Monday, June 12, 2017

Trump is still clueless on NATO

JMM is really giving the President much more credit than he deserves here. This is not some cunning plot to undermine NATO (even though I do agree that Trump has a degree of unthinking hostility to the alliance), it is based on Trump's basic ignorance of what NATO is. For almost a year, this has been one of my pet issues. See here and here and here and here.

Since the debates with Clinton it has been clear that Trump thinks that NATO is some kind of U.S.-led protection racket. While someone probably told him that NATO members are supposed to pay 2% of the GDP on defense and that many members have not met that goal (never mind that the deadline for that goal is 2024), Trump clearly believes NATO allies are obligated to pay the United States, and not just spend money to increase their military. His remarks about backpay during his news conference with the Romanian president only make sense if that is what he had in mind.

Once again, Trump is not engaging in a clever strategy to undermine the alliance. He is just an ignoramus who has little idea what it is he is criticizing and does not seem inclined or capable of learning the truth. Marshall should go back to using his Trump's razor.