Hamilton: Trump and the Art of the Westphalian Deal
June 6, 2017
Ever since 1648, peaceful commerce in the Judeo-Christian world has rested, in large measure, on agreements made between May and October of 1648 in the two German towns of Muenster and Osnabruck. Why two German towns? During the negotiations that ended the Thirty Year's War, the parties to the agreements disliked each other so much they refused to reside in the same town. Their emissaries had to ride horseback the 35 miles between the Catholics in Muenster and the Protestants in Osnabruck.
In addition to peace, an important result of the Peace of Westphalia was the agreement among the contracting parties that "a deal is a deal." Parties to a deal must perform as agreed. Most, but not all, of NATO's 28 nations are Westphalian in their thinking.
At NATO headquarters in Brussels, President Trump told 23 NATO nations they should honor the agreement they made to provide two-percent of their GDP to NATO. Speaking inside NATO's brand-new $1.8 billion Brussels headquarters, President Trump said 23 NATO nations are treating the American taxpayer unfairly.
Fast backward a few days to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, NSA director, H.R. McMaster, and Jared Kushner gathered more than 38 Arab (Sunni) Princes so President Trump could get them to pledge to join the U.S. in containing the expansionist- and nuclear-weapons efforts of the Persian (Shia) Iranians.
Writing in the New York Post of May 27, 2017, Michael Goodwin summarized President Trump's trip this way: "…Under enormous scrutiny, [President Trump] acted in the best traditions of American leadership on two continents by helping create a Muslim NATO to combat radical Islamists and by pushing the original NATO to face terrorism and financial facts…"
While the "Muslim NATO" sounds promising, bear in mind that the Quran teaches its disciples that under the Doctrine of Taqiyya it is not a sin to lie to or to deceive infidels. To further the cause of Islam it is okay to make agreements with infidels; however, Islamists can break agreements with infidels at will and the agreements should not be for more than 10 years. In other words, exactly as President Obama structured his 10-year nuke deal with Iran. See: Quran 7:99, 8:30, and 8:39.
But, in the spirit of Westphalia, wasn't President Trump obliged to honor the Paris Climate Accord signed by President Obama on April 22, 2016? No. That was one of President Obama's executive orders done without the "advice and consent" of Congress. Ergo: there was no real "deal" for President Trump to honor or not honor. Because there was never any agreement that could have passed Constitutional muster, President Trump was not under any legal or even Westphalian compulsion to abide by it; however, he left the door open for a future negotiation.
Meanwhile, President Trump's remarks in Brussels prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to say Germany should increase her own armaments, rather than rely on NATO and the U.S. In other words, President Trump provoked Mrs. Merkel to do what she should have been doing all along.
Think what you may about Donald J. Trump; however, the Middle East and Europe just experienced nine days the likes of which they have never seen.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University. For more, see: http://www.central-view.com.