Donald J. Trump, on the eve of accepting the Republican nomination for president, explicitly raised new questions on Wednesday about his commitment to automatically defending NATO allies if they are attacked, saying he would first look at their contributions to the alliance.As Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:
Asked about Russia’s threatening activities, which have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
These sorts of equivocating, mercenary statements -- unprecedented in the history of Republican foreign policymaking -- represent an invitation to Putin to intervene more destructively in non-NATO countries such as Ukraine and Moldova, and also represent an invitation to intervene directly in NATO countries -- the Baltic states, first and foremost.Kevin Drum put it more pithily: "Donald Trump Just Invited Russia to Attack Eastern Europe."
Trump wants to destabilize NATO and doesn't care if World War III starts. Hillary Clinton wants to appoint left-centrist judges to the Supreme Court. Verdict from the vast majority of Very Serious Republicans: "The choice is clear! Hillary's too dangerous!"
But my favorite hot take on this is from American Enterprise Institute "scholar" Danielle Pletka. She hears Trump's words and is angry at -- wait for it -- President Obama:
Four more years: Trump channels ObamaYes, you know how "the Obama credo 'nation building here at home'" has led to a complete rejection of engagement in the world on the part of the Obama administration ... if you don't count the bin Laden killing, or the drone wars, or the intervention in Libya, or the continuation of the war in Afghanistan past the end of his term, or ...
In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ended a staggering repudiation of 75 years of American foreign policy thusly, “We are going to take care of this country first,” he said, “before we worry about everyone else in the world.”
Sounds familiar, no? This is the logical extension of the Obama credo “nation building here at home”, a signature of his first presidential campaign. Indeed, the entire interview read like a replay of the last eight years. Putin and Erdogan are good fellows, and America, according to both Obama and Trump, are in no moral position to tell them what to do. Like Obama’s suggestion that our allies are “free riders” on American largesse, so too Donald Trump believes that NATO allies only merit fulfillment of crucial obligations if they’ve “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
And Obama does want allies to play a greater role in their own defense -- but he's not threatening to reject treaty obligations as a result.
More from Pletka:
The reality is that increasingly, there are two parties in America, and they are not the Democratic and Republican parties. They are the isolationist party and the internationalist party; Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump are the party of retrenchment, aiming to build physical or figurative walls around the nation, grow the government, turn the economy inward, and disdain the complex and messy world outside.Obama is an "isolation," and Clinton might be. Someone please inform the Berners and Steiniacs.
It remains to be seen whether Hillary Clinton, in light of her party’s leftward lurch, will be the internationalist she has fashioned herself to be over recent years..
Either way, those who believe in American leadership in the world face no easy choices in 2016.Um, Danielle? Two people can win the presidency this year. One of them is Donald Trump. This is the easiest presidential choice of our lifetime.
This piece was brought to my attention on Twitter by AEI president Arthur Brooks, who oversees this toxic waste dump and then, in his spare time, gets The New York Times to publish piffle ("What Your Vacation Says About You"; "We Need Optimists"; "Looking for the Perfect Gift? Social Science Can Help") under his byline. Two takeaways: The Times has terrible taste in people named Brooks, and right-wingers will blame Democrats for anything.