The just-concluded Munich Security Conference has illustrated the growing disconnect between the US and central and western Europe regarding European security.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the conference—one of the largest annual gatherings of political leaders, military chiefs and top diplomats from around the world—by accusing the Trump administration of “rejecting the idea of the international community.”
“Every country should fend for itself and put its own interests over all others … ‘Great again’—even at the expense of neighbors and partners,” Steinmeier said….
That’s a cynical distortion of our position, coming as it does on the strenuous efforts the Trump administration has made to get these nations to increase their commitment to NATO, and coming as it does on the heels of Germany’s naked duplicity in promising—on its own initiative, mind you—to increase its spending on NATO to 2% of its GDP, and then welching on that commitment.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking at the forum for the first time, echoed Steinmeier the next day, noting that “what Europe wants is not quite the same as the US.”
That’s certainly true, with France—and Germany—toadying up to Russia as enthusiastically as they are. But Macron, at bottom, is as duplicitous as Steinmeier. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, all NATO members, and Ukraine, are much more closely aligned with the US on matters of their (and our) national security. Macron, for all his ego, does not speak for “what Europe wants,” only for what Germany and France want. To claim they are Europe is not hubris, it’s just dishonest.
Maybe it’s time to move decisively toward a mutual defense treaty among the US, the eastern European nations fronting Russia, and the UK, and let central and western Europe do what they’re so evidently desperate to do: to go their own way.
After all, at least the former, in evident contrast with the latter, care about their security.