John Chuckman



“The Trump effect: How the U.S. president may be reshaping attitudes toward NATO

“The president’s pressure tactics may be undermining support for the alliance in Europe”


Latest Pew Research Centre survey of the attitudes of individual countries toward the 70-year-old North Atlantic Alliance show declines in support, some quite significant.


I do not think this result can be reduced to Trump’s effect, although he certainly does have an effect. His efforts serve perhaps to speed the impact of other ongoing changes.

Europe and America are changing, and in many ways, just as the entire world is changing. Changing technology – with its impact on everything from jobs and entire industries, even to what comes to be regarded as a natural resource, to trade and information and social patterns, right down to attitudes and beliefs – is a tremendous force, one that is now accelerating constantly.

Big things tend to change slowly, absent revolutions or great wars, but they do change. Once enough real change has accumulated, people begin to alter their previous worldview. And if there is anything NATO represents; it is a worldview or philosophy, an obsolete one as it happens

NATO has been largely obsolete for decades. The Red Army and the USSR do not exist. A “live and let live” man leads Russia. And the same is true in China. A lot of Europeans, especially in the larger countries of NATO understand this. But it takes time for new realities to be fully absorbed by a large society.

During the period following the end of the USSR, the US began using NATO in new ways, including as a cover for many of its imperial aggressions so that the headlines would read, “NATO attacks…” instead of “The US attacks….” That way a plausible sense of international cooperation is generated by a country that has done little but attack and diminish genuine international organizations such as the UN.

The US also uses NATO as a giant company store now, almost forcing members to buy the costly weapons it wants them to buy.

Something which has long been true, remains so, the US effectively uses NATO for the peaceful occupation of Europe, a place that is potentially a serious world competitor in every way. The US influences Europe’s policies from the inside, and it keeps intimately aware of what Europe is doing, in what resembles a gigantic espionage operation.

Since the fall of the USSR, the US has made sure that many militarily insignificant countries are added to NATO, countries like Estonia, Croatia, and Macedonia. This had several purposes, besides just provoking Russia with US promises made in the past against doing so being openly broken. Membership expansion effectively dilutes the votes of the original larger NATO states, states like France or Germany that are known to be tiring of American attitudes and policies, something understood in general terms before this poll was conducted.

The additions also increase NATO’s costs since the small states have little to contribute beyond their geography and add new responsibilities. They likely significantly increase risk, too, since some of the small states have extremely hostile attitudes towards Russia. You might say, by including them, the US has added some strong new seasoning to the broth.

The dangers represented by NATO are increased by American policies like ending the INF Treaty.

Were war to break out in Europe, it would almost certainly be the result of American actions, and it would be suicidal for Europeans. Russia’s extremely sophisticated missiles, from short to long range, could blanket every European city. And the US has no effective defense to offer. The Patriot anti-missiles are just not effective under many circumstances.

So why carry on this way, wasting countless billions of dollars? And Europe has lost many billions more in trade with Russia owing to US-imposed sanctions, unwarranted, illegal sanctions. How much better for everyone – except for America and its need to control everyone – to establish the best relations for peace and increased prosperity.

It is distressing to see Canada’s poll approval percentage so high. We are in no danger at all from Russia, and truly never have been. I think Canada today suffers from a bit of Stockholm Syndrome by having lived so close to the threatening beast who constantly beats its chest.


Response to a comment below, saying, “So you think Putin is a ” live and let live” kind of guy do ya?”

He is open for business on fair terms with anyone in the world, something never true of the USSR. All of Russia’s laws have changed to favor business and finance.

He is very much in favor of a world order where each state finds its own approach without any pressure to conform. The US today takes virtually the opposite view. Putin supports enlightened international organizations, again almost the opposite of what we see today from the US.

He keeps the emphasis on peace and economic growth, having achieved some marvelous results, such as seeing Russia become the world’s largest grain exporter. The old USSR used to import substantial quantities of grain.

Russia’s military budget has been kept at a small fraction of the US’s, and Putin has even cut it again now.

He has developed missiles and other hi-tech items which should keep Russia secure for a long period of sustained growth, something he has declared many times to be his most important goal, unfortunately a goal the US keeps trying to hack away at with sanctions and other pressures.

The pressures from the US include the threat of a new arms race with several torn-up treaties, increased military spending, new kinds of nuclear weapons being developed, and the creation of a whole new military branch, the Space Force. But Putin has been firm in repeatedly saying Russia will not enter an arms race. He will of course make the needed adjustments in Russia’s forces to counter any new direct US threats.

Russia is at war with no one, except with some terrorists in Syria (who are actually mercenaries paid and supplied by US associates), where the country’s President asked Russia to help. America, by contrast, sits on territory both in Syria and in Iraq, countries where it was not invited and where it has been asked to leave but refuses to do so. It even steals crude oil from Syria and has tried blackmailing Iraq into giving it half of its crude production, a fact Iraq’s previous Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mehdi, revealed to the world not long ago.

The US is at war or threatening war or promoting disturbances and coups in many places. It makes threats somewhere almost daily. It occupies several places illegally. It assassinates leaders. It sends warships and planes and drones regularly to intimidate Russia and others. It conducts very large-scale war games near Russia – an extremely dangerous practice since it is very easy to misinterpret things done in the movements of thousands of troops and their armored and air support – and it has run its tanks right up against Russia’s border. It has quit or threatens to quit several important treaties, including INF and Open Skies.

Putin is a calm and very thoughtful pragmatist, never making threats and always ready to discuss important affairs, the very opposite of Trump.

Putin’s Russia would have looked like a gift from the gods decades ago during the heyday of the USSR, but we aren’t allowed to accept or admire it now that the US is on such a tear all over the planet to try re-establishing its authority and making it as though it were back in its golden era.

We see immense shows of aggression to try achieving that illusory goal – against Russia, against China, against a number of countries in Latin America, against Syria, against Iraq, and against Iran. Even displays of (non-military) aggression towards old allies like Europe if they do not conduct their affairs according to US demands, demands concerning the most ordinary matters of commerce, as from whom they buy their natural gas supplies or some of their electronics.

The Neocon Wars in the Middle East have seen the US kill about two million and create millions of refugees, refugees who also had a seriously destabilizing effect on allies in Europe.

And it is remarkable how all that savagery was conducted without the general public’s ever being informed about just what was happening and why and certainly never having been consulted in any way. The control of the “Western” press in this new age of American imperial wars and interventions and coups is as effective as anything experienced in the old USSR, although it takes quite a different form.

It is voluntary on the part of the existing limited number of large corporations who dominate as news sources and who are as much a part of the American establishment as its major defense contractors. For them to behave in any other fashion would of course invite reprisals in terms of regulatory authorities, taxes, and just access.

We should keep in mind that the US always needs an enemy, a big enemy, to justify its monstrous military-security establishment, to keep it motivated, and to keep the budget dollars flowing. The enemy serves a purpose not unlike Satan has done for the Church. The military-security establishment does have its main job in securing and expanding America’s global empire, but, my goodness, that is never to be discussed openly in the hallowed halls of “the Republic” or never to become an issue in its strange elections between two money-driven official parties. Better, a big enemy you’ve endowed with all kinds of terrors as justification.

They spend a total of about a trillion dollars a year on being able to kill and to oppress and to spy.

Posted February 10, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized


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