Trumps’ NATO Comments

So before I hose the RNC slime out of my brain in preparation for bashing the Democrats this week, I want to focus on what must be on the dumbest and most dangerous things Trump has said so far.

He even called into question whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back.

For example, asked about Russia’s threatening activities that 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 whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

Hot Air has the full transcript of the interview and this is not a misquote. Trump says he doesn’t want Putin to know what he’d do and then waffles on defending NATO nations that haven’t “paid their bills” (which is rich, coming from a man who has routinely stiffed contractors). The issue of NATO nations contributing more to their defense is legitimate; waffling on whether we would defend them if attacked is … not.

Trump defenders are saying he would defend the Baltics since they are up to date. But Gingrich said the Baltics weren’t worth a war. And the Trump defenders are ignoring the biggest problem with Trump’s remarks: it’s not about whether he would defend the Baltic or not; it’s about the uncertainty he is creating in a volatile region.

Trump has done this repeatedly on foreign policy, refusing to give straight answers to straight questions because, he says, he wants to be “unpredictable”.

“Unpredictability” is a good thing if you’re the Offensive Coordinator for Ohio State. It’s a bad thing in foreign policy. It’s a very bad thing. Because uncertainty about the US’s intentions and actions encourages bad actors to act badly. It encourages aggressors to test our resolve. Many of the bloodiest conflicts of the Cold War erupted because the Communists didn’t know if we’d support our allies.

Morrissey again, from the link above:

This kind of talk from prospective Commanders-in-Chief is no mere academic or political exercise; it’s actively dangerous. In fact, one needs no better example than the fumbled diplomacy of the George H. W. Bush administration in regard to Kuwait and Iraq, and that didn’t even involve Bush directly. As Hussein built up forces along the Kuwait border in the summer of 1990, the Bush administration seemed to go out of its way to express its indifference.

All of the incentives for Putin are set up for another “liberating” action, except for the fact that the US has pledged to act to defend the Baltic states militarily. One can argue that Putin’s expansionism has been set in motion in part through the vacillation and incompetence of the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton “reset” policies with Russia and doubts about Obama’s intestinal fortitude after the Syrian “red line” retreat. But at least Obama has never publicly suggested that we would fail to honor Article V in Europe itself.

Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia have already done quite a bit for us lately. Anyone aspiring to lead the US shouldn’t have to have that, or the ramifications of a retreat from Article V, explained to them on the campaign trail.

We want the world to know what we will do. We want them to know we will defend our allies. We want them to know we will respond when attacked. We want them to know that we will not tolerate bald aggression. We want the response of the world’s most powerful nation to be as predictable as the sun rising in the East. Because that keeps bad actors at bay. If aggressive leaders know that our response will be quick, decisive and overwhelming, that makes them far less likely to challenge us.

We know this. Republicans know this. If Hillary Clinton or John Kerry or Barack Obama had said anything like this, the Right would be going apeshit (and, to be fair, many conservatives like Morrissey are).

This is what I mean when I say that Trump could start a war by accident. It’s not just that he’s inexperienced and ignorant; it’s that he’s shown absolutely no interest in becoming unignorant. Trump has been running for President for a year and been the presumptive nominee for months. He should know more about these issues than … well … than I do.

This problem is only going to propagate. This week, we are going to see the DNC roll out one of the most breathtakingly socialistic platforms we have ever seen from a major candidate: public option, expanded Medicare, expanded Medicaid, “free” college, $15 minimum wage, “free” daycare, “free” pre-K, expanded Social Security. It is possible to turn the public against a candidate offering them a boatload of free stuff. But it takes skill and knowledge. I have seen little evidence that Trump has either. It would not surprise me at all if, in the debate, he went ahead and ceded major portions of the DNC’s agenda.

So … as I keep saying, here we are. Two leftists vying to see whether they can bankrupt us before the next great war. Charming.

Post Scriptum: Trump’s comments, in combination with a possible Russian role in the hacking of the DNC’s e-mails, has lead to conspiracy theories that Trump is a Russian stooge. I find these theories … far-fetched to say the least. Trump is many things but he’s not a traitor.

