DISCUSSION: Trump and NATO

DISCUSSION: Trump and NATO February 23, 2024

Donald Trump said that if NATO members hadn’t paid their pledge to devote 2% of their budget to their military, he wouldn’t protect them if they were attacked.  In fact, he would encourage the attackers:

“‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’” Trump recounted saying. “‘No I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.’”

Republicans said he wasn’t being serious, but then at a South Carolina campaign event he doubled down on his threat.

According to observers, Trump would like to withdraw from NATO completely.

In December, with support from both parties, Congress passed a bill that  prevents a president from withdrawing from NATO on his own initiative.  That would require a supermajority in the Senate or a bill from both houses.

Who would we not defend?  According to this breakdown, the U.S. spends 3.5% and all of the countries close to Russia, plus the UK are spending at least 2%, with some spending well more than that.  But not France, not Germany, not Spain, not Italy, not Canada, among many other smaller countries.  So if Canada gets attacked–say, if Russia crosses the Arctic Ocean in an invasion from the North–we wouldn’t come to its aid.

What do you think about Trump’s statement?

Does it weaken NATO just when the alliance needs to stand firm against Russian aggression?  Does it weaken American foreign policy and our influence in the world by making countries think they can’t rely on our security guarantees?  Or does it force countries to defend themselves rather than relying on the U.S. to be the world’s policeman?  If so, is that a good thing, or will it contribute to a dangerous instability in the world?

 

 

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