Donald Trump has once again put the security of the United States, and the world, at risk. During an interview with The New York Times, Trump was asked whether he would honor the U.S.’s commitment to protect our NATO allies. The GOP nominee responded that he would have to make sure those member states were contributing to the alliance.
This is the first time the nominee for a major party has openly considered a refusal to fulfill our obligations to NATO. It should be noted that the US is one of the founding members of the alliance. Furthermore, Article Five, the mutual defense portion of the treaty, has only been invoked in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks where NATO pledged to come to the defense of the US.
Trump’s proposal to abandon NATO prompted a response from the organization’s leader. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, of Norway, said he wasn’t trying to get involved in the US elections, but felt that Trump’s statement’s merited a response due to their impact on the alliance.
‘I will not interfere in the U.S. election campaign, but what I can do is say what matters for NATO. solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO.’
Trump’s Ties To Russia:
The question specifically dealt with the issue of some of the most recent members of the NATO: the Baltic States. Russia has repeatedly threatened its smaller neighbors and many fear an attack. Trump said that he would only defend those countries if they had “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
It is especially interesting that the question focused on Russia, considering Trump’s close ties to the nation. His business interests and calls for Russia to hack the DNC’s private servers have led some to question his loyalty to the US. Trump has repeatedly denied that he has any business interests in Russia, but that is not entirely true. He has refused to release his tax returns so we can’t verify whether or not he has investments in Russia, but we do know his businesses have received money from Russian investors and that he wants to build property in Moscow.
Furthermore, Trump has a long history of sucking up to Putin and other Russian oligarchs. He has repeatedly praised the dictator for his “leadership” and has said that he and Putin get along well together. At one point, he even asked if Putin would be his new best friend.
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2013
In fairness to Trump, he might not be giving Russia any special treatment. He has repeatedly said that that he he would withdraw US troops from Asia and Europe if our allies refused to pay more for protection. The GOP nominee argues that the US can no longer afford to spend so much money on the defense of its allies.
In fact, economics has been a constant theme for Trump when discussing the country’s role in the world. Trump has talked a lot about what a great businessman and negotiator he is and he seems to want to apply that to all aspects of U.S. foreign policy.
In short, he is reducing everything to economic terms. That approach might have some appeal for people who believe the US is losing on the global stage or have been hit by hard economic times, but it isn’t consistent with the the country’s role as a global leader. Some things, such as peacekeeping or protecting human rights, are not merely questions of economics.
Featured image via Getty Images.