BY SCOTT TAYLOR
Now that the dust has settled in Cleveland following the U.S. Republican Party National Convention, it is time for the world to start bracing for the all-too-frightening prospect of Donald Trump actually becoming the next American president.
For Mexicans, this means they should start setting aside some money now to build that wall Trump insists he will install once elected.
During his acceptance speech last Thursday, Trump also set his sights on the NATO alliance, particular those countries that do not spend the arbitrarily assigned two per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on military budgets. Trump bombastically stated that such shirkers would not automatically be guaranteed U.S. military protection should he be occupying the Oval Office next January.
In particular, Trump singled out the Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — by noting that he would examine their current military contributions to NATO before committing to their collective defence. Trump’s statements fly in the face of Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which guarantees a collective defence against outside aggression for all member nations, with no caveats regarding individual defence spending.
Canada should be particularly alarmed at the very real possibility that this blowhard buffoon could soon be elected as commander-in-chief of the world’s largest military machine.
At present, Canada would be considered one of the shirkers in the NATO club, as we spend a little more than one per cent of our GDP on our armed forces. To match Trump’s demands, Canada would need to double its defence budget — go from $20 billion to $40 billion annually. While this comes as welcome music to some ears, right-thinking Canadians will realize that this would mean forfeiting $20 billion from other current government services.
The additional massive expenditure would also in no way make Canada any safer. We are blessed by geography to be surrounded on three sides by natural ocean-sized moats. Our single land border is with the U.S. and, given the comparative military strengths, that boundary will remain unchallenged until such time as a future U.S. administration chooses to adjust it.
Regarding the Baltic States, Canada should also pay close heed to what Trump is spouting. As part of NATO’s ongoing propaganda campaign to demonize Russia, it was decided to stage a pre-emptive deterrent in the Baltic States. Contrary to all prior agreements with post-Soviet Russia, wherein non-indigenous NATO troops would not be based east of the German border, Canada will be part of a four-nation force deploying combat troops in the Baltic.
These 4,000 soldiers, including 1,000 Canadians, will patrol the Baltic borders on a permanent, rotational basis.
Russia has rightly denounced this new deployment as an unnecessary provocation, since, as full NATO members, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all guaranteed collective defence in the case that Russia would be suicidal enough to violate their borders.
That was of course the case until The Donald boasted that, as president, his U.S. military would be checking out defence budget receipts before picking and choosing which NATO members to protect.
The 4,000 troops sent by NATO to the Baltic have been described as a trip-wire force, with keen-eyed tactical analysts predicting they would not last 60 hours in full combat with Vladimir Putin’s Legion of Doom. Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, that 60-hour window should have been enough time for the Good Old USA to unleash a full-sized can of whoop ass on these land-crazy Russkies, and this would result in a glorious Hollywood ending.
In a Trump world however, these shirkers in the Baltic — which now includes an under-spending Canadian military contingent — can bet that the U.S. cavalry will not be riding in to save the day.
These are going to be very interesting times indeed.