • I have had to take many anti-virals in my life, and I have been torn every time. But I am forced to look at the bigger picture, the lifespan of a virus is much shorter than mine, and were I to let the virus live, it could still be dead before I was. So I take the anti-virals anyway. But not without a silent apology to them.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • You know that I am a critter-lover, and wouldn’t kill any critter by choice, but I absolutely refuse to lose sleep over the death of something I cannot see, something that is trying to murder me in my sleep! I feel the same about bacteria, by the way … no empathy, no compassion.

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                    • Well, I certainly wish most were more compassionate toward all critters. Heck, it seems that these days people cannot even act with humanity toward their fellow-man, let alone a furry critter. We need more love and less hate, but neither of us are likely to convince the world of that. I’ll settle for getting them to just stop hurting and killing each other, but that ain’t gonna happen either.

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                    • One at a time, Jill, one at a time. Every one adds up. (Which reminds me, I think you owe me an email.) (And did you try that phone number today?)

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                    • Yes, I owe you two emails, I believe … I am behind again on everything including meals and breathing! As you can see, I’m behind on answering comments, behind on writing, behind on emails, behind on laundry …. aaarrggh. 😉 I do promise to answer your emails tomorrow . No, I haven’t tried the phone number yet.

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                    • Jill, you are not really behind on anything. I was just joshing you. But what you can do is what you can do, and don’t let anyone, including me, tell you diffrrent. You are not Superwoman, or Wonder Woman, even if you think you should be. Do what you can, and take satisfaction in that. There is no such things as “should” or “must.” There is only what you are capable of at any given time. You already do so much you make me wonder at your ability. There is no reason to push yourself to fulfill anyone’s idea or ideal of what you should be. You will be much less stressed when you accept that you are doing your best possible, because that changes every day, every hour. You are who you are, no one else. And all of us readers love you for being you.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Awwww … you make me smile. But wait … I’m … I’m not … SuperWoman??? Does this mean I cannot wear my cape anymore? 😥 Yes, I have always been one who takes on too much from time-to-time, and that won’t likely change, for you are not the first to tell me to slow down a bit. I just always know there is more that needs to be done and have to try. Eventually, the body says … “I’m going to sleep now”, and the mind follows, unwillingly.

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                    • Did I say, “Slow down?” I couldn’t find that. I think those words may have come out of your mind’s mouth, or maybe your spirit’s. I just said do what you can…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Nope, total opposite. What you do is what you can do. What you do not do is what you cannot do. Learning the difference cuts the stress of living at least in half. As I said, I do not want to hurt anyone intentionally, unfortunately I cannot control how a person reads my words, especially without tone and body language. Communicating by written word is not an easy task…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I agree that the lack of intonation and body language, facial expressions, inhibit complete understanding sometimes, but overall I find that I communicate better with the written word, for I can take time to think what I want to say. I struggle with face-to-face communication because I get flustered and end up reverting to my childhood habit of stuttering.

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                    • Hmmm, another thing we have in common, though I no longer stutter at all. But writing is much more leisurely than talking because you have more time to find the best words. But when I get impassioned I just write, then hopefully proofread before I publish. Some of my comments are pure hell to read, which prevents understanding. But I think I am learning…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I have mostly overcome my stuttering until I’m stressed. In my career life, as a comptroller, I had to report to the Board of Directors every month. I always got so nervous that I stuttered like Mel Tillis! One day, one of the Board members, Mark something-or-other, a Texan, took me aside and said, “Jill, honey, we’re just a bunch of old men who put their pants on the same as you do every morning. Don’t let us intimidate you, for we all just love you!” I still stuttered at every board meeting, but I thought it was really nice of him.

