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'Pay Up You NATO Deadbeats or Else!'
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`We are the schmucks’ thundered President Donald Trump, using a favorite New York City Yiddish term for penis. The object of Trump’s wrath at his Make America Great Again’ rally in Great Falls, Montana was the craven, stingy European members of NATO, only 16 of 22 members are on budget for their US-commanded military spending. Trump wants them to spend much more.

Trump and his fellow neocons want NATO to serve as a sort of US foreign legion in Third World wars in Africa and Asia. NATO was formed as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to defend western Europe, not to fight in Afghanistan and who knows where else?

Equally bad, according to Trump, is that the US runs a whopping trade deficit with the European Union which is busy shipping high-end cars and fine wines to the US. The wicked foreigners don’t buy enough Amerian bourbon, corn and terribly abused pigs.

Trump is quite right that America’s NATO allies, particularly Germany and Canada, don’t spend enough on defense. Germany is reported to have less than twenty operational tanks. Canada’s armed forces appear to be smaller than the New York City police department.

But the Europeans ask, ‘defense against whom?’ The Soviet Union was a huge threat back in the Cold War when the mighty Red Army had 55,000 tanks pointed West. Today, Russia’s land and navel power has evaporated. Russia has perhaps 5,500 main battle tanks in active service and a similar number in storage, a far cry from its armored juggernaut of the Cold War.

More important, Russia’s military budget for 2018 was only $61 billion, actually down 17% from last year. That’s 4.3% of GDP. Russia is facing hard economic times. Russia has slipped to third place in military spending after the US, China and Saudi Arabia. The US and its wealthy allies account for two thirds of world military spending. In fact, the US total military budget (including for nuclear weapons and foreign wars) is about $1 trillion, 50% of total US government discretionary spending.

In addition, Russia must defend a vast territory from the Baltic to the Pacific. The US is fortunate in having Mexico and Canada as neighbors. Russia has North Korea, China, India, the Mideast and NATO to watch. As with its naval forces, Russia’s armies are too far apart to lend one another mutual support. Two vulnerable rail lines are Russia’s main land link between European Russia and its Pacific Far East.

Trump’s supplemental military budget boost this year of $54 billion is almost as large as Russia’s entire 2018 military budget. As for Trump’s claim that Europe is not paying its fair share of NATO expenses, note that that Britain and France combined together spend more on their military forces than Russia.


In Europe, it’s hard to find many people who still consider Russia a serious threat except for some tipsy Danes, right wing Swedes, and assorted Russophobic East Europeans. The main fear of Russia seems concentrated in the minds of American neoconservatives, media, and rural Trump supporters, all victims of the bizarre anti-Russian hysteria that has gripped the US.

Equally important, most civilians don’t understand that neither US and NATO forces nor Russia’s military are in any shape to fight war that lasts more than a few days. Both sides lack munitions, spare parts, lubricants, and battlefield equipment. The overworked US Air Force, busy plastering Muslim nations, has actually run low on bombs. US industry can’t seems to keep up supplies. There has even been talk of buying explosives from China!

These essentials of war have been seriously neglected in favor of buying fancy weapons. But such weapons need spares, electronics, fuel depots, missiles and thousands of essential parts. As former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld observed, ‘you go to war with what you have.’ Neither side has enough. A war would likely peter out in days after supplies were exhausted. Besides, no side can afford to replace $100 million jet fighters or $5 million apiece tanks after a war, however brief.

President Trump has learned about war from Fox TV. Europeans have learned from real experience and don’t want any more.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Russia 
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  1. The last time the US put troops into action in North Korea, China lashed out and drove us back South. In retaliation we dropped more tonnage of bombs and napalm on the North than was used in the entire Pacific War. 
    Why would anyone think the same thing cannot happen again?

  2. anon[146] • Disclaimer says:

    America should just leave the Korean peninsula.

  3. bob sykes says:

    The Pompeo mission seems to have made matters worse. North Korea is implying it will withdraw from the negotiations.

    Kim wants guaranteed security for himself, his family, his regime and North Korea. China and Russia will have to be the guarantors; the US cannot be trusted.

    Kim may well give up the nukes and missiles (assuming he has the authority), but he will require reimbursement for the monies and resources spent. We will have to buy them with cash or real goods, say electric power stations and a transmission grid, roads and railroads, … The cost could approach $1 trillion, but that would be cheap compared to Korean War II.

  4. Giuseppe says:

    In fact, the US total military budget (including for nuclear weapons and foreign wars) is about $1 trillion, 50% of total US government discretionary spending.

    Disband NATO already. The USSR is gone and Russia has no revanchist plans. Our military spending on the defense of Europe only frees their budgets for social programs like medical care and college education.