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  1. AlexInCT

    Why shouldn’t we be telling NATO members that they needed to pay for their own defense? The worst thing we did is foot the bill for these assholes that then, to show their gratitude that they now had even more money to use in their vote buying socialist shitty system, decided to criticize everything we did. With friends like these, who needs enemies? I hate to now have to do the same shit for Trump that I constantly have to do for Boosh whenever you post, but Trump’s comment was that our allies have not been great allies and should actually be called out on that and expected to do their fair share instead of just letting the American tax payer foot the bills and then pissing on our legs and telling us it is warm rain. Besides, nobody has done more to damage the assumption that the US was a reliable ally than Obama, and anyone that doesn’t think Clinton will be worse is delusional.

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  2. AlexInCT

    Post Scriptum: Trump’s comments, in combination with a possible Russian role in the hacking of the DNC’s e-mails, has lead to conspiracy theories that Trump is a Russian stooge. I find these theories … far-fetched to say the least. Trump is many things but he’s not a traitor.

    I prefer the analysis that says this is the Russians trying to remind Hillary that she needs to stay bought. A guy like Trump would not be good for the Russians (or the Chinese), but Clinton certainly would. After all, both have already bought her services. This is just them making sure she doesn’t get too uppity and remembers who her masters are.

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  3. CM

    I prefer the analysis that says this is the Russians trying to remind Hillary that she needs to stay bought. 

    Yesterday you were posting evidence that it was a Romanian who hates Russia. What the actual fuck?

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Why shouldn’t we be telling NATO members that they needed to pay for their own defense?

    1) The Baltics are paying their share under the NATO treaty. This is the sort of thing that should be known by, you know, a Presidential candidate.

    2) The discussion of whether they should pay more is legit.  Couching in, “Well, maybe we won’t honor our treaty obligations” language is deranged and dangerous.

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  5. AlexInCT

    Yesterday you were posting evidence that it was a Romanian who hates Russia. What the actual fuck?

    Really? Citation please. You must have me confused with someone else. The guy the media claims did the hacking might have been a Romanian, but I have not talked about this topic until this specific post. To be honest with you I am not sure it is the Russians either. The only thing that makes sense if it was them doing this, is that Clinton pissed them off on some deal they had, and they are now reminding her they own her. But that’s still a stretch for me as I am sure they would lover her in charge. They do own her after all. Or maybe they are pissed the Chinese own her more?

    1) The Baltics are paying their share under the NATO treaty. This is the sort of thing that should be known by, you know, a Presidential candidate.

    Who do you consider to be in this entity called “the Baltics”?  I ask, because I can tell you for a fact that the Western Europeans have not been paying their fair share. If you are referring to Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, which I suspect you are doing so you can deflect from the fact that countries like Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, and so on all have been making Uncle Sam foot their bills, then I remind you that they just recently joined (in the grand scheme of things) and they would definitely be paying their fair share considering their subjugation by the collectivist dream team. There is a reason that former eastern block nations  take their obligations seriously.

    You however are being disingenuous by implying Trump is making an argument that has not been made before by plenty of others, and that he was not referring to our traditional NATO allies, whom have really f-ed us over by not just not paying their fair share, but reneging on their commitments as well by dragging their feet (because they claim they lack the resources they were responsible for of all things).

    2) The discussion of whether they should pay more is legit.  Couching in, “Well, maybe we won’t honor our treaty obligations” language is deranged and dangerous.

    Really? Because I remember Obama using the same tactic to excuse ourselves from other obligations (Iraq, Afghanistan, and even NATO itself) only to be told he was such a statement for standing strong against people taking advantage of US generosity. So what is it? Can’t have it both ways unless you are willing to admit you are a partisan hack.

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  6. Hal_10000 *

    You however are being disingenuous by implying Trump is making an argument that has not been made before by plenty of others, and that he was not referring to our traditional NATO allies,

    He was not.  He was specifically asked about the Baltics.  You’re the one being disingenuous here. And regardless of whether they have paid the bills, we don’t waffle in the face of Russian aggression.

    For fuck’s sake, Alex, we have endured YEARS of complaining about Obama refusing to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” because it does … something.  Yet here we have a Presidential candidate waffling about whether he would stand up to Russian aggression by a leader known to be pressing the West to see how they’ll react.  This is way worse.  And if it were Clinton who said it, you’d be having a fit right now.

