Donald Trump for all his faults is a realist. During the election trail, he commented about NATO being obsolete in the 21st century. He was aware that the United States was funding almost 90 percent of the NATO budget. It was relevant during the cold war but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the alliance lost its relevance. The European powers and Germany, however, felt NATO was relevant and continued to rely on the United States to foot the bill. The fact is that 23 out of the 28 States that constitute the military alliance have not paid their full quota of dues for the upkeep of the pact.

Trump has moderated his views on the usefulness of NATO but he has not backed down on the question of funding the alliance. During the last alliance meeting, Donald Trump read the riot act to the members. He made it clear that it was unfair to the U.S. people to bear the burden of military expenditure for the alliance.

Trump and NATO

This plain talk by Donald Trump has alarmed the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in a speech, said the EU could no longer rely on the UK and the USA for its defense. The fact is that for too long the EU has ridden on the back of Uncle Sam. It required a realist like Trump to bring out this fact. Trump's failure to ratify Article 5 of the treaty alarmed Germany and other nations.

Article 5 states that an attack on any NATO member will be treated as an attack on all members.

Alarm bells

Donald Trump has set the Alarm Bells ringing in Europe. He has realized that the American people have for too long been subsidizing the defense of countries like Germany, who in the bargain built up a big trade deficit with the United States.

The U.S. was the loser both ways. It paid for the EU military and also had a negative trade balance with Germany and France.

Trump has criticized Germany for this. Trump is right. In the 21st century, the political scenario has changed. Trump feels that the EU leaders have buried their heads in the sand. He is particularly critical of the vast influx of Muslim refugees to Europe.

Germany alone has taken in two million.

The EU is itself facing dissension. The UK has left and there are rumblings against the immigrants in France and Holland.

NATO dilemma

The European powers are trying to keep NATO intact by building up the bogey of Russia. But they are not footing the bill. There is no reason for the U.S. to fund NATO. Trump is right that the NATO nations must pay for their defense. He cannot be faulted for it.