    And what have we gotten for spending the nation’s wealth on blowing up the Greater Middle East, killing a million plus civilians and displacing millions more? Rusting cities, crumbling infrastructure, a school system that can’t compete with even that of India…American Exceptionalism indeed. Exceptionally deluded.

  5. At this point NATO is the muscle for projecting and maintaining Western (read US) hegemony.
    It’s activities are a threat to sovereign nations that refuse to be Washington’s vassals. So they react with self-defensive postures and programs that NATO can claim are “aggression” in order to justify its own existence.

  6. Trump’s supplemental military budget boost this year of $54 billion is almost as large as Russia’s entire 2018 military budget.

    It is not, since the ratio of “bang for the buck” between Russia and the US is grossly not in favor of the US. Here is Marine Corps Captain Joshua Waddle:

    “Judging military capability by the metric of defense expenditures is a false equivalency. All that matters are raw, quantifiable capabilities and measures of effectiveness. For example: a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier that can be bested by a few million dollars in the form of a swarming missile barrage or a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of rendering its flight deck unusable does not retain its dollar value in real terms. Neither does the M1A1 tank, which is defeated by $20 worth of household items and scrap metal rendered into an explosively-formed projectile. The Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization has a library full of examples like these, and that is without touching the weaponized return on investment in terms of industrial output and capability development currently being employed by our conventional adversaries.”

    Actual military capability and nominal pure dollar-expressed military budgets are not directly related.

    Russia’s armies are too far apart to lend one another mutual support. Two vulnerable rail lines are Russia’s main land link between European Russia and its Pacific Far East.

    This was even more the case during Soviet times (that is why construction of BAM was initiated) when USSR had very real issues with China. One of the ways of dealing with it is predeployment of storage facilities (Bazy Hranenia) on strategic directions. 250 Il-76 and 27 An-124 military, not to speak of massive number of An-12 and An-26 transport aircraft plus, in case of war, all civil aviation aircraft, is significant enough mobility asset to move personnel of roughly one full ground army between two theaters within 24-48 hour period. I omit here specifics of mobilization.

    • Replies: @eric
  7. Marcus says:

    What’s “neocon” about letting Europeans know that if they want to maintain NATO they can’t be freeloaders anymore. Margolis needs to retire.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  8. A war would peter out due to lack of supplies in a few days? Unlikely.

    Escalation to nuclear weapons is much more likely. Indeed, it would be a near certainty.

  9. eric says:

    NATO is the NWO army to do what the United Nations peace keeping forces refuse to do . I was hoping Trump was trying to finish off NATO by asking other countries to pay their fair share . What we are talking about is a world government with a world Army . Trump leaves me confused on where he really stands on this issue A better funded NATO would be more money for more wars in more places . I thought Trump wanted us in less wars in so not many places . I would rather have Trump cut our contribution to NATO than increase everybody elses NATO contribution . Trump called the global climate change funding right by taking the United States out . This global warming tax was to finance our global government . Trump is not a well enough read man to even know which side of globalism he is on . Trump seems to react with instincts and his instincts seem to be fairly good . So sooner or later he gets on the right side of most issues

  10. eric says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    You sure got bang for buck right Russia our strongest opposition spent 50 billion last year and now cut it it to 40 billion . because they have great confidence in their missiles to be able to get threw any defense the USA might have . Russia’s fighter planes are still just as good as ours While we plan on spending 650 billion to 700 billion . Our forces are not defense forces we have offensive policing forces which must be a lot more expensive

  11. The US wants NATO not Europe. The US has always stuffed teh smaller counties mouths with gold to buy their votes (and equipment contracts). The Baltics don’t need Article 5. They need to be hard enough to keep their infantry in place in a very large conventional attack. NATO isn’t a great vehicle for that. Whatever Russian grumblings to the contrary (the House of Lords identified 6 promises not ot expand Est and they were kept while the office holders were in place), NATO was extremely restrained going East. There were political sign ups but real NATO troops stayed in Germany. It is only since Russia’s provocations in Ukraine, not even Georgia, that real training and re-equipment has been on the agenda, far less the deployment of core NATO troops even in minute numbers. The paper tiger is turning real and Russia worked the magic.

    That said, NATO is the wrong mechanism. The Intermarium contries can put together strong enough forces to stop another Donbass. (Sebastapol was unique).

  12. @Marcus

    Europeans do not want to be “freeloaders” to protection racketeers.

    Pack up and begone.

    • Replies: @Marcus
  13. Marcus says:

    If they really want that, they should leave NATO lmao. And what kind of protection racket still provides its services after years of non-payment?

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