With the election of Donald Trump, many in Europe are nervous about his plan to make NATO members pay for their own defense programs. The question is not whether they can do it, because clearly they can, but how they will afford it.
Witness the cunning strategy that Trump has employed against the socialist welfare state by removing the bulk of contributions to its defense:
“As a result of the election of Donald Trump, we are experiencing a moment of extreme and unprecedented uncertainty in the trans-Atlantic relationship,” says Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador in Washington and head of the influential Munich Security Conference. During the election campaign, Trump had questioned the cornerstone of NATO, the mutual defense commitment under Article 5. Washington’s NATO allies could only expect support, he said, if they’ve “paid their bills.”
When Europe must pay for its own defense, it will require far more money than it currently has, and the only sacred cow that it can sacrifice are the generous social welfare benefits that attract migrants to Europe and make Europeans into committed Socialists.
Europe has for years looked down its nose at America for our lack of a Socialist “safety net” including single-payer healthcare, free university education, welfare and anti-poverty benefits. They have been able to afford these by offloading their military costs to the United States.
In the US, where entitlement programs already make up over half of our budget and we have spent ourselves into a $20 trillion dollar debt hole, the effects of paying for European security have been widely felt. Much of the cost of defense in America amounts to an off-the-books subsidy of Europe, and its governments have spent that money on entitlements for their own citizens.
At this point, entitlements are already in trouble in Europe. They attract economic migrants from violent nations who want the free benefits, and these migrants seem to bring the violence with them. They also seem to have made Europe a sluggard state like the former Soviet Union, where clocking in and doing little is a way of life.
The Trump plan will end the European addiction to Socialist-style welfare. It comes at a time when the American military, reeling from unending warfare and a lagging technological edge due to Russian and Chinese cloning of our technology, desperately needs re-investment.
With NATO states paying the full bill for their own defense, Europe will be forced to question its priorities. In the meantime, the American military — especially if it loses the Obama-era “rainbow army” policies — will grow stronger through its new technology and restored infrastructure. This will benefit Europe if a conflict should arise and the Americans become involved.
Currently Europeans are in shock over the reduction in the UK military which has pared itself down to the point of being unable to afford a navy of decent size or an active military presence. This has happened because the UK is struggling to fund its own massive Socialist-style welfare state, including under the weight of immigrants hoping to cash in on these unearned benefits.
Domestically, this will also have ripple effects. As Europe limits or dismantles its social welfare programs as this budgetary shift will force it to do, the idea of these programs as a sign of “progress” will wither as well, allowing the United States to reconsider the trillions of dollars it dumps into its own “Great Society” and “New Deal” legacy programs.
Often cause and effect do not resemble each other. If one sees Socialist style programs as a symptom of countries with too much money where the politicians then decide to buy votes, then the question becomes one of why these countries have extra money. Having the bulk of their defense outsourced for free enables them.
After a long swing into Leftist ideals, the West is slowly awakening to the disaster these have created. Our economies, rendered impotent by welfare benefits, unions and regulations are cratering. Our social order has collapsed. It is no longer fun to live here, and we stick it out for high salaries that buy less and less.
With the shift toward realism, the West will begin looking at essentials instead of virtue-signaling gifts given to citizens. This puts us on focus away from Leftism, which by not being reality-based is nothing more than elaborate conjecture, and on the path to excellence again.