It Usually Stops Working Around the Age of Five

toddler psychology

Jonathan Chait, Macron Uses Toddler Reverse Psychology Trick to Fool Trump Into Supporting NATO:

Today is another meeting of NATO, an organization Trump has denounced and undermined for years. The keenest minds in what remains of the free world have set themselves to the task of distracting Trump long enough to get through the NATO summit without dissolving the alliance in a tantrum. … The plans include flattering Trump with an elaborate dinner at Buckingham Palace, and presenting a series of trumped-up concessions to make it appear the allies have buckled to Trump’s demands by increasing their spending, thereby allowing him to claim victory rather than storming out in a huff. …

Amusingly, what seems to have worked instead is Emmanuel Macron’s completely different ploy. The French president gave an interview last month decrying the “brain death” of NATO, which he said had failed to account for America’s shrinking commitment under Trump.

Trump himself has called NATO “obsolete,” openly questioned whether the U.S. would come to the defense of allies under attack (the very foundation of the alliance), and privately told aides on several occasions last year he wants to withdraw from the alliance. But the notion that somebody else would question NATO, and blame its demise on Trump, has enraged him.

And now Trump is lashing out at Macron. “NATO serves a great purpose,” he declared today. “And I hear that President Macron said NATO is ‘brain dead.’ I think that’s very insulting to a lot of different forces … When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to 28 — including them — 28 countries.”

Manipulating children into doing what you want by pretending to demand they do the opposite thing is a trick most parents learn to use. It usually stops working around the age of 5.



Why Should Our Allies Believe Us?

simpsons question

N.Y. Times, U.S. Officials Scrambled Behind the Scenes to Shield NATO Deal From Trump

The New Republic, Trump’s staff tricked him into signing a pro-NATO agreement:

The idea was to reach an agreement that was strongly pro-NATO,and could counteract the president’s tendency to criticize the alliance and to call for greater co-operation with Russia. …

Key to the success of the whole plot was that Trump would be kept in the dark about what he was actually signing. As The Times reports, “Mr. Trump was presented with only the broad outlines of what the meeting would deliver — not details of the document of 79 paragraphs, running 23 pages.”

The thinking behind this strange manœuvre is that the document Trump signed would counteract his own words. “The new agreement has given American national security officials the ability to assure the public, and skittish allies, that the country’s commitment to the alliance remains intact — no matter any anti-NATO tweets or interviews or statements from Mr. Trump,” The Times claims.

It’s by no means clear that this manipulation of the president will in fact work. After all, if the President continues to deride NATO, as he has in interviews, why should anyone believe that in a crisis he’ll abide by words that he hasn’t even read?


Greetings to this morning’s readers in Australia. Gday, mates. Sorry, but you’re on your own.

A Message from 97 United States Senators

The Senate voted to

(1) reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance as a community of freedom, peace, security, and shared values, including liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law;

(2) reaffirm the ironclad commitment of the United States to its obligations under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to the collective self-defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance;

(3) establish as the policy of the United States pursuit of an integrated approach to strengthening the defense of allies and partners in Europe as part of a broader, long-term strategy using all elements of United States national power to deter and, if necessary, defeat Russian aggression;

(4) call on the Administration to urgently prioritize the completion of a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to counter malign activities of Russia that seek to undermine faith in democratic institutions in the United States and around the world, and to submit that strategy to Congress without delay; and

(5) reflect the support of the United States for the rules-based international order that has ensured, and will continue to promote, an international system that benefits all nations, and for deepening and expanding alliances and partnerships to jointly work with one another on shared challenges in Europe and the Indo-Pacific Region and throughout the world.

Alas, Poor Montenegro


Rand Paul Now Works for Putin

As you know, gentle readers, Aardvark finds nothing more delightful than sharing with you the views of the Heritage Foundation. Accordingly, I direct your attention to their fine article, Support for Montenegro’s Accession to NATO Would Send a Message of Strength—and I am sure you know to what address the folks at the Heritage Foundation would like to send the message.

Regrettably, Rand Paul did not get the memo, and is now blocking Senate consideration of the treaty that would let Montenegro into the club. Asked why, Senator Paul cited the national debt and the need to avoid expanding our military obligations.

According to John McCain, Paul’s position is irrefutable proof that the senator from Kentucky is now the senator from Moscow:

‘The senator from Kentucky is now working for Putin’: John McCain slams Rand Paul for blocking Montenegro from joining NATO

Republican Sen. John McCain slammed his GOP colleague, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, on Wednesday after Paul blocked the passage of a treaty that would allow Montenegro to move forward with joining NATO, Defense News’ Joe Gould reported.

McCain warned before the vote that “If there’s objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin…and I do not say that lightly.”

Paul then entered the Senate chamber, voted against the accession protocol, and exited.

“The only conclusion you can draw when he walks away is he has no argument to be made,” McCain said after Paul walked out abruptly, according to The Washington Examiner. “The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”

Nero Wolfe—Montenegro’s most famous native son—is very unhappy.

Nero Wolfe

None Dare Call it Treason, вторая часть


Trump declares NATO obsolete.

Kremlin rejoices.

European leaders shocked as Trump slams NATO and E.U., raising fears of transatlantic split.

 And by the way, Aardvark doesn’t know anyone in Russia, but someone in Russia knows him. (WordPress gives you stats.)

So this is for you, Vladimir.

Trump объявляет устаревшие НАТО.Кремль ликует.Европейские лидеры в шоке, как Trump хлопает НАТО и E.U., поднимая опасения трансатлантического раскола.