In his speech at the NATO summit, held last week, President trump did not confirm the US commitment to Article 5, which States that an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all.
What’s the big deal? Is it in the course of his visit he confirmed the US commitment to the NATO Alliance as a whole? Did he not previously sent their Vice-President, Secretary of state and Secretary of defense, to confirm the loyalty to the United States to the principle, which is spelled out in Article 5?
And does anyone really believe that the USA really start a war with Russia and put itself under the threat of nuclear destruction — from-Estonia?
But that is precisely the point. The strategy of containment is so delicate, so complex and literally implausible that it is in any case not to be trifled with. Why the American President had further undermine the already weak credibility of the policy of containment, pointedly refusing to confirm its commitment to Article 5?
Containment, in essence, is a bluff, almost completely devoid of credibility. Even in the midst of the cold war, when such strongly minded presidents like Eisenhower and Kennedy, Russia threatened “massive retaliation” (that is, a full-scale nuclear war) if we were willing to sacrifice new York for Berlin?
No one knew that for sure. Neither Eisenhower nor Kennedy nor Khrushchev — no. However, this ambiguity was enough to deter aggressors and keep the peace for 70 years — the longest period without war between great powers in modern history.
Deterrence is based not on 100-percent confidence that the enemy will attack if you cross the red line. Taking into account the height of the rates, even minimal probability of such a turn of events may be enough. And for 70 years it was enough.
Therefore, the leaders are doing everything possible to keep this system. For example, to deploy forces cover — a kind of “booby-stretch”. During the cold war, we deployed our troops in Germany, to enable them to confront the tanks of the Soviet Union. Today 28 thousand troops in South Korea, and 12 thousand — at the demilitarized zone.
Why? Not in order to reflect the attack. They will not be able. They just are not strong enough. To be honest, they are there to die. They represent a clear message: if you invade the territory of our ally, you have to first kill a lot of Americans. And this, in turn, will force us to begin against you to full scale war.
Such “booby-stretching” is risky, dangerous and cynical step. However, we have resorted to this measure because the promises made on paper, can cause a lot of problems, and “tripwire traps” are activated automatically. We do our best to ensure deterrence.
In the field of rhetoric too. Beginning with Truman, all US presidents regularly and clearly confirmed the U.S. commitment to the principles underpinning the NATO Alliance. But trump was no exception.
It is his unwillingness to openly confirm the willingness of States to fulfill obligations to their allies had a powerful negative impact, enhanced by his previous statements. This man has always treated NATO with disdain. During his election campaign he had declared that the Alliance has outlived its usefulness. In his inaugural speech, he criticized U.S. allies, which, in his opinion, are parasitic on the wealth and generosity of the United States. One of the main advisers of trump, newt Gingrich (Newt Gingrich), claims that “Estonia is a suburb of St.-Petersburg” — as if Russia has the full right to dispose of in the Baltic States.
Moreover, the greater part of his speech in Brussels — during his first trip abroad as US President, he dedicated to how to chastise the allies for what they contribute insufficiently significant contribution to the overall security system. There was no error or anything particularly new — a century ago the majority leader in the Senate Mike Mansfield (Mike Mansfield) was so much dissatisfied with the reluctance of NATO members to make a fair contribution to the existence of this Alliance that he called for a significant reduction in the number of American soldiers on European soil.
This is the eternal complaint of America. But if you are going to criticize and criticize, be also willing to reaffirm their loyalty to the principles of the Alliance. Especially given the growth of Russian threats and aggression. Especially considering that everyone expected from trump. One of the administration officials reported that trump uses this statement to confirm its commitment to Article 5. And this speech trump said at the ceremony dedicated to the anniversary of the first and only treatment to Article 5 — ironically, the allies resorted to this article to help America after September 11 attacks.
However, trump deliberately refused to say it: America will always fulfill its obligations in accordance with Article 5.
It’s not that, what if trump uttered those magic words that everybody would believe that we will strike if Russia will try to throw the green men in Estonia. However, the failure of trump to utter those words minimizes the Putin confidence in the US willingness to retaliate in case of aggression against any NATO member.
Sunday, may 28, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after a visit to trump, it became clear that Europe can no longer rely on others. We are not talking about that yesterday Europe could count on the help of “the other”, and today already can not. We are talking about what deterrent capability of America has become much weaker. A weakening of the deterrence capability necessarily entails instability, miscalculation, provocation, and much more.
And for what?