Sneak Peek of The Wealth Warrior: Trump Is Killing Reagan’s Baby

Written by Adam English
Posted December 11, 2019

Today we're bringing you commentary from Jason Simpkins' The Wealth Warrior.

Last month, we passed a major milestone — for Germany, Europe, and freedom itself.

The times have dramatically changed, though. The old paradigm is gone. NATO is fragmenting and defense and security are rapidly evolving.

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”

There isn't a better time to take advantage of that change.

Take care,

Adam English
Editor, Outsider Club



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Last month, Germans flooded the streets to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It was a raucous affair that reverberated throughout the country.

But just one day prior, there was a smaller, much more solemn celebration at the U.S. embassy in Berlin — the unveiling of a statue commemorating Ronald Reagan.

Reagan Statue

It was a small but mightily symbolic gesture.

After all, it was Reagan who stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 and called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

But while a plaque stands at the site of that speech, the German government has for years rebuffed requests for a Reagan statue. So ultimately, the likeness found a home at the U.S. embassy, where it wistfully gazes out over the site of the Soviet Union’s demise.

That victory, of course, wasn’t just a victory for Germany, or for the United States. It was a win for the Western world, for democracy, and for NATO — the rock-solid alliance that leaned steadfastly against the Iron Curtain.

No Western leader, before or since, has embodied the spirit of NATO the way Reagan did.

“We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings,” he said, addressing the British Parliament in 1982. “The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.”

This has always been the goal of NATO — to defend democracy and rebuff the tide of totalitarianism that threatens free speech, free elections, and free thought.

Such a lofty endeavor can only be underpinned by force, and that was something Reagan understood well.

“Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace,” he said, “but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that’s now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets, but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.”

Reagan Brandenburg Gate Speech

This was the nexus of the U.S. presence in Europe — a presence the 40th president of the United States was determined to strengthen and maintain.

"My Atlantic colleagues and I will rededicate ourselves to maintaining the deterrent that has protected our freedom and prosperity for almost 40 years," Reagan said at a NATO summit in 1988. "I will repeat to my colleagues my strong conviction that American troops will remain in Europe, under any administration, as long as Europeans want them to stay."

Thus he pledged "unwavering commitment" to NATO, called "the serious imbalance of conventional forces in Europe” an “unacceptable threat to the West," and asserted that the United States would “never sacrifice the interests of this partnership in any agreement with the Soviet Union.”

This was the peak of American resolve and it bore fruit just a few years later when the Soviet Union collapsed.

However, that resolve was not universal, and before the Soviet Union had even fully disintegrated, critics surfaced to declare the alliance obsolete.

One such critic was famed real estate mogul Donald Trump.

“I think our country needs more ego, because it is being ripped off so badly by our so-called allies — i.e., Japan, West Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, et cetera,” Trump said in a March 1990 interview with Playboy. “We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about fifteen minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.”

When asked if he’d run for president, Trump demurred.

“I don’t want the Presidency,” he said. “I’m going to help a lot of people with my foundation — and for me, the grass isn’t always greener.”

Three decades later, things have changed. Trump is, in fact, president, and the Trump Foundation was shut down earlier this year when it was revealed to essentially be a slush fund from which he promoted his business and political campaign.

What hasn’t changed, though, are Trump’s views on NATO and other U.S. allies.

For the past four years, he’s castigated NATO allies for not spending more on defense, and relying too heavily on the United States*.

Trump NATO Tweets

(*Trump’s criticism is inaccurate: The U.S. does spend roughly 4% of GDP on defense but that figure includes all domestic security expenditures as well as non-NATO missions in the Pacific and Mideast. There is no measure by which the U.S. pays for 90% of NATO.)

Trump has also broken with Europe over the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord, tariffs, and a bizarre deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But most crucially, he has openly floated the idea of abandoning NATO entirely — a drastic maneuver he will almost certainly attempt should he win a second term; maybe before.

Members of Congress, and even the Trump administration itself, are typically quick to brush off the idea but those denials are naive and delusional.

Trump NATO

The fact is, Donald Trump really does have it out for NATO, which he has declared “obsolete.”

And allies have slowly come to realize that, especially France.

In a recent interview with The Economist, French President Emmanuel Macron was clear-eyed and candid about the threat Trump poses.

“You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies,” Macron said weeks after Trump’s spontaneous decision to abandon Syria without so much as a heads-up.

“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” he said.

Macron NATO

The French President then struck at the heart of the problem, which is that Trump “doesn’t share our idea of the European project.”

The alliance “only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such,” he added. “I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States.”

And when he was asked whether he believed Article 5′s declaration of joint defense still applied, Macron responded simply: “I don’t know.”

This is why Macron last year called for a “true, European army” to “defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States."

It's why our allies in Europe, Japan, and South Korea are reeling from Trump's broadsides and bewildered by his coziness with dictators from Putin to Kim Jong-un. They're no longer confident that America will defend them if they’re attacked.

And they’re right.

Macron is right.

Russia even gloated over his words.

"Well said. Truthful words, and ones that get to the nub of the matter," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook. "An accurate description of NATO's current state.”

Indeed, NATO is brain dead.

In a corporeal sense, the body of NATO remains intact. The group endures, anticipating its 70th-anniversary celebration in London in December.

But the spirit of NATO — the determination to defend and spread democracy abroad, to beat back the encroachment of totalitarian regimes like Russia, and the collective embrace of Western values — is every bit as absent as Reagan’s own life force.

And so, a dead man’s statue now stalks the balcony of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, smiling upon the city he helped unify in the name of freedom. But there is no breath in his body with which to inspire, there is no movement in his limbs to muster action, and there is no gleam in his eye to sparkle with vision. His form strides, but it does not lead.

This is Trump’s America now. We're in the business of building walls, not tearing them down.

Fight on,

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Jason Simpkins

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Jason Simpkins is Assistant Managing Editor of the Outsider Club and Investment Director of The Wealth Warrior, a financial advisory focused on security companies and defense contractors. For more on Jason, check out his editor's page. 

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