Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump's NATO comments scare allies, foreign competitors dancing in the streets

The first part is defininitely true. The second part? Well, read on.

Trump invoked his first foreign policy doctrine - "America first" - and provided an example of what that means in practice.

AZBlueMeanie quotes a NY Times interview with Trump.

[Trump] even called into question whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back.

For example, asked about Russia’s threatening activities that have unnerved the small Baltic States that are the most recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

NATO responded, basically saying we have and will continue to fulfill our obligations (from The Hill).

NATO officials avoid commenting on the internal affairs of member nations, but its head Jens Stoltenberg took the rare step of responding to Trump's comments in a statement.

"Solidarity among Allies is a key value for NATO," he said. "We must defend one another. We have seen this in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of European, Canadian, and partner nation troops have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with US soldiers."

Trump also suggested he would not have troops based overseas, but instead deploy them during crises.

Trump's remarks unleashed ridicule - and tutelage - at home (snippets also from The HIll).

Lindsey Graham: "I can only imagine how our allies in NATO, particularly the Baltic states, must feel after reading these comments from Mr. Trump. I’m 100 percent certain how Russian President Putin feels: He’s a very happy man," he added.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a staunch critic of Trump, issued a statement touting the importance of NATO allies.

"Our friends should draw strength and our adversaries should take pause from this simple fact: Americans keep our word," he said. "As Mr. Putin revives Soviet-style aggression and the threat of violent Islam looms over European and American cities, the United States stands with our NATO allies."

Graham again: "If Mr. Trump is serious about wanting to be Commander in Chief he needs to better understand the job which is to provide leadership for the United States and the free world," he said.

Is America about to elect a president who has no experience in foreign policy? And probably does not care and will hand off the job to someone else.

We cannot afford a president who needs on-the-job training.

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