Well now that the World Cup is finally coming to an end, the Brexit situation is more confused than ever, and Mr Trump has arrived in Europe, it is time to reflect on all the events. Indeed, Mr Trump has given the media a bonanza with his controversial statements. England is out of the World Cup, the British White Paper on Brexit has been published. But very little of Mr Trump’s reasons for his demand that all NATO members pay up their fair share, which is 2% of their GDP, is spoken about. Most of the media are concerned with Donald Trump and Theresa May, Donald Trump and the Queen, and the demonstrations.
It transpires that only four of NATO’s 29 members are meeting this required 2% of GDP, and, surprisingly, Germany is not one of them. At the moment Germany has been paying only 1.24 of their GDP (traditionally it has paid around 1.19%), while the United States pays 3.5% of their GDP. In dollars this roughly amounts to $51bn paid by Germany as opposed to $706bn paid by the USA. But what about countries like Spain who pays 0.91%? No wonder both Germany and Spain can have such good welfare systems. So does Mr Trump have a point? Yes, he certainly does, but the problem for him on this theme of NATO payments is not his message, it is how he communicates it.
Effective public communication is like any other type of communication in that it requires the three basic elements of emotion, rationality and credibility. It is about persuading others to identify with the central message, and their acting on it voluntarily. The New York real estate manner of communicating has obviously ruffled feathers over here in Europe. The only redeeming factor here is that what you see and hear with Mr Trump is what you get. The nice lawyer-cum-politician style of communication of Mr Obama and Mr Clinton is what we are used to, with its smiles and its diplomatic double talk. Perhaps the Germans, the Spaniards, Italians and all the other NATO members who have never really met their NATO obligations needed a little roughing up in order to get them to meet their commitments?