Assessing how much damage Donald Trump has done to American democratic institutions and our broader standing in the world is a bit like trying to getting a sense of a hurricane’s devastation while standing in the middle of it. Only after he has left office will we as a country get a second to step back, catch our breath, and tally up the staggering cost of electing a psychopathic reality TV star to the presidency.
One thing that is certain is that Trump’s successor will have a herculean effort ahead of him or her as they work to repair our country’s international relationships. It’s as if every time Trump opens his mouth he alienates one of our allies or pushes us closer to war with one of our longtime adversaries. Constant attacks on NATO have been one of the trademarks of his rhetoric and so his new push for the historic western alliance to take a larger role in the Middle East came as a surprise to many.
Earlier today, he expanded on this new idea of his to reporters. Trump claimed that he had a “great conversation” with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about the topic and that he thinks Stoltenberg is “excited” about the idea. Ridiculously, the president who feels the need to leave his stamp on everything even if it’s a cosmetic change devoid of any material alterations suggested a new name for NATO.
“And I actually had a name. NATO, right? And then you have ME, Middle East? You’d call it NATOME. I said ‘What a beautiful name.’ NATOME,” Trump blathered. Nobody seems to have pointed out to the president that NATOME is a gibberish acronym since it breaks down to “North Atlantic Treaty Organization Middle East.”
Once he got started patting himself on the back for his naming skills, he couldn’t stop.
“I’m good at names right?” Trump went on. “USMCA? Like the song YMCA. Nobody could remember USMCA. I said think of the song YMCA, now everybody says it. They don’t remember the previous name of a bad deal okay? Commonly known as NAFTA,” Trump bragged before returning to the topic of NATO.
“No, if you add the two words Middle East at the end of it because that’s a big problem, that’s a big source of problems and NATOME, doesn’t that work beautifully John? Think of that. NATO plus me,” rambled Trump before sketching out his incoherent vision for how this updated version of the alliance would function.
NATO will most likely pretend to humor Trump and then ignore his suggestion. Or perhaps the president’s infamously short attention span will get the better of him and he’ll drop this weird renaming fetish before moving on to something else. In any case, it should be clear to everyone now that we are in dire need of a leader who takes our national security and alliances seriously. We need someone who will focus on the important details and mission of NATO instead of pointlessly fussing over its name.