    Really? Because I remember Obama using the same tactic to excuse ourselves from other obligations (Iraq, Afghanistan, and even NATO itself) only to be told he was such a statement for standing strong against people taking advantage of US generosity.

    Do you make this up as you go? We are still in Afghanistan. We are still in Iraq. We have never abandoned a NATO ally or hinted we would abandon a NATO ally. Nor have I ever advocated we should.  And saying that other countries should pull their own weight is not the same thing as rolling out the red carpet for Putin.

    Talking about partisan hackery. You’re criticizing Obama for something he didn’t do while forgiving Trump for something he actually did.

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  7. AlexInCT

    He was not.  He was specifically asked about the Baltics.  You’re the one being disingenuous here.

    Citation please, cause I don’t remember that at all.

    And regardless of whether they have paid the bills, we don’t waffle in the face of Russian aggression.

    Yeah, tell that to the Crimea and the Ukrainians.

    For fuck’s sake, Alex, we have endured YEARS of complaining about Obama refusing to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” because it does … something.  Yet here we have a Presidential candidate waffling about whether he would stand up to Russian aggression by a leader known to be pressing the West to see how they’ll react.

    Really? This is your defense? Let me ask you a question: why do you think Putin, and frankly every other petty tyrant on this planet, has suddenly gone all macho and gung-ho? Here is a hint: it has to do with the same weak ass bitch that can’t say “Islamic terrorism” – to use your words – “waffling“.

    This is way worse.  

    On what fucking planet? And just to be clear if that previous comment didn’t give it away: no it is not. When was the last time Russians killed innocent people and we wouldn’t even say it was because of their ideology, while people were dancing in the streets of Russian cities because innocents were butchered? If the Russians are a problem today it is because of the woman you and CM have been telling me is the better qualified one to hold the office. Here you are mincing Trumps words and calling it dangerous while completely ignoring that if it was not for Obama and the Clinton State Department and the policies of the last 7 years the Russians wouldn’t be this emboldened.

    And if it were Clinton who said it, you’d be having a fit right now.

    Actually I am far more concerned with what Clinton has done and will keep doing than what she says, because Russia, China, Iran, ISIS, and a slew of other bad actors are what they are today because of the genius foreign policy that for example, in the Russian’s case, involved the use of a Staples “Reset” button with incorrectly spelled Russian to boot, to try to suck up to Putin. And no, if Clinton actually told our NATO allies to pull their fucking weight, I would actually finally find something I would agree with her on.

    Do you make this up as you go? We are still in Afghanistan. We are still in Iraq.

    You mean we are deploying troops back there now that the situation went critical mass, after Obama’s pull out fucked things up, right? Because otherwise YOU are the one making shit up. Google it. We withdrew because Obama threatened the Iraqi leadership for not doing what he wanted, then after shit went south and ISIS reared its ugly head, we started rotating troops back into Iraq. Rinse and repeat for Afghanistan.

    We have never abandoned a NATO ally or hinted we would abandon a NATO ally.

    I think the Europeans will disagree.

    And saying that other countries should pull their own weight is not the same thing as rolling out the red carpet for Putin.

    Wait a minute? Are you now agreeing with Trump after making the case that he was telling them they might as well go Russian? What was this about?

    Talking about partisan hackery. You’re criticizing Obama for something he didn’t do while forgiving Trump for something he actually did.

    Yeah, sure. You must think you are talking to someone that doesn’t pay attention or know what is going on. If you want more examples of the Obama foreign policy, vis a vis Iraq/Afghanistan, NATO, or even Russia let me know. I can give them to you to help fill the gaps you have from getting all your news from the DNC operatives with bylines that pretend to be the media.

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  8. CM

    Really? Citation please. You must have me confused with someone else. The guy the media claims did the hacking might have been a Romanian, but I have not talked about this topic until this specific post. 

    Alex, trolling me in the “Color me surprised!” thread:

    Don’t worry, Clinton’s campaign manager has a CM level deflection: the Russians are behind it because they want Trump. A 3rd grader can see through that mountain illogic.

    Latest:

    FBI Suspects Russia Hacked DNC; U.S. Officials Say It Was to Elect Donald Trump

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/25/fbi-suspects-russia-hacked-dnc-u-s-officials-say-it-was-to-elect-donald-trump.html

    “That mountain illogic” was and is actually logic. That you no longer can tell the difference because you’ve well and truly disappeared down the rabbit-hole is irrelevant.

