Transatlantic Ties
Trump’s European Misstep

The European Union is taking a more active role in its own defense, and the Trump Administration should be jumping for joy. Why isn’t it?

Published on: February 12, 2018
Erik Brattberg is director of the Europe program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC.
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  • D4x
    President Donald J. and First Lady Melania Trump with President Macron. Paris, France, July 14, 2017, “[…]a double celebration marking 100 years since the United States entered World War One and France’s annual Bastille Day holiday. […]

    At the parade, the two heads of state sat together in a stand applauding, pointing and touching each other on the arm as military aircraft flew overhead. Trump saluted as U.S. military personnel – some in World War One battledress – opened the march-past with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

    “Mr. Trump’s presence at my side is a sign of an enduring friendship and I want to thank him,” Macron said in a speech afterwards. “Nothing can ever separate us… I want to thank America for the choice made a hundred years ago”

    By the end of the 1914-1918 war, more than a million U.S. troops were stationed in France alongside soldiers of French, British and other nationalities fighting Germany.

    One marching group evoked another military landmark of Franco-American history, carrying a pennant marked “Fregate Lafayette”, a frigate of the French navy named after the 18th century French aristocrat general Marquis de Lafayette, who helped in the American Revolutionary War against the British.[…] ”

  • QET

    Both documents make clear that the U.S. “expects” European allies to fulfill their defense spending commitments, but thankfully avoid the mistake of conditioning U.S. support upon said fulfillment.

    Paging Mancur Olson!!

    Also, only a think-tanker could attribute substance to mere announcements by a bureaucracy that they intend to seriously study the problem. Here is the actual substance, from a report last week: Over the past several months, the entirety of Germany’s submarine fleet has gone out of action, the Bundeswehr, its armed forces, has outsourced helicopter training to a private company because its own helicopters are in need of repair, and more than half of the Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2 tanks, its most common model, were out of order, with just 95 of 244 in service. . . .In spring 2017, the Bundeswehr contingent deployed to a peacekeeping mission in Mali was left hamstrung when heat, dust, and rough terrain knocked half its vehicles out of commission. In early 2016, it was reported that German reconnaissance jets taking part in the fight against ISIS couldn’t fly at night because their cockpit lighting was too bright for pilots.. . .In early 2015, as Berlin was preparing to send fighter jets to Syria, a military report emerged saying that only 66 of the air force’s 93 commissioned fighters were operational — and only 29 were combat-ready. In 2014, German troops tried to disguise a shortage of weapons by replacing machine guns with broomsticks during a NATO exercise. (

    Although I would like to hear what KremlinKryptonite and Anonymouss Soldier have to say about it.

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  • Fat_Man

    “but thankfully avoid the mistake of conditioning U.S. support upon said fulfillment.”

    It is a mistake from the view point of American tax payers to not impose the most stringent conditions upon the Euro-freeloaders. Explain to me why we should pay taxes so they can keep everyone on welfare. We cannot want to defend them more than they want to defend themselves.

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      • Fat_Man

        Most intelligent reply I have ever had to a comment.

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