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Uncommon Decency

Mar 21, 2024

"You didn't pay? You're delinquent? No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them—Russia—to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay!" In February, former—and possibly future—US President Donald J. Trump launched a spine-chilling injunction to America’s allies in the sheer style of a New York City mob boss. If you'd like to enjoy the blessings of NATO membership, pay up or face the consequences.
Trump’s comments constitute a significant break with settled policy precedent. America has provided a powerful “security umbrella” to most of Europe since at least 1948, but this could well be under threat from America First 2.0. This week, we cared to explore if Europe would be able to hold on its own two feet without American backing. How strong are the Europeans without the Americans, and has the old continent upped its military-industrial capacity since the Ukraine war? We are joined by Shashank Joshi, defense editor at The Economist, and Bruno Tertrais, Deputy Director at the Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique and recently the author of Pax Atomica (2024).

As always, please rate and review Uncommon Decency on whatever platform you use and send us your comments or questions either on Twitter at @UnDecencyPod or by e-mail at And please consider supporting the show through Patreon to get access to the full episode where we talk in further detail about nuclear policy:

And here's something special for you this week: do you love the intersection of strategy and diplomacy? Do you think you could have secured a better Brexit deal for the UK? Well, "How to Win Brexit" is the brilliant board game that allows you to relitigate the wars over Britain's departure from the EU and roleplay as the French President or the British Prime Minister. Whether you’re a political enthusiast, a board game fanatic, or both, this game should be up your alley. Great news for our patrons: we will be distributing two sets over the next two weeks, so if you’re on the fence, you might want to join us now!