Monday, January 30, 2017

How Trump Can Pull NATO’s Nuclear Plug - by Gary North

People in the media all think that they have the wisdom to advise President Trump. Frankly, they don't.
Of course, I am an exception. He should listen to me on this point.
I am going to suggest something that I think he really should do. It would be good for the nation and good for the world. It would cost the taxpayers nothing. It would be popular with his voter base. Congress would probably go along. It would also drive the Council on Foreign Relations up the proverbial wall. That alone would be worth it.
President Trump should contact the news media and tell them that he is going to make a major speech on foreign policy. I am sure they will all show up.
Here is the speech he should deliver.
My Fellow Americans,
The most important task of the President of the United States as assigned by the Constitution has always been the same: to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. A President's mistake here can have greater negative repercussions on America than any other mistake that a President can make.
The greatest danger to the United States and the world today is the possibility that NATO and Russia will get into a nuclear conflict.
I am hereby announcing that, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, I will not automatically support NATO if a war breaks out between NATO and Russia.
I am hereby ending the NATO treaty while I am in office. I have the power to commit American forces, and I have the power not to commit American forces. I am hereby telling NATO this: I will not automatically commit American forces to back up NATO.
I will make any decision to commit troops to back up NATO on a case-by-case basis, but my commitment is no longer automatic merely because of the NATO treaty.
From 1800 until 1949, the United States of America had no mutual defense treaty with any nation. If any nation got into a war with any other nation, the United States had no treaty obligation to intervene on the side of either nation. I am hereby announcing that this is my personal policy.
I don't care what the NATO treaty says. I will not automatically commit American troops or weapons to defend NATO.
If Congress wishes to impeach and then convict me, that is Congress's option. If you, as voters, want Congress to impeach and convict me because of my stand, let Congress know. On the other hand, if you support my decision, let Congress know that you support it. In other words, let Congress know, beginning tomorrow.
I am not saying that I will never take this country into a war. I am saying that I am not going to take this country into war because of some existing treaty or alliance.
Furthermore, I am not going to take this nation into war unless the Congress formally declares war, as required by the United States Constitution.
If any nation or alliance, especially NATO, thinks that it can get into a war and automatically get my support as Commander-in-Chief, that is its mistake. That nation or alliance will have to wait until I am impeached by the House of Representatives, convicted by the Senate, and removed from office before there will be any commitment of American troops or equipment to defend that nation or alliance. If NATO thinks it can fight a war against Russia while waiting for the Congress of the United States to impeach me and convict me, that is NATO's strategic mistake.
I do not think Mr. Putin has any interest in attacking NATO, because that would destroy the market for Russia's natural gas.
Nobody wants a war in Western Europe. Now that I am officially declaring that I will not automatically intervene on NATO's side if it gets into a war with Russia, I hope even fewer people in Western Europe will want a war.
To the people of Western Europe, I say this: make it clear to your nations' leaders that I will not intervene on their side automatically just because NATO is foolish enough to get into a war with Russia.
I am going to protect the people of the United States from a nuclear war. That is my most important task as President of the United States. Getting into a nuclear war because some military commander in NATO is dumb enough to start a war with Russia is not my idea of putting America first.
I am going to put America first. I am not going to put NATO first. If that gets me impeached, convicted, and removed from office, so be it.
If you agree with me, please contact your representatives in Congress and let them know.
Thank you, and good evening.
That would send NATO a message. It would let them know that Trump will no longer honor the blank check that the NATO treaty handed over to Western European military commanders.
I think this would finish NATO. I don't think anyone running for President in 2020 would recommit to backing up NATO, no matter what. The treaty was made in 1949, the year that the USSR exploded its first nuclear weapon. The USSR is long gone. The nuclear weapons are not.
The best way to avoid nuclear war is for the President of the United States to tell NATO that America's blank check is hereby revoked.
As Commander-in-Chief, President Trump can let NATO know that the blank check is void.
Here is the crucial section of the NATO treaty.
Article 5. The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.