                      Sometimes I get impassioned and just let the words fly off my fingertips, but then I save the file and take a break, come back and edit it after a few hours have passed. Otherwise, my posts and emails would be filled with four-letter words and typos! 😀

                      Like

                    • The typos, okay. But what is wrong with expressing yourself with four-letter words? I mainly base my use of them on what other people do on their own blogs. In speech, I hold my tongue when talking to religious folk, or others I know who dislike the sound. But otherwise I find them very useful. Especially if I am put off by how I am being treated in a place of commerce, a few well-chosen words pronounced loudly will have a supervisor on manager in front of me in mere minutes if not less. It is fun to watch their expressions as they look to see how their customers are reacting. The more customers heading for the exits, the more I feel I will get the result I feel I should have gotten in the first place.
                      But I probably can’t swear as good as you, though. I have always found women to be much more expressive with their expletives-undeleted.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Well, I try to keep it out of my blog, except in very rare and prudent occasions, for I want my blog to be respectful and I don’t want to use foul language, thus encouraging others to do so also. Some of my readers are fairly religious, and some are also 4-years-old! Now, in person … that’s a whole ‘nother ball game, although I really do try to limit it even there. I find that once I let it get started, it can quickly get to be an every-other-word habit, and frankly, the girls don’t like it much, understandably. I have used the tactic in stores a time or two, but always end up feeling more ashamed of my own behaviour than anything else, so I try to be nice there, too. For me, the worst place is behind the steering wheel, for it is there that I have little or no patience with fools, road hogs and bad drivers. My middle finger gets quite a bit of wear and tear when I drive, especially within a city! 😀

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                    • Heh heh … yes, but you know what? I find that people take me more seriously, are more inclined to listen to what I say, if I leave the shouting and cussing out of the conversation. Just a thought … 😉

                      Like

    • Nationalist thinktanks in Russia working together with the Kremlin and inspired by Panslawist ideas of 19th century are aiming a Great-Russia from Sibiria till the Channel and North-Sea. Very disturbing perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, this is like watching a train wreck. These are unforced errors made by Donald J Trump, so we must not forget this. He is obligating companies and countries to seek other options, which may or may not include the US. Harley Davidson’s decision is not isolated. CEOs have told him not to do this.

    But, far worse than the inane tariffs is the impact of bullying of and lying to and about our allies. Relationships matter and to devalue them is a huge black eye.

    The GOP leadership is now abetting the global leadership demise of the US. Doing nothing but watch is frustrating. Trump has done many things to cause alarm, but to stand by and do nothing is malfeasance.

    The tariffs are now showing up in the economy and will continue. The other damage will last longer. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I feel exactly the same, as if I am watching a horrific train wreck about to happen and can do nothing but stand by and watch … I cannot even scream loud enough to be heard!

      Yes, our relationships with our allies are so very important, and he is in the process of destroying them. Who does he think will come to our rescue if DPRK decides to lob a nuke one of these days? Putin or Duterte? And does he honestly think we don’t need global trading partners, that we can manufacture or grow every single thing we need at a modest cost?

      My question is this: Is he just a fool, or is he an evil man bent on destroying the planet? Yes, we will see the effects of those tariffs in spades! And those jobs numbers he’s been bragging about? Watch the unemployment rate begin creeping up, probably within the next two months. And the economy? The stock market? Sigh. What can we do? We can VOTE in November!!! We must have a Congress willing to put the brakes on this train!!!

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      • Jill, the US Chamber of Commerce announced they will be running data driven public relations campaigns projecting the impact of the tariffs state-by-state. Even the GOP funding Koch brothers are active against the tariffs.

        The Dow is down 1.5% for the year, but has been acting like a drunken sailor the last three months going up some, but down more, with the “will he or won’t he?” debate.

        With your accounting background, you will likely appreciate my observation in working with CFOs. They like predictibility in cost moreso than less cost. This exercise has caused chaos as companies have sought more stable markets. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s almost like Trump wants another war but he won’t be with the same allies as before, he sees us as weak. We will be the foe and his new allies will be the strong men of the World, Putin, Erdogan and, Netanyahu whose people already sit up and take notice when they speak.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Another impending disaster for America, actually it will most likely end up as two. First stop, trash NATO. Second stop, playtime with his buddy Putin. The outcomes of both will impact the USA in ways that we will wish never happened. It appears that we are well on our way to having former allies. Thank-you!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, I have to wonder whether his goal is an all-out war, or to turn the U.S. into a third-world country. He panders to and parties with the autocrats, the “strongmen”, while casting aside our long-term friends. He must be stopped, else I predict that by this time next year, we will not recognize our country. Our allies have been patient thus far, but there are limits. Trump is naught but a bully. His supporters must be so proud … grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It IS particularly disgusting … and a very dangerous game he is playing, for he doesn’t seem to understand, nor care about, the rules, the way things work. His supporters are most to blame, for they do not understand either, and their continued support is what keeps Congress from taking action to stop him.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Regrettably as the president of the USA he has to be invited. That can’t be avoided.
    However the world has and is changing a great deal and the Cold War mentality of needing America is not written in stone.
    Therefore European states as one bloc or a variety of blocs could make other accommodations; this means in turn the USA will not be able to rely upon the unified tacit support in the world political, which in turn will lead to a corrosion of trust and compatibility in other areas.
    Therefore a president has to carry out a great deal of selling, convincing, hand-reaching, deal-making with all sorts of folk for all sorts of reasons.
    Any mature, intelligent open minded person in such a position could see that

