This one could be easily filed away in the Bad Ideas Museum, if there was such a thing.
Frankly, after this presidency has run its course, we just may need to start one. There will certainly be enough material to fill it, and as an academic study into how we got here, and how to prevent this from happening again, it may be necessary.
That’s if we make it.
So late Monday, The New York Times issued a report, citing senior administration officials who say that President Trump repeatedly expressed his desire to withdraw the United States from the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2018.
How do we know this report is true?
Mainly because of President Trump’s behavior towards our allies during the July 2018 NATO summit, where he openly challenged Germany and groused about other nations not “paying their fair share.”
And while I’ve seen many Trumpian faithful repeat his line, it pays to know the facts of the NATO agreement.
NATO was formed in 1949 as an alliance of European and North American nations, with the goal of supporting and defending each other. The gist is, if one nation is attacked, it is the same as all of the members being attacked.
Trump’s problem with other nations not paying the same as the United States is rooted in his ignorance of what NATO is, and pretty much everything else that’s important for a world leader to understand.
In 2014, NATO members pledged to invest 2 percent (or more) of their GDP on defense by 2024, with approximately 20 percent of the total amount going towards major equipment.
Only four NATO nations have met the goal, to date, but the alliance reports that another 15 are on track to meet the goal.
The United States pays the most, at this point, at 4 percent. That is voluntary. We’re not being forced to pay more. We’re not picking up anyone else’s slack. That was a diplomatic choice.
Trump’s complaint has been with cost, and he has attempted to hold our allies hostage. It’s not just about money, however. The cost can, and should also be looked at in terms of providing equipment and troops to allied missions.
Meanwhile, as the president raged, the adults attempted to hold things together.
Then-Defense Secretary James Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton worked to maintain the current U.S. strategy regarding NATO, the Times reported, but did not mention that withdrawing from NATO would benefit Russia and weaken American influence in Europe.
Indeed. There’s always that Russia element whenever President Trump seeks to upend proven and crucial American standards.
Why do you think that is?
In fact, after last year’s NATO summit, where Trump so arrogantly trashed our allies, he huddled with Russian President Vladimir Putin, then said afterwards that his talk with Putin went better than his talks with our allies.
I imagine so, considering he blustered his way into the meeting with allies, attempting to bully and demean them and their efforts, over the years, but treated the former KGB agent as a dear, trusted friend.
Multiple reports following July’s NATO summit indicated that Trump threatened to withdraw from the alliance if other countries did not commit to a spending hike. The president did not deny those reports at the time, saying he was “very firm” with allies.
No. He wasn’t “very firm.” He was outright hostile. He acted like a man with an agenda to weaken our alliances, which only strengthens our geopolitical foes.
The question is: Why?