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  9. tomchamberlain

    Post Scriptum: Trump’s comments, in combination with a possible Russian role in the hacking of the DNC’s e-mails, has lead to conspiracy theories that Trump is a Russian stooge. I find these theories … far-fetched to say the least. Trump is many things but he’s not a traitor.

    It is possible, and I’d argue likely, that they just both want NATO to fall apart.  For Putin NATO is an existential threat.  Because it puts NATO troops about 150 miles from St. Petersburg and Putin thinks the words NATO and U.S. synonyms for each other.  Keep in mind that number was 1000 miles when there was a USSR and Putin has said the collapse of the USSR was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.

    Putin wanting NATO dead is not a secret by the way.  RT (Russian TV) has been pushing political parties in France and Germany that support leaving NATO.

    On the Trump side I think he probably thinks NATO is expensive and useless. Countries have no permanent friends or enemies so deals like NATO always fall apart eventually.  WWI was basically fought between royal families that were related to each other.  If that alliance didn’t hold it is hard to believe something like NATO will.

    This is particularly relevant at a time when Turkey, a NATO member, is holding a U.S. base hostage.  Denying them electricity and preventing them from leaving the base are not acts of a partner.

    For the record, if it isn’t clear from the above, I agree that NATO is pointless.  Realistically it is a fiction in this day and age.  If Putin went “all-in” to conquer Estonia the U.S. is not going to stop that.  I’m sorry but that’s true.  We are not going to wage total war over Estonia.  At the same time if Russia decided to conquer Ireland (not a NATO member) we absolutely would do everything to stop it (because Great Britain is our closest ally and a conquered Ireland is an existential threat to them).  So NATO is a fiction and that fiction costs us $700 billion dollars a year.

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  10. AlexInCT

    Alex, trolling me in the “Color me surprised!” thread:

    Ah, so you are attributing an article that mentions a Romanian hacker as one of the many people that hacked Clinton & the DNC for your claim that I was saying it was a Romanian? I linked the article to show the DNC had been hacked. I neither commented or speculated about who did it, but you, in your infinite wisdom, decided that because the article mentioned a Romanian hacker I had made a claim that the hacker was a Romanian. Brilliant! (that was me being sarcastic you douche).

    FBI Suspects Russia Hacked DNC; U.S. Officials Say It Was to Elect Donald Trump

    Is that the same FBI that let Clinton off the hook on a clear crime that should have landed her in jail on the ludicrous argument that nobody can divine intent, as if ignorance of any law Uncle Sam invoked to prosecute spies was ever allowed as an excuse. I am not saying it can’t be true, but I won’t buy it as a fait accompli until someone else corroborates it. Especially after the email revelations we are getting from the DNC treasure trove showing how these people manipulate everything for political advantage.

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  11. CM

    I neither commented or speculated about who did it

    You are correct, I have incorrectly attributed that to you. I was wrong, and apologise. I’ve just gone back over my internet history from yesterday and found the link (below), which was in the middle of all yours from that post. I mistakenly had it in my head that it came from you as well. Clearly I did a search of my in the middle of checking your links.

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/dnc-hacker-guccifer-20-full-interview-transcript

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  12. Hal_10000 *

    Citation please,

    Alex, did you just pick up this phrase? You need to think about what it means. The citation is at the top of the article where I link directly to quotes from Trump.  It’s right there. One click. Quit saying, “citation please” when you’re just wrong.

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  13. tomchamberlain

    @AlexInCT – Wikileaks connection to the Kremlin is pretty well documented.  Those ties were documented long before this scandal.  I mean, they helped extract a Russian spy for God’s sakes (Snowden).

    Or look at the Panama Papers.  In that case the documents clearly exposed dirty dealings by Putin.  This is something Wikileaks should love regardless of how it was funded (almost certainly by George Soros and the U.S. Government).  But instead the Wikileaks twitter account defended Putin’s honor.  Those tweets were then top of the news on RT.

    The fact that Russia wants Trump elected does not necessarily sully his candidacy.   If you are trying to convince people you should really keep that in mind.  Because trying to say Russia is on the other side at this point just comes across as foolish.

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