Meanwhile, in the world ...
|Trouble in paradise
I haven't heard much about this story, so it's worth at least putting out there:
EMMANUEL MACRON, the French president, has warned European countries that they can no longer rely on America to defend NATO allies. “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Mr Macron declares in a blunt interview with The Economist. Europe stands on “the edge of a precipice”, he says, and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power; otherwise we will “no longer be in control of our destiny.”
Trump has made it very clear from the time he started running that he thinks NATO is "obsolete", although his reasoning is as simple-minded and puerile as usual: "they don't pay their dues." I don't have a strong opinion on NATO and I confess that up until the last few years, I would have thought it was probably time to rethink an alliance that was formed to fight the Soviet Union during the cold war. But since Russia has made aggressive moves recently and is a nuclear power, not to mention making this monster in the White House president for their own purposes, this doesn't seem like a good idea, at least not without some kind of replacement alliance.
During the hour-long interview, conducted in his gilt-decorated office at the Elysée Palace in Paris on October 21st, the president argues that it is high time for Europe to “wake up”. He was asked whether he believed in the effectiveness of Article Five, the idea that if one NATO member is attacked all would come to its aid, which many analysts think underpins the alliance's deterrent effect. “I don't know,” he replies, “but what will Article Five mean tomorrow?”
Even more importantly, I think international cooperative institutions are a good thing especially now since we have a global challenge unlike anything we've ever faced with climate change. Trump, of course, thinks all international organizations are anathema to US interests because he's a moron. His ignorant worldview has disrupted what little we had in the way of institutions to greet this existential challenge to our planet and likely made it much, much more difficult to build new ones after having destroyed what little goodwill there was for US leadership after the Iraq debacle.
Angela Merkel took issue with Macron's characterization, saying the alliance is as strong as ever, but you get the feeling that they are playing good cop-bad cop in advance of the NATO Summit next month. Macron is much more of a Trump favorite than Merkel so it makes sense that he would be the one to come out swinging and let her take the conciliatory side. It's pathetic that they have to play these games to appease the toddler in the White House but that's where we are.
Scary times ...