Trump Forgets How Our Allies Have Paid the Ultimate Price Many Times Over

The Long March
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump, seated at right, during the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
Jesco Denzel/German Federal Government

The bickering over tariffs and the refusal to sign the G7’s concluding communique are the latest in the Trump administration’s periodic temper tantrums with our western allies. President Trump called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada “dishonest and weak” and Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow accused Canada of “backstabbing.”

President Trump’s war of words at the G7 was mirrored by another comment made at the Singapore summit this week:

This tweet is correct in its assertion that the U.S. does pay a large chunk of NATO’s military budget. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has even conceded that some European states, including her own, need to increase their military spending. What these numbers do not show, though, is the continued commitment our NATO allies have shown to the alliance and their willingness to sacrifice lives for it.

What many Americans are forgetting is that over the last 17 years, since the start of the war in Afghanistan, our western allies have fought and died alongside U.S. troops.

In Helmand province, British Royal Marines and Army infantrymen held the line during the Taliban offensives of 2006-07 at places like Musa Qala, Sangin, and Now Zad. Since the start of the war, the UK has sacrificed 454 sons and daughters in Afghanistan. Despite its seemingly meek cultural attitudes, Canada has deployed thousands of troops to Afghanistan in the past 17 years. Canadian forces held the line in Kandahar province, Afghanistan and provided critical infantry support during the Shahi Kot Valley offensive of 2002. Canada has sacrificed 158 sons and daughters in Afghanistan. Additionally, from January 2011 to April 2014, two Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan as Ottawa began to withdraw from the country. In that same period, at least 29 Canadian Afghan war veterans took their own lives. This is an underreported figure. Afghanistan has been the costliest military conflict for Canada since Korea.

I could continue to list other NATO and coalition members who have sacrificed the lives of their troops in Afghanistan (Germany 54 dead, France 88 dead, Denmark 43 dead, giving it the highest per capita rate of any coalition nation). And 29 countries have lost troops in Afghanistan.

The point I want to make here is this: Our alliances are not perfect, but our allies are reliable, loyal, and willing to sacrifice alongside the United States. President Trump’s foreign policy seems to revolve around money and transactional benefit. “What good is this if I only get X amount of dollars out of it?”

Coming from a New York real estate background, this should come as no surprise. But President Trump should remember that there are costs that have nothing to do with money or trade deficits. These are costs that our allies have been willing to pay for the past seventeen years.  

Jim Pomeroy is a graduate of James Madison University with a BA in History and Political Science and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. An avid student of history and foreign affairs, he currently lives in Virginia and works with veterans regularly. All views expressed are his and his alone.

The book "Strange Defeat" details how France was conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940, but it could just as well describe President Donald Trump's record as commander in chief.

For someone who crows about winning all the time, the president seems to lose quite a bit. Since October 6, he has given Turkish President Recep Tayyip everything he has ever wanted by abandoning the U.S. military's best allies in Syria, allowing Turkey to establish a safe zone along its border with Turkey that expels all Kurdish forces, and withdrawing most U.S. troops from northeast Syria – allowing Russia to fill the vacuum.

What did he get in return? He gets to gloat that he made good on his campaign promise to end one of the U.S. military's commitments overseas and bring the troops home. (Although, a better way of saying it is that he allowed Turkey to chase out U.S. forces, who had to leave Syria so quickly that they did not have time to take high value ISIS prisoners into custody and they had to bomb one of their own ammunition dumps.)

Read More Show Less
U.S. Military Academy Class of 2022 conducted a 12 mile road march as family and former graduates cheered them on, concluding six weeks of Cadet Basic Training Aug. 13, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Matthew Moeller)

Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.

"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.

Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in their Bradley Fighting Vehicle during Marne Focus at Fort Stewart, Ga. during the week of Oct. 14, 2019 (U.S. Army photo)

Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., October 11, 2019. (Reuters/Erin Scott)

KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.

Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.

Read More Show Less
Ummmmmm what? (Twitter)

Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.

On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.

Read More Show Less