Wednesday, August 2, 2023


In 2014, all NATO members decided that their contribution had to arrive at a number representing 2% of their GDP within a decade.

In 2023 only 11 allies have fulfilled their commitment. 

This was one of the few reasonable demands that former President Trump made as a peremptory condition for not  blowing up the alliance.

One doesn't dare to imagine what might happen if Trump were to return. Elaborating on this nightmare is too frightening to engage in.

During the current nightmare in Ukraine, which is already hard to contain, NATO (mostly the US) was able to show both relevance and drawing power.

Belgium hosts both NATO and SHAPE. Brussels benefits politically and financially from this situation. Nevertheless, Belgium does not come close to the commitment it underwrote. It is last of the class, with Luxemburg.

It could have been expected that Belgium would continue the tradition of Paul Henry Spaak and Andre De Staercke. After all, being the headquarters comes with a certain pride or responsibility. But besides a new tramline the Belgian input is minimal, not to say outrageous.

Last 21 July the military parade was more bon enfant  than impressive. The minister of defense, good looking and bonne socialistecould at least have asked a regiment of (hapless) Brussels street cleaners to join in this traditional James Ensor- looking parade of losers, struggling not to lose their step in the cobblestone hell.

Countries are not respected out of bad habits. Respect needs to be earned. Belgium is already overflowing with surreal, self- inflicted mortgages. It should make room for some high-principled reliability.

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