If elected president, Donald Trump would not only build a wall around the U.S.-Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it, ban Muslims from entering the country and bomb the Middle East, but also may abandon a guarantee of protection to fellow NATO countries.
On the eve of his official Republican nomination, the loud-mouthed real estate mogul told The New York Times that if Russia were to attack any of the 28 NATO allies, the U.S. would decide whether to defend them or not only after assessing if those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”
“If they fulfill our obligations to us, the answer is yes,” Trump answered, adding that other countries should start sharing more of the defense costs borne by Washington, D.C.
He also said the U.S. must learn to “fix our own mess” before interfering in other countries’ business, noting that it is “time to take care of America first.”
Talking about the recent military coup attempt in Turkey, which many believe was orchestrated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself, Trump said he would not criticize Turkey for cracking down on political opponents and restricting civil liberties.
“I don’t think we have a right to lecture,” the former reality TV star added. “Look at what is happening in our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?”
Essentially, Trump, being the businessman that he is, would abandon the country’s role as protector of human rights until it provides some form of economic benefit to his government. Breaking away from U.S. foreign policy tradition, he would base his approach solely on economic interests, even if it means ignoring the country’s responsibilities as a peacekeeper.
“We are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion [in trade losses],” the resident hate-monger asserted. “That doesn’t sound very smart to me.”
What’s more interesting, however, is the fact that Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, said the business mogul would stand with U.S. allies right after the presidential hopeful told the New York Times that he might not.
Forget the Republican Party as a whole — even the running mates can't manage to get on the same page.
Twitterati also had a lot to say about this.
i know it’s not a wacky plagiarism scandal, but trump saying he might refuse to fulfill NATO treaty obligations strikes me as a big deal— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) July 21, 2016
@HillaryClinton Trump just told the Russians that he may not defend our NATO allies. Wow. He just handed you the presidency.— David Gutting (@DavidGutting) July 21, 2016
Trump on NATO amounts to: I'm going to be sufficiently vague and shake down allies in crisis in a way most likely to trigger nuclear war.— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 21, 2016
Trump has basically made our NATO treaty into a Blackwater contract.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 21, 2016
Good news: Trump says if Russia invades NATO allies, he'll consider doing nothing. More good news: Trump says Erdogan is doing a great job.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 21, 2016
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yuri Gripas