By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
President Trump has ordered the NATO countries to increase their arms spending. The reasons for his insistence on doing so are becoming increasingly clear. It has nothing to do with any defense logic. After all, the Secretary-General of the US-NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has admitted that “we do not see any imminent threat against a NATO ally”. Also, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recorded in its 2018 World Report that “at $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20% lower than in 2016”.
Radio Free Europe, the US government’s anti-Russian station, reports repeatedly that Russia has reduced its defense spending.
It has been proven that Russia poses no threat to any NATO country. But even this is considered irrelevant in the context that US arms sales are flourishing and those who carry it out are being encouraged to increase and multiply their business.
On July 12, the second and final day of the recent meeting between the United States and NATO, the British news agency Reuters issued a categorical statement with a clear promotional orientation from Trump: “The United States produces by far the best military equipment in the world: the best planes, the best missiles, the best weapons, the best of all.”
The president then listed by name the major U.S. arms manufacturers: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman.
Trump proudly stated at the NATO conference that the United States has many rich countries as customers, “but we also have some not-so-rich countries and they ask me if they can buy US military equipment and if we can help them, and we tell them that we will help them a little. He added that “poorer countries that want to buy U.S. arms may not have to put cash into their purchases.
That single statement raised the prices of the shares of the three arms manufacturers named by Donald Trump and referred to in the previous paragraph by more than ten dollars.
The State Department, to boost the bonanza, made every effort to facilitate further U.S. arms sales by allowing arms manufacturers to bypass their checks and balances. These had been established to hamper the purchase of weapons from the United States by regimes considered to be of ill-repute in the world who want to buy weapons from the United States to put a fig leaf over some if some of its legal, moral and economic restrictions.
In fact, these regulations no longer apply. On July 13, the State Department announced new measures to “accelerate government approval of proposals from aerospace and defense companies,
Within European NATO, the biggest buyers of US arms are Poland, Romania, Great Britain and Greece, and the quantities involved are colossal.
The message to European NATO is that the US is making every effort to sell weapons and wants to make them see that there is scope to buy more of the “best jets, the best missiles, the best weapons” that Trump has to offer.
As journalist Brian Cloughley defined it on July 30th on the Counterpunch and Strategic-Culture websites, “NATO’s gold mine is there to be exploited and, following Trump’s enthusiastic encouragement of the manufacturers of its weapons, it looks like the extraction will be effective. The U.S. Military Industrial Complex will benefit greatly from its President’s campaign to increase the number of weapons in the world.
Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, Director of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the Farnborough International Air Show on July 18 that “defense exports are good for our national security, good for our foreign policy… and good for our economic security. He then proposed that his agency reduce the transportation fees charged to foreign military customers, which would be an important stimulus to the sales of “the best jets, the best missiles, the best weapons” so highly valued by Mr. Trump.
This officer, obviously a devoted follower of his President, followed his line of action with dedication, reminding the media that as they have said “administration and our leadership, economic security is national security.”
August 2, 2018.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Many observers and U.S. allies calculated that in Helsinki President Trump had intended to achieve the re-establishment of a triangulation between the United States, Russia and China. And there were good reasons for that hypothesis.
At a 2015 press conference, Trump advocated the Hanry Kissinger line: keep Russia and China divided so that they can never unite against Washington.
On that occasion, Trump said: “…One of the worst things that can happen to the US is for Russia to get closer to China. We’ve let them join in with the big oil deals that are being made. That’s a horrible thing for our country. We’ve made them friends because of a incompetent leadership.”
In an essay published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on July 23rd signed by Alastair Crooke, a former M16 agent, and British diplomat, there is speculation that perhaps, in Helsinki, Trump was doing something a little less strategic and more realistic – something more along the lines of The Art of The Deal [Trump’s book].
According to Crooke, “Over the decades, we have developed a model of how “people are supposed to behave when they’re not in a good mood. presidents and in the process of policy formulation. Bush and Obama were fully driven through that process. But obviously, Trump doesn’t fit that model. Trump’s process follows the following order:
1) Identify a major target (tax cuts, trade, etc.) balanced trade, a wall, etc..
2) Identify the points of influence in front of anyone who stands in your way (elections, tariffs, jobs, etc.).
3) Announce any extreme threat aggression to your opponent.
4) If the opponent backs down, mitigate the threat, declare victory and come home with a win.
(5) If the opponent responds, Trump applies the principle of double or nothing.
6) Eventually, the escalation must lead to negotiations with the perception of a victory for Trump – even though this is more apparent than real.
If we frame the Helsinki meeting in the context of this perception of Art of the Deal, we get that the divergences of vision between Russia and the United States are so substantial that the common ground is small and there are very few prospects for an ‘overall strategic agreement’.
In fact, President Trump has little to offer Russia: sanctions relief is not in his power (but in Congress’s), and you could not renounce Ukraine, “even if Trump understood that the US and Europe made a bad buy with their coup d’état.”
According to the Russian journalist specializing in the conflict in Ukraine, Rostislav Ishchenko, “We have a situation where both sides, even before they negotiated, they knew they could not reach an agreement and neither could bes even prepared for such a thing (there was no provision for the signature of a document after the negotiations).
At the same time, both sides needed the event to be successful. Trump, obviously, is blackmailing the European Union with a possible agreement with Russia. But I’ll tell you what, Putin also needs to show Europe that there are other fish in the the sea besides them.”
Europe’s position is clear. Not by chance, Trump, in listing Washington’s enemies (the EU, China and Russia), made it clear that he considers Russia to be a smaller problem than the EU because there are practically no economic contradictions with Moscow.
The main “enemy” of the United States is not China, with whom the US has the largest negative trade balance, but the European Union, which Trump defined as the main commercial competitor and which obtains from the relationship with the United States many unjustified economic benefits through political agreements.
With this, Trump solves his political-military contradictions with Russia and, consequently, reduces the value of the EU as an ally of Washington to zero. Recently, after the NATO summit, Merkel began to speak out clearly about Trump’s hostility to Europe. She considers it unjustified because of how much Europe has fought against Russia for the benefit of the interests of the United States.
Europe, which, unlike China, has not dedicated itself to the diversification of its economic ties in the world and which seemed to depend on access to the U.S. market, is not prepared for a strong confrontation with the United States.
Without running the risk of getting ahead of Trump on the issue of the normalisation of relations with Russia, EU leaders were fatally afraid that Trump and Putin, despite the difficulties, might do the impossible and come to an agreement, because both of them proved to be prepared for decisions that could change the world’s destiny in an instant.
July 30, 2018.
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