Jed Babbin, The American Spectator, March 13, 2017
Tomorrow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet face-to-face with President Trump for the first time, each to take the other’s measure. Mr. Trump has previously criticized Mrs. Merkel for her open-door immigration policy and, by implication in his criticism of NATO, for Germany’s paltry defense spending.
Mrs. Merkel, the European press says, is on the defensive against Mr. Trump’s nationalist-populist positions, including his criticisms of the European Union. A few weeks ago, she floated the idea of more defense spending, but it turns out that her 2018 budget raises defense spending to the lofty level of 1.23 percent of Germany’s Gross Domestic Product, well below the 2 percent that all NATO members committed to a decade ago. Free riders like Germany deserve a repeated dose of “Dutch uncle” counseling by Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has a lot on his plate. General Joe Votel, commander of Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the Taliban has fought us to a standstill in Afghanistan. It remains a permanent war, a quagmire, resulting from Mr. Bush’s nation-building approach.
Mr. Trump sent about 200 Marines and their artillery to the fight to take Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS. As good as they are, they are far too small a force — even combined with our air forces and special operations guys in Syria — to determine the outcome of the war. And what comes after? Mr. Trump hasn’t said what our plan is for the future of Syria, assuming that ISIS can be defeated there. If ISIS is defeated in Syria, what does he propose to do about ISIS in Libya and elsewhere? How long and large a war is he in for? READ it Here
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