In a segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this Monday, co-host Joe Scarborough ripped recent commentary from Donald Trump, who suggested at a campaign rally in South Carolina that he’d encourage Russia to advance militarily on NATO allies if they fell short of ostensible financial obligations.
Trump claimed that he expressed this antagonistic stance when still president in an interaction with another world leader. Scarborough doubted it ever happened.
Trump is “now so desperate to support Vladimir Putin and undercut America’s allies in Europe, he’s making up a ‘Sir’ story,” Scarborough exclaimed, referring to Trump’s penchant for telling possibly tall tales in which someone addresses him as “sir.” “It’s not even a good lie for Donald Trump! This is — you can tell he’s losing it. He’s losing his touch. […] This guy will do anything to justify defending and supporting Vladimir Putin and getting us all ready for — this is the dangerous part. When he’s president again, he’s getting us ready for him to be an autocrat.”
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) runs on an agreement for mutual defense that’s activated in the event a member country is attacked, establishing serious deterrence that covers member countries large and small across continents. Trump has consistently misrepresented the nature of the claimed financial obligations associated with NATO, which in fact are agreed levels for individual countries to spend on their own national defenses. They’re not organizational dues, though that’s the direction Trump heads. If every NATO member successfully reached the level of spending in the original, long-term agreement, much of it presumably would never directly even intersect with the U.S. They’re not “delinquent.”
Congress and President Joe Biden established new legal guardrails for U.S. participation in NATO, blocking via provisions in the most recent national defense spending bill the possibility of a president on their own withdrawing the United States from the alliance.