A Couple of Interesting Graphs

This, via Stratfor, illustrate the level of commitment and its nature of NATO member nations toward their own defense.  The first shows the breakdown of expenditures of those monies aimed at each member’s commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense.

Notice who’s spending the most on equipment—that actual teeth of defense.  Most of the nations spending the most are right across the fence from the Russian Bear.

This graph shows which nations actually are meeting their 2% commitment.

In case the note is unreadable, the asterisk for Bulgaria notes that its figure does “not include persons.”

Allies

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, the main governing body of the European Union, says

Dear America, appreciate your allies, you don’t have that many[.]

That’s true enough; we certainly don’t have that many who aren’t demanding to freeload off American blood and treasure for their defense while being unwilling to contribute much of their own to their defense.

Tusk tweeted soon after,

US doesn’t have and won’t have a better ally than EU. We spend on defense much more than Russia and as much as China.

Gun Control

done right.

A disgruntled customer in a George Webb restaurant took his anger out on one of the women employees, going behind the counter to physically attack her.

He didn’t get far: a fellow employee, another woman, drew her pistol and drove the thug off.  It seems that she has a concealed carry permit to go with her weapon, and George Webb allows its employees to carry on the premises.  With good reason, it seems.

But those on the Left would rather have the good guys—and girls—unarmed, so thugs like this can have their way.  Talk about a war on women.  Geez.

Self-Defense

The People’s Republic of China did this to our aircraft in Africa, too.  And, yes, it’s the PRC.  No one else, save us and possibly Russia, have this capability.  Russia isn’t in the East China Sea.

Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months….

Officials said all of the incidents occurred in and around the East China Sea, typically where the Chinese military or other Chinese civilians operate. The laser signals directed at American aircraft appeared to be coming from fishing boats operating in the area and from shore….

Heads Up

As the People’s Republic of China responds to President Donald Trump’s tariffs, motivated in part by the PRC’s cyber-theft of American technology and proprietary information and the PRC’s extortion of the same and its demand for backdoors into foreign business’ (including especially American) core software as a condition of doing business in the PRC, buckle up, indeed, as the article at the link above suggests.

The PRC will do far more than this, though, as it attempts to coerce the US in the pursuit of its Warring States strategy.

Non-NATO Defense Spending

President Donald Trump often decries Europe’s NATO nations for their lack of seriousness about their defense, and he zealously insists that they honor their commitment to spend 2% of their national GDP on defense.  It’s arguable that Trump could ease off (a little bit) and acknowledge the progress he’s made in getting Europe’s NATO members to boost their spending.

But only a little bit because those nations don’t appear to be stepping up in any serious way, as these numbers from a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed demonstrate.

Overall inflation-adjusted military spending by every NATO member excluding America grew 1.8% in 2015, 3.1% in 2016, and 4.8% last year.

Norway Gets It

Norway is asking us to double the number of troops we have stationed there and to move them closer to its border with Russia.  It’s a pittance—700 Marines vs the 330 we have there now—but we need to work with Norway very seriously to figure out how to do this.

Norway said the invitation was about NATO training and improving winter fighting capability.

“Allies get better at training together,” Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters.

Yewbetcha.  And joint training is especially important in the face of demonstrated Russian aggression and its stationing of nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad.

What Hurts

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas thinks President Donald Trump is “consciously accepting” that things like our withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear weapons deal is hurting our allies in Europe and the Middle East.  Deutsche Welle cited him as saying that

We cannot look away.  He knows that what he is doing is of direct detriment to Europe.

No, what is acting to the direct detriment of Europe (and to our Middle East allies and friends) is Europe’s insistence on preserving a nuclear weapons deal that allows Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.  The extent to which European nations are consciously accepting of this destructive deal is the extent to which we have to act unilaterally.

A Thought on Nationhood

Germany has one, and it centers on immigrants assimilating into German culture rather than holding themselves apart while taking advantage of the German benefits that drew the immigrants in the first place.  It’s articulated by Joachim Gauck, President of Germany from 2012-2017.  He told Bild

“I find it unacceptable that people who have been living in Germany for decades cannot hold a conversation in German, do not attend parent-teacher conferences or keep their children from going to classes or sports.”

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Deal

“Senior European officials” are sad because the deal might be in jeopardy.  They even wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, worrying that

their efforts to save the Iranian nuclear accord by maintaining major trade and investment with Tehran are buckling in the face of planned US sanctions.

My heart bleeds.  These worthies shouldn’t be trying to trade with a terrorist-supporting nation bent on getting nuclear weapons.  Especially since Iran will use those weapons to fulfill its long-standing commitment to destroy Israel, and it will sell such weapons to its terrorist clients for them to use…on Europe as well as on us.