The media took a break from proclaiming Trump’s foreign policy failure to focus on emotionally charged words like insurrection and domestic terrorism. But despite popular perception and media talking points, NATO will change for the worse under a Biden administration.
When Democrats like Biden say they want to strengthen alliances and respect allies, what they really mean is that elites like John Kerry will go have fancy dinners with snooty elites like Emmanuel Macron. They will give pleasant sounding sound bites to reporters who then report in the news about a “successful” summit, but nothing gets done.
The prototypical example of this was seen in Brexit. For years upon years, multiple governments, elections, and resignations in Britain, they had those pleasant dinners and mellifluous conversations. I read the same nonstories about lack of agreement for years to the point I thought writers and leaders needed a thesaurus because “productive” and “progress” just didn’t apply anymore. After a period of time longer than the Trump administration, they managed to broker an agreement on the last day and almost literally the last minute. But the difference between nice sounding rhetoric and lack of productive action was palpable.
Under Trump, they didn’t have the same pleasant conversations. NATO leaders snickered about him behind his back on a hot mic, but they changed their behaviors. While the goal of 2% of their GDP on military spending was somewhat arbitrary, it was a definable and important metric. The German army, for example, was melting away from lack of spending on maintenance and acquiring new systems, so this should have been a priority for them as well. And it finally was under a Trump administration.
More importantly NATO will go on forgetting about Poland and give them the Trump treatment. Elites dismissed their real concerns in favor of press releases that say all the right things while doing nothing. Before World War II Poland relied on empty promises from the West, while their lack of defensible geography left them vulnerable to (Nazi) German attack. RAND Suggests the U.S. will lose the next potential war with Russia because they don’t have enough heavy assets in theater. The only heavy unit currently in theater would have to move from Poland to the Baltic States under heavy fire. But much like immigration and economic issues, elites ignore that valid concern. Thus, an American military base has a strong case. But NATO leaders said no, and worried it would antagonize Russia and likely interfere with those comfy state dinners and pleasant talks they like to have.
Trump’s style was grating but what attracted so many voters were his results that help the average person and put America first. American and European elites have become accustomed to the U.S. subsidizing European defense and were too afraid of rocking the boat to change it. Trump changed it. Elites are used to ignoring the concerns of Eastern Europeans, but Trump cared about Poland and the Baltics to the point that he was willing to put a base there. All we must do is look at the Brexit saga for the alternative, which took longer than the Trump presidency to complete some imperfect trade and customs deals. Contrary to the rhetoric we hear from elites, NATO will be worse without Trump.