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Thread by @brianklaas: "1. Trump’s attacks on NATO are rife with contradictions and are likely to backfire in serious ways. Countering Russia is a core mandate of N […]"

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1. Trump’s attacks on NATO are rife with contradictions and are likely to backfire in serious ways. Countering Russia is a core mandate of NATO; how can Trump say that Russia is “fine” and downplay the threat while calling for NATO members to more than double defense spending?
2. Trump simultaneously boasts about how the US military budget he signed is the biggest ever (it’s not; that’s a lie) but how can he boast about US military spending rising while tweeting that the US should spend less on the military? Makes no sense. He’s contradicting himself.
3. Spending targets are abitrary. Why 2%? Why not 2.1% or 1.9%? Untargeted spending increases could be wasteful and ineffective, adding bloat without adding any strategic value. That rarely gets mentioned but is actually very important. How the money is spent is crucial.
4. The biggest challenges of 21st century warfare & security don’t only require bigger and more expensive standing armies. Yes, Europe should spend more. But counterinsurgency & counterterrorism aren’t failing for lack of troops; they use special forces, drones, etc.
5. Trump is bullying NATO allies without any sense of political & historical legacies of military spending in Europe. It’s counterproductive—makes it harder for European politicians to actually deliver because caving to Trump makes them look weak and hurts them politically.
6. Trump is already politically toxic in Europe & some Europeans wrongly think Trump = America. These latest insulting, incendiary comments will embolden and empower anti-American politicians throughout Europe over time. That’s way more important than 0.1% increases in spending.
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