Apparently Donald Trump wants to
destroy reorganize the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), sees the European Union (EU) as a competitor, and thinks that Germany is an enemy of the United States:
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called NATO obsolete, predicted that other European Union members would follow the U.K. in leaving the bloc and threatened BMW with import duties over a planned plant in Mexico, according to an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper that will raise concerns in Berlin over trans-Atlantic relations.
Quoted in German from a conversation held in English, Trump predicted Britain’s exit from the EU will be a success and portrayed the EU as an instrument of German domination with the purpose of beating the U.S. in international trade. For that reason, Trump said, he’