There is Something Pathetic About An Organization that Dances to the Tune of a Corrupt President

It must be most demanding for Jens Stoltenberg to be in a position of a continual balancing act between political decency and Donald Trump’s political theatre. Photo: The White House

There is something pathetic about a defense alliance that must dance to the tunes of a corrupt American president. In particular because the corruption is related to the Ukraine, the country that is at the center of NATO’s military and economic expansion.

Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat who is Speaker at the House of Representatives, announced that there will be an impeachment case against president Donald Trump. It happened around the same time as the American president packed his bags and left the NATO summit in London.

Absurd reality

Donald Trump went home to his own absurd reality after insulting a couple of NATO member states, praising the dictator Kim Jong-Un and forcing the defense alliance to include China in its enemy image.

Left behind in London were leaders of an organization that is about to lose its prime function as defender of political democracies out of sight. It is simply impossible to appear credible when the organization is directed by a president who does not represent democratic processes.

Donald Trump allowed himself to be elected with the help of Russian interference in the American presidential elections without ever acknowledging that that was what happened. He praises dictators and operates, as in the conflict about Syria, completely without coordination with NATO. At the same time, he forces the organization into nearly unlimited growth in national defense expenses while also setting the globe at stake in his tireless fight against any attempt at initiating efforts to reduce the climate threat.

Ongoing balancing act

In the middle of this absurd theatre we find a Norwegian Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, clinging to the democratic legitimacy of the alliance. It must be most demanding to be in a position of a continual balancing act between political decency and political theatre.

Not surprisingly if you have read High North News this week, the security policy challenges of the Arctic were absent on the official agenda of the NATO summit in London. Instead, security policy challenges related to China were included into the alliance’s future strategy. That is how NATO contributes to strengthening ties between Russia and china as well as to strengthening the political and military conflict between the East and the West.

No democratic victory

Nor is it any victory for democracy nor NATO’s peace project that the world’s military expenses explode and currently are at their highest level ever. 1,700 billion euros were used for military purposes last year, according to the Swedish research institute SIPRI.

The amount will definitely be higher this year, because the demand for more money for arms is a key theme when Donald Trump meets Jens Stoltenberg for a dance around the current American understanding of how to secure peace and democracy.

And it is a key theme when Jens Stoltenberg thanks Donald Trump for his contribution to increasing NATO countries’ consumption of war materials at the expense of climate efforts and social distribution.

There is, like I said, something pathetic about a European defense alliance clinging to the hope that Donald Trump will not be re-elected as American president.


This op-ed was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.