In addition to his appalling comments regarding the United States’ commitment to NATO, President Donald Trump took things a step further, refusing to condemn Russia and justifying his growing friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin was wholly appropriate because we were allies with that nation during World War II.
During an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Trump was asked by the pundit whether he considered the Kremlin an adversary or not. The president apparently didn’t like the wording of the question.
“I don’t want to use the word 'adversary,’” Trump said. “We can work together, everybody can do well, and we can live in peace.”
Those noble intentions would be great, except for the fact that Russia attacked our democratic institutions and interfered with our elections in 2016. Trump doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge those attacks, as evidenced in his meeting with Putin in Helsinki earlier this week.
Trump elaborated on his defense of Russia, citing that the U.S. allied itself with the nation in the latter half of the second World War. “Russia lost 50 million people and helped us win the war,” the president said.
Trump may want to brush up on his history, because he's missing a lot of context. His comments disregard the decades-long Cold War that pitted America against Russia for most of the the second half of the 20th century.
Relations with Russia did not improve after the end of the Cold War, either, and for the president to state that he justifies his attempts at getting closer with Russia because of their involvement in World War II is an oversimplification of historical record.
Trump’s continued push to justify his friendliness with Putin should worry every American. Diplomacy is one thing, but Trump is completely disregarding Russia’s attacks on our elections, and that should not be allowed to stand unchallenged.
President Donald Trump has had a busy week, with a rather disastrous NATO summit and then a much worse summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, among the entire backlash over his treatment of allies and apparent siding with Putin over U.S. intelligence, one of the POTUS’ tactics has remained constant: Misleading facts to make himself look better.
During an interview with Tucker Carlson, Trump said something, that he has said for a very long time now, despite the fact that it is a very misleading statement: the U.S. pays for 90 percent of the cost to defend Europe.
Trump blatantly lies about NATO funding, claims US pays "90 percent of the costs." (The US pays 22 percent.) pic.twitter.com/tvTB4dsOuO— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 18, 2018
This is simply not true.
According to PolitiFact, Trump’s numbers are faulty, even if the entire U.S. defense budget is considered. The United Sates spends most on defense among all other NATO countries but that defense spending is for the entire globe and not just for NATO allies.
Even if the number is considered true, the figure only rises up to 70 percent and not 90 — like Trump has repeatedly claimed.
...Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment. On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
The U.S. actually contributes 22 percent of NATO’s common funding, closely followed by Germany at 15 percent.
So, to present U.S.’ entire defense budget against countries that have significantly smaller GDPs is grossly misleading. However, Trump still has portrayed the false numbers as facts.
During the same interview the president seemingly questioned the purpose of the NATO alliance.
Trump says he's bothered by provisions of NATO that require the US to come to the defense of other member countries. pic.twitter.com/2xY1FjBTSn— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 18, 2018
“Membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member who has been attacked,” Carlson said. “Let’s say Montenegro — which joined last year — is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”
Trump has apparently asked that question himself, suggesting the U.S. shouldn’t have to defend its NATO allies, alienating the entire purpose of the alliance.
“I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question,” Trump said. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people… they might get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War lll.”
The NATO alliance was built on the foundation that allies will defend each other when needed.
Trump’s apparent reluctance at defending its allies is also quite ironic, since the only time the NATO alliance’s unified defense article has been invoked, since its inception in 1949, was on Sep. 11, 2001 — to help out the United States amidst terror attacks.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Leah Millis