Disqualifying Trump rhetoric: He won’t back NATO

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: Best buds to be?

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: Best buds to be?

In the latest frightening entry in the myriad reasons why America should not and must not elect Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee now says he refuses to commit to fulfilling U.S. promises to support its NATO allies.

In an interview on foreign policy with The New York Times, Trump admits to sharing his disdain for NATO with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He repeatedly made the point that the United States should not be bound to its NATO pledges if an ally is attacked and that country has means.

In Trump’s own words:

We’re talking about countries that are doing very well. Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”

On several occasions, Trump has said he would “get along very well” with Putin. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has held paid positions with the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

Trump’s intemperate statements gave foreign policy journalists much to mull over — in fear. As Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The Atlantic:

The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower. … Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.

Needless to say, Trump’s Putin-loving statements also caused shock waves throughout NATO countries and within NATO itself. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, NATO Secretary General‎ Jens Stoltenberg warned that “European security is tied to the safety of the United States.”

“Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO. This is good for European security and good for US security. We defend one another.” … Stoltenberg noted that although he did not wish to “interfere” in the U.S. election, “what I can do is say what matters for NATO.” He added, “Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States.”

Leaders in Estonia and Lithuania, two countries that fear Russian incursion, were quick to react to Trump’s words. According to the BuzzFeed story, the Estonian president tweeted after Trump’s remarks “that Estonia was one of just five countries to meet NATO’s defense spending requirements, and had committed troops to the invasion of Afghanistan.” The Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs told BuzzFeed, “There is no ground to doubt Lithuania‘s commitments, and we do not doubt [our] allies’ commitments.”

The Times interview paints a man running for president who doesn’t understand the basic tenets of a 70-year treaty with other Western nations. He repeats the conspiracy theory that the recent military coup attempt in Turkey was staged. His idea is to “bring Turkey and Kurdish forces together,” despite decades of unrest there. His diplomatic plan is to have “meetings.” And he still has his “secret plan” to fight ISIS. The whole interview is frightening.

This is also the candidate whose surrogates say he would outsource all foreign and domestic policy to his vice president, and that Trump himself would concentrate on “making America great again,” according to another report in The New York Times.

Americans have a major choice to make in November. Says Goldberg in The Atlantic:

Donald Trump, should he be elected president, would bring an end to the postwar international order, and liberate dictators, first and foremost his ally Vladimir Putin, to advance their own interests. The moral arc of the universe is long, and, if Trump is elected, it will bend in the direction of despotism and darkness.

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