Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doubled down once again on his determination to force the United States to renege on its foreign commitments and abandon our allies to the predatory machinations of rival superpowers. Trump told the New York Times this morning that he would be placing “conditions” for defending our allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Agreement (NATO) against aggression from the Russian Federation, an astounding move that flies in the face of sixty years of American foreign policy that unilaterally makes the world – and our nation – a much more dangerous place.
Trump declared that in the event of a Russian attack on the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, he would only step in to defend them if “they had met their obligations,” and was characteristically vague about what that would entail. Such a deviation undermines the entire concept of NATO, which is based on collective security – an attack on one is an attack on all – and threatens to upend the entire balance of international geopolitical power. “We’re spending a fortune on military and losing $800 billion a year!” he said, referring to trade deficits.
The two sums are unrelated, and in fact our trade deficit is only $41 billion. He then added that he would “love to have a good relationship” with the Russian Federation and its dictator, Vladimir Putin.
It’s clear where Trump is getting this kind of advice from – three of his foreign policy “advisers have close ties to the Russian dictatorship. Paul Manafort, his campaign manager, is known as the “Butcher’s Lobbyist” for his work sanitizing the image of murderous dictatorships across the world- including with Russia’s puppet government in the Ukraine under Viktor Yanukovych, who pillaged the country of its wealth before the Euromaidan protests forced him to flee to his masters in Russia.
Manafort worked to improve Yanukovych’s image and make the Russian plant appear more acceptable to the West. “It was a weird thing for the people in Ukraine, because they could not imagine how an American strategist agreed to cooperate with Putin’s friend. It was confusing. But Manafort played a decisive role in the victory of Yanukovych.”
The head of NATO slammed Trump for his comments, saying that “Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO. This is good for European security and this is good for U.S. security. We defend one another. Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States.”
He is correct. America is much safer and has many more proverbial cards on the table when we project our power overseas. Isolationalism in the 1930s led to almost all of Europe falling under the yoke of Nazi Germany; the collective security of NATO has played a key role in preventing larger-scale conflicts in the world. As the Russian Federation eyes its former satellites in Eastern Europe and the People’s Republic of China moves aggressively into the South China Sea, maintaining American power to keep the forces of totalitarianism in check is as urgent as it ever has been. We cannot allow this bumbling idiot and his Putinist traitors to upend the bedrock of global security .
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.