Mr. Rutte goes to Washington
The 2nd July 2018 should be a memorable day for the Netherlands. 400 years of Dutch trade cooperation with America even older than the USA itself. On October 11, 1614, “de Nieuw-
Nederlandse Compagnie” obtained the exclusive right to trade with America. Today, those days seem
to have gone. The fluff of diplomacy, smiles and shoulder patting are of no use any longer. Welcome
to the world of the USA’s President, Mr Donald Trump.
Mr Rutte goes to Washington and will find out that the world-order to which he was accustomed
does not exist anymore, since Mr Trump was elected President of the United States. Hard-Power is
now the name of the game, Soft-Power is out. This bodes ill for a weak and divided Europe, which in
Trump’s eyes has long not been able to manage its own affairs.
It could be a rather embarrassing discussion between David and Goliath. In this case David will lose, as
Mr Trump only wants to do business with equals acting from strength. He picks his adversaries and
selects his partners based on the Hard-Power of their Gorilla.
Mr Rutte is a politician who grew up in the middle of Europe’s prosperity, complacency and peace. He
has been surrounded by buffer countries who protected him from the harsher realities of geopolitics.
The Dutch have long focused on the growth of the welfare state with little understanding of how to
execute the fundamental military objective of the defense of its own and allied territories, therefore
Mr Rutte will be no match for Mr Trump.
Mr Trump will listen, but not hear. He wants to rule by “divide et impera” under his motto, “survival of
the fittest”. Trump’s world is the cut throat business of the real estate deals.
Trump wants to hear a clear message from Rutte, whether the Netherlands will ‘join his party’ in
shaping a new bi-lateral world, based on gun boat diplomacy in which the United States is master. For
the ones who paid attention, it was in his inauguration speech, but we were all to shocked to take
I am afraid the conversation might go along the following lines:
So Mark, no surprises, I will stick to my promises: America First. Rebuild your Armed Forces, commit to 2% GDP for Defence preferably by the 11-12th July NATO summit, and you may do business with the USA on our terms. Currently the USA deals out the big cheques; we are fed-up with freeloaders who do not keep their word and refuse to pay their own homeland defence bills.
The Netherlands is one of the richest countries in the world, you should be ashamed of yourself and commit to the agreed 2% GDP NATO norm, stick to your word which I gather for you is difficult.
Mark, your country has a history in not fulfilling its promises, General Eisenhower had to force your Prime Minister Drees to raise the Dutch defence budget from your 1% GDP to the agreed NATO 3% GDP in the 1950s or else the Marshall Plan for the Netherlands would have been revoked. I want obedience, loyalty and commitment, if you don’t comply, you are out.
That said, there is little room for Mr Rutte to argue, or to soften Mr Trump with some Dutch Deventer
koek or oliebollen. He knows too well that Trump mopped the floor with Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau at the G7 and even chucked a few sweeties at Chancellor Angela Merkel, so how much do
you think he will care about Mr Mark Rutte?
CFDE wishes our Prime Minister all the strength to swallow this dressing down, from an American
President on whom we can no longer count as a loyal ally.
Chairman – Coalition for Defense Europe
Coalition For Defense Europe stands for a secure and prosperous Europe and advocated its Mission
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