    Liked by 4 people

    • Quite so, Roger, and unfortunately Trump’s “loyal supporters” do not understand how important our alliances are, and as long as they are supporting him, Congress will give him free rein to do as he wishes. Having a leader who cannot comprehend any of this is as dangerous as having no leader at all. I thought that Congress might have reined him in before it came to this point, but his lemmings are still cheering, so Congress is still looking the other way. I truly fear the damage he will do this month, especially now that his top advisors are warmongers. We do not have that ‘intelligent, open-minded’ person you speak of … we have only the Idiot in Chief. Sigh.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sheila is the poet and reader of poetry in our house, however occasionally some are so bright as to pick up on my murky radar. Such as:
        The Second Coming
        By Y B Yeates

        “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

        Surely some revelation is at hand;
        Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
        The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
        When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
        Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
        A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
        A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
        Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
        Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
        The darkness drops again; but now I know
        That twenty centuries of stony sleep
        Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
        And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

        Liked by 1 person

        • I had to read this one several times, step away and ponder, do a bit of research, in order to understand the second part, for I am challenged with poetry, have a mental block that keeps me from being able to understand it easily or write it. But from what I can gather, the slouching beast turned out to be Hitler? I may still be confused … not the fault of Yeats, but of my own mind. 🤔 🤔 🤔

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yates wrote the poem in the aftermath of WWI in the atmosphere of strident nationalisms, repressive govt and general betrayal of people by revolutions.
            Whereas we think of the Second Coming as Christ returning in Yates poem the second coming is one manufactured by the idiocy of Humanity giving way to fear, spite, hate and so forth.
            As you will know Jill from the loathsome filth spouted out about spiritual renewal by the dangerous religious extremists and racists where that is going to end.
            That’s how I felt about it
            https://wordpress.com/post/heroicallybadwriters.com/6008

            Liked by 1 person

            • Okay … I am beginning to understand it now. Sorry if I seem obtuse, for some reason I just wasn’t clear what Yeats was trying to say. The link you included didn’t work … can you try again? And now most importantly, are you all packed and ready to leave on your holiday? When are you leaving again … I’ve forgotten … I am getting senile!!! 👵

              Liked by 1 person

    • You are quite right, and I believe Donald Tusk said much the same thing a couple of months ago. He abuses his friends and panders to our antagonists. My only thought is that he strives to become a dictator … I thought that even before he was elected. Yes, Putin and Netanyahu are both beaming with joy these days.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I have to agree with you 100%. His actions and his words have reached far beyond the boundaries of the U.S., and for this we are ashamed. I believe he has set civility back hundreds of years in a short 17 months, and undone decades of work toward global peace. 😥

          Liked by 2 people

          • You must not be ashamed because you have not elected him. We have little Trumps actually in Poland, Hungary, Austria. Czech Republic, Turkey and now also in Italy. They all have something in common: their thinking originates from the 19th century or even much earlier. For me a very strange and dangerous development.

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            • No, I did not vote for him, but still, I feel responsible for the atrocities that I see being committed by our government, especially toward our allies, your own Angela Merkel, as well as Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

              Yes, I have taken note of some of your ‘mini-Trumps’, such as Geert Wilders and Norbert Hofer. I was pleased to see that the Austrians had better sense and did not elect Hofer. I thought perhaps they looked across the pond, saw what a great mess we had made of things, and didn’t want to follow our lead. 😉

              Yes, I am concerned with this ‘populist’ movement across the globe, and I look for it to grow rather than diminish. Let us hope cooler heads prevail.

              Liked by 1 person

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