Prior to delivering a speech at AIPAC, Donald Trump outlined a foreign policy that sounds like President Obama’s foreign policy, not like a mainstream conservative’s foreign policy. On Monday, Trump told “The Washington Post’s editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War.”
That sounds frighteningly like President Obama’s leading from behind doctrine. The Trump Doctrine, for lack of a better term for questioning NATO’s importance, is to the left of Rand Paul’s foreign policy. That’s frightening by itself because Sen. Paul’s foreign policy was slightly to the left of President Obama’s foreign policy.
Of course, this mistake won’t hurt Trump with his true believers. Still, it’s proof that Mr. Trump still hasn’t passed the commander-in-chief test with serious people. That statement won’t sit well with Trump’s supporters, who will undoubtedly say they don’t want an establishment candidate getting elected.
There’s nothing establishment about standing with our NATO allies. They’ve fought with US troops. They’ve helped liberate nations that have been attacked. Standing with allies strengthens America. It doesn’t weaken the United States. After 9/11, NATO invoked Article 5, which says “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.” This statement is frighteningly ill-informed:
“Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting,” Trump said.
Thus far, the Obama administration’s contribution to the Ukraine has been shipping them MREs, aka Meals Ready to Eat. If Mr. Trump thinks that that’s “doing all the lifting”, then he isn’t qualified to be our next commander-in-chief. Abandoning long-time allies while retreating from the world sounds like President Obama.
What’s important to notice is that Trump said this the day before ISIS’ terrorist attacks in Brussels, the home of NATO.
Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. “We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,” Trump said, adding later, “NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.”
If Trump wants to argue that the United States should negotiate a better reimbursement rate from NATO, that’s fine. That isn’t what he recommended, though. He recommended that U.S. participation in NATO “may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years.” That’s pretty much the definition of President Obama’s leading from behind policy.
Mr. Trump’s doctrine would lead the United States to return to its isolationist policies that caused the Great Depression and led to World War II. If Mr. Trump thinks that NATO is expensive, he should consider how expensive it is to wage a war against messianic Islamic terrorists.
That’s the definition of expensive.