May 26th, 2017

The spin on Trump and NATO

The headlines have been uniformly negative on Trump’s speech about NATO. It’s as though the MSM is relieved, after Trump’s successful Saudi speech, to have really bad things to say about him (not that they didn’t have bad things to say about his Saudi speech, too).

And although I don’t trust the MSM to fairly report things, when I saw that the Wall Street Journal’s headline for its editorial was similarly negative, I figured Trump really had made a terrible speech to NATO. The WSJ editorial was entitled “Trump Sells Out NATO!” But the subtitle read: “Well, no, but a Trump speech triggers another overwrought uproar.”

Aha, the WSJ being cute. I wonder how many people failed to read past the headline, though.


Donald Trump creates many of his own problems, but sometimes he can’t win no matter what he does. Consider the uproar on Thursday because the President supposedly did not explicitly endorse NATO’s Article 5 commitment that an attack on one ally is an attack on all…

Here is what Mr. Trump said in the third paragraph of his speech: “This ceremony is a day for both remembrance and resolve. We remember and mourn those nearly 3,000 innocent people who were brutally murdered by terrorists on September 11, 2001. Our NATO allies responded swiftly and decisively, invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective defensive commitments.”…

…[L]et’s see: By speaking at an event commemorating Article 5, and explicitly citing and praising Article 5’s invocation on 9/11, Mr. Trump was really trying to send a message that he doesn’t believe in Article 5? Who knew Mr. Trump was capable of such messaging subtlety?…

It’s fair to whack Mr. Trump if he indulges his many bad instincts, but it serves no one other than Vladimir Putin to suggest without evidence that the U.S. won’t honor its NATO commitments—or to drive a wedge between allies simply to make Mr. Trump look bad.

Good luck with getting that message across to your MSM colleagues, WSJ editors. Not going to happen.

Most of the MSM is devoted to the approach of trying to make Trump look bad no matter what . But I think the press continues to risk having it backfire, because a great many (perhaps an ever-increasing number?) people now automatically discount what the MSM writes.

15 Responses to “The spin on Trump and NATO”

  1. Fred Says:

    Let live in Peace please

  2. Yancey Ward Says:

    If Trump said the sky is blue, the NYTimes would take the opposite position, or claim that Trump said the sky was pink.

  3. parker Says:

    Shaming NATO members which do not spend the required 2% of GDP on their own defense was long over due. I also believe NATO in a hot war with the various jihad organizations and should act like it.

  4. John Guilfoyle Says:

    “…people now automatically discount what the MSM writes.”

    Absolutely…even if they have video.

  5. J.J. Says:

    NATO is not the wonderful, cozy alliance that many have claimed it to be. Back in the beginning – 1949-1966 – when invasion by the USSR was considered to be most likely, most members did their level best to pay their share and be prepared. In 1966, when de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO, the Europeans were all thinking that the U.S. was entirely too warlike. (We were in Vietnam and they did not approve.) France wanted more freedom of action as they had developed nuclear weapons, which they felt gave them security and independence from the Yanks who, in de Gaulle’s opinion, always seemed to be spoiling for a fight. As the likelihood of war with the USSR and then Russia faded, many of the member countries lost their enthusiasm for military spending. (An attitude much admired by U.S. progressives.) The U.S. has kept NATO afloat during those years. Clinton, Bush, and Obama all asked that the lagging members pay their fair share with no luck. An aggressive Putin doesn’t seem to get their attention. Maybe shaming them will get some results.

  6. John F. MacMichael Says:

    If Trump’s blunt speaking on this issue prods the Europeans into taking their responsibilities to provide for their own defense more seriously it will be a major achievement. I have been following military affairs (in a strictly amateur capacity) for upwards of 30 years. In all this time complaints from Americans that the European members of NATO were not doing enough to meet their responsibilities to the alliance were ongoing. One response to these American complaints from Europeans and Europhilic circles in the US that I saw repeatedly was that they failed to take into account the contribution that frontline states like West Germany were making by hosting large foreign military bases (American and others) and permitting NATO forces to conduct training maneuvers on their territory. I was always baffled by this argument. My answer to it would have run something like this: “How does that fact that your lives, freedom, independence and prosperity are all immediately at risk in the case of war and American troops are stationed on your land to defend you become reasons for your doing less to defend yourself?”

  7. expat Says:

    It’s not just the money. All too many people in Europe want the Americans to do the dirty work while they preen about their superior pacifism. Remember, Helmut Schmidt lost the chancellorship because he pushed Carter to station missiles on Germany’s Eastern border to counter the missiles Russia was setting up. When Reagan did stand up to the Russians, the German do-gooders protested like crazy.

  8. Frog Says:

    You missed the WSJ’s remarks about Nicholas Burns:
    “Nicholas Burns, a Harvard professor and beating heart of the U.S. diplomatic establishment, followed Mr. Trump’s speech with a Twitter barrage that included: “Every US President since Truman has pledged support for Article 5—that US will defend Europe. Not so Trump today at #NATO. Major mistake.” The herd of independent media minds then stampeded….”
    Of course Trump supported Article 5 in his speech!

    Burns is at the Kennedy School now, turning out other diplomat weasels. When in (Democratic) public office at DOS, I never heard an utterance of his that made any sense whatsoever..

  9. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    Poor Mr. Trump is not going to be allowed a fair deal.

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Did Trump forget to mention Art 5? Did he not think it important? Did he think it went without saying that Art 5 is GREAT?
    Or was he threatening the freeloaders>

  11. The Other Chuck Says:

    As much as I’ve not been a Trump advocate I now find myself reflexively supporting him because of the concerted MSM attacks. I still think he was a lousy choice but he’s what we’ve got. The more they unfairly hammer him the more they push people like me to his defense.

  12. Dave Says:

    Since the msm always take the complete opposite position of the president I hope someday president trump would call obama the greatest US president ever,it is only then I believe we would see a more accurate portrait of Obama in the msm.

  13. Big Maq Says:

    Again, the msm overplay it.

    But there is a point to be said about how trump handled the question on 2% contribution…

    Not sure what trump thought he might achieve by public “shaming”, and framing of it as if some backlog of dues are in default.

    It may play well at home in the US, but will it make those leaders move one iota?

    Probably not, as their constituency at home don’t want their leaders to look like they can be made to kow tow to trump.

    If there were behind the door negotiations (I sure hope there was, but who knows?), which would be much more effective, something like this just makes it that much more politically harder for those leaders to move forward.

    So, yes, the msm is over hyping the issue, but trump made some bold statements during his campaign questioning the need for NATO, which he has yet to recover from – just making nice statements in the other direction later doesn’t gain one credibility – remember the mutability issue?

    After all, what’s the implied “or else?” on this public “shaming”?

    Like many things with trump, there is what he says, and then there is what he does.

    We’ll see.

  14. J.J. Says:

    Big Maq,: “If there were behind the door negotiations (I sure hope there was, but who knows?), which would be much more effective, something like this just makes it that much more politically harder for those leaders to move forward.”

    Clinton, Bush and Obama all had those “behind the door negotiations,” all to no effect. Asking your dead beat cousin to repay the loan you gave him in private doesn’t have quite the effect as openly asking him at a family gathering. Nothing may dislodge them from their mindset that they don’t want to do their part, but we won’t know until shaming has at least been tried.

  15. Bill Says:

    All the President’s men have rushed to reassure our allies that although President Trump did not invoke the magic words “Article 5,” he meant it. And looked at in a certain light, there were lines in Trump’s speech that do convey the sentiment. But delivered in a snarling way, couched among demands for repayment, there is no escaping that the leader of the Free World alienated much of the Free World yesterday. Judging by the body language of his counterparts, Donald Trump did not have a friend among the 27 other heads of government that are our country’s closest friends and most able supporters in the world.

    The French President veered out of his path to embrace the German Chancellor at the other side of the crowd. The more disciplined of Europe’s leaders scowled as he spoke; the less disciplined whispered to each other. President Trump appears to have shoved aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro—the alliance’s newest member, its leader attending his inaugural NATO meeting—to get into the middle of the picture. When the formalities were over, no one spoke to the head of NATO’s leading state, none jostled to be near him.

    President Trump acts as though boorish behavior has no consequences, as though other countries have no choice but to comply with American demands. This misconception may be his biggest foreign policy mistake.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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