He still misrepresents how NATO is funded, too.
I read about Donald Trump’s clear alignment with Russia over NATO Saturday evening on the Huffington Post. Given the political chattering class facination with the Hur report* (centered on two, count them, two file folders), the last thing I expected Sunday morning was this:
The pile-on is heartening.
- ABC News
- Al Jazeera
- Atlantic (Tom Nichols was faster than I expected)
- NBC News
- Rolling Stone
There is important context missing from those reports listed above: the domino effect should Trump be re-elected and then refuse to honor NATO. Also missing: any effort to contextualize Trump’s “misrepresentation” of the truth (aka lying).
However, no real surprise here: Associated Press ran with a both-sides hand winger (7:41 am ET) before joining the pile-on (09:54 am ET):
How does NATO funding work?
After World War II, western countries created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.’
NATO members contribute money to the organization, not to the U.S. Trump’s anecdote is propaganda. He implies NATO contributions come to the U.S. They don’t.
“NATO was busted until I came along,” [Trump] began. “I said, ‘Everybody’s going to pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’”
After 9-11, NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty for the first and only time in its history. The beneficiary: the United States of America.
NATO “engage[d] actively in the fight against terrorism, launch[ed] its first operations outside the Euro-Atlantic area and [began] a far-reaching transformation of its capabilities.”
The budget goal is 2% of each member’s GDP.
There is no penalty for not meeting the 2% target. Each country decides how much it is going to spend and what it will spend on. If one country spends less or more than the guideline, other countries are not obliged to follow suit.
Every story that I read quoted Trump alledging that NATO member countries “don’t pay their bills.” No one pointed out that Trump intentionally mispresents how NATO works (or else he learned nothing in four years). I did not see a “news” article that contextualized the Trump lie that NATO countries owe the U.S. money. Tom Nichols did so, colorfully, in his column in The Atlantic:
[Trump] is gripped by the stubbornly ignorant belief, even after four years in office, that NATO is some sort of protection racket, in which our European allies come to Washington like quivering shopkeepers and make an offering to the local mob boss from their weekly receipts. NATO funding doesn’t work that way, of course, and while European leaders no doubt had their arguments in private with Trump while he was president, it is highly unlikely that the leader of a major power “stood up”—as if in some sort of audience with Trump—to ask him if he’d stop a Russian invasion of a country “delinquent” in its accounts (emphasis added).
His analysis was an exception.
Another thing ignored: Trump’s fondness for Russia and Putin
When people show you who they are, believe them.
Oprah Winfrey, paraphrasing Maya Angelou
Trump’s criticism of NATO is not a new thing. We knew long before he got the nomination in 2016 that he didn’t like NATO and didn’t understand how it worked. We also knew he admired Putin.
“I was over in Moscow two years ago and I will tell you – you can get along with those people and get along with them well. You can make deals with those people. Obama can’t… I would be willing to bet I would have a great relationship with Putin. It’s about leadership (emphasis added).
Mr. Trump has a coherent and consistent worldview that dates back almost 30 years when he spent $95,000 on a full-page advertisement in the New York Times to publish an open letter to the American people on U.S. foreign policy… It appears in virtually every interview and speech he has given about world affairs since the 1980s.
Simply put, Mr. Trump thinks America’s allies and partners are ripping it off and he wants out of America’s leadership role in the international order. Over and over again, Mr. Trump has questioned why the United States. defends Japan, South Korea, Germany and other nations without being paid for it. Just this week, he promised to significantly diminish U.S. involvement in NATO and when asked if America “gained anything” from having bases in east Asia he replied “personally I don’t think so”. This is not about a more equitable share of the burden, which many have called for. Mr. Trump believes that the U.S. gains little from having allies unless it is paid handsomely paid by them (emphasis added).
August 2019: according to John Bolton’s after-the-election tell-all (maybe)
Bolton quotes Trump saying, “I don’t give a shit about NATO,” before ordering Vice President Mike Pence to call NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to tell him that NATO should pay Ukraine $250 million in assistance. Not only is this not how NATO’s finances work, but the reason for the request, Bolton relates, was that Trump didn’t want to negatively impact relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin by giving direct U.S.support for Ukraine (emphasis added).
By not calling out Trump’s misrepresentation of fact, and by not repeatedly reminding Americans of Trump’s fondness for Putin and the importance of NATO, American media extend a shameful record of unrepentant journalistic malpractice. Perhaps getting part the story is better than none. But the complete story is essential if we are to retain a democracy after November 5th.
Thirty-four pages of the report consist of appendices, describing what investigators found where. And because Hur spent 156 pages explaining why he didn’t indict Biden based on the actions of Senate staffers shipping 2,000 boxes of Speech and Debate protected documents first to the Archives and then the University of Delaware decades ago, there are descriptions of how virtually all of the documents got where they ended up (except, of course, the two folders of Afghanistan documents around which he builds the excuse to write a 388-page report).
But the overwhelming bulk of those remaining 85 or so uses of the word “diaries” describe Reagan’s (or in two cases, other Presidents’) diaries.
By contrast, there are 461 uses of the word “notebook” in Hur’s report. That’s the word Hur uses to refer to what he quotes people around Biden calling the President’s diaries.
Reagan had diaries. And as a result, when DOJ discovered them, they remained untouched.
Biden has notebooks. By calling these notebooks, Hur permitted himself to do with Biden’s most private thoughts what DOJ did not do with Reagan’s: review them all.
Robert Hur licensed himself to rifle through Joe Biden’s most personal thoughts by calling Biden’s stacks of paper “notebooks” rather than “diaries.” He then provided specific details about not just where to find the painful memories of his family struggles. But also one event that Trump has spent years trying to misrepresent.
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles. @kegill (Twitter and Mastodon.social); wiredpen.com