I came across an interesting summary of Donald Trump’s views on international relations:
Trump’s critique of US-Saudi relations threatens a self-interested claque of privileged plutocrats and their lobbyist supporters, just as his threat to cut off our other mostly useless “allies” from the gravy train has induced panic from Paris to the Potomac.
· On NATO – “I have two problems with NATO. No. 1, it’s obsolete. When NATO was formed many decades ago we were a different country. There was a different threat. Soviet Union was, the Soviet Union, not Russia, which was much bigger than Russia, as you know. And, it was certainly much more powerful than even today’s Russia…. Today, it has to be changed. It has to be changed to include terror. It has to be changed from the standpoint of cost because the United States bears far too much of the cost of NATO. And one of the things that I hated seeing is Ukraine…. Why is it always the United States that gets right in the middle of things, with something that – you know, it affects us, but not nearly as much as it affects other countries.”
NATO became obsolete when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Yet instead of going the way of the horse-and-buggy, it grew until it reached the very gates of Moscow – in spite of a promise by George H.W. Bush that NATO would freeze its membership if Mikhail Gorbachev would allow East Germany to reunify with the West. What Trump is proposing is the dissolution of NATO as we know it – essentially an anti-Russian alliance – and its reconfiguration into an instrument devoted to counterterrorism. Indeed, later on in the interview with the Times, he suggests that NATO could be scrapped, and a new institution devoted to a more current problem – terrorism – would take its place.
NATO made sense after WW2 and the subsequent east-west divide of Europe. But it doesn’t seem to make much sense 25 years after the disintegration of first the Eastern Bloc and then the Soviet Union. Yet Russia gets treated as if it still is the Soviet Union. But does anyone – apart from unreconstructed Cold Warriors – really believe that Russia is going to invade Europe? Why should it, when it’s no longer the global headquarters of Communism?
And, for that matter, is there any real threat, should the EU break up, that Europe will turn into a battlefield, with WW1 or WW2 repeating themselves?
Coming up on a century since those conflicts, it seems to me that we’re living in a very different world, and facing very different threats. It’s understandable that people should regularly expect the next war to be like the last war, and prepare accordingly. But equally there ought to be a readiness to see that the threat is always changing, always evolving.
And right now, and for the past 20 years or more, the threat has been coming from militant Islam. Worse, for the past year or more there’s been a covert army of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Islamic jihadis operating in Europe, and attacking civilian targets exclusively. They are the real threat, not Russia. And NATO can do nothing about them.
Half a century ago, the world had become a number of large political blocs. But now these blocs are dissolving. Nevertheless, people like Tony Blair continue to think in global bloc terms:
Mr Blair warned the rise of new superpowers such as China and India means the “global order” is shifting away from the West and that if Britain wants “to play a role in global decision-making” it must remain tied to Europe.
The former Labour leader claimed any country with a population less than 100 million would have to use their “geographic relationships” to retain influence.
But the Soviet bloc has gone. And at the current rate of progress, the EU bloc will have also disintegrated in a few years time, as it proves unable to meet any of the many challenges it faces.
And who’s to say that China and India (and maybe even the USA) won’t disintegrate as well? Along with globalist organisations like the UN and WHO and the World Bank?
Half a century ago, it looked like the future was going to be with the big battalions, and if your tiny country was going to have any influence, it would have to join one of them. But the bigger the battalions, the bigger their associated bureaucracies, the more red tape, and the slower their responses to rapidly unfolding events – as the EU is now amply demonstrating. The age of these political dinosaurs may now be coming to an end, and the future may lie with those small, furry, adaptable states with minimal bureaucracies and rapid response times, which can manage to break out of whichever big battalion they’re currently tied to.
Because Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are small and highly innovative organisations conducting warfare in entirely new ways, and running rings around NATO and Western security organisations.
And the next major war will anyway probably be fought using fleets of millions of micro-drones with on-board cameras and micro-machineguns firing micro-bullets (or micro-missiles) which can fly through open doors or windows, and then sit on a shelf and wait until everyone’s asleep before zapping them at point blank range with a single shot – unless they happen to have installed the latest indoor radar-controlled antidrone-microguns that can fire streams of disabling glue droplets, and can take down insects as small as midges or mosquitoes at a range of up to 10 feet.