Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Another Summit, More Embarrassment

Trump's performance thus far is about what one expected.  Lots of focus on burden-sharing, not so much focus on what is NATO supposed to be doing.  I get riled up about all of this for so many reasons, but mainly because burden-sharing problems are inherent to alliances (see the classic econ literature) and the focus should be on doing the stuff that the alliance exists to do.  NATO was not formed to debate burden-sharing but to thwart the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union is gone, so NATO has other missions, other priorities, including denying Russia opportunities for faits accompli, countering terrorism (although not following Turkey's list of preferred targets), fighting piracy,  perhaps organizing responses to China's challenges, and building the capacities of states in Africa and the Mideast so that they don't generate refugees (good luck with that one).  That is a pretty full list, but the alliance truly is comatose (my take on Macron's brain death) as its traditional leader, the United States, lacks the capacity (State is gutted, OSD is gutted) to do the thinking, planning, and coordinating to set an agenda for the alliance.   Oh, and it is led by a guy who thinks that any deal that is not super-exploitative in his favor is "unfair" and "nasty."

The US lacks credibility thanks to the Uncertainty Engine-in-Chief.  Right now, I am worried that Trump will respond very emotionally to the video going around that has Trudeau, Johnson, Macron and someone else sharing stories and shock about Trump:

While it nicely illustrates the misaimed projection of Trump--he always complains that countries didn't take the US seriously under Obama, but instead, these leaders are contemptuous of Trump, it will cause Trump to have a tantrum.

I worry about what tomorrow will bring.  Don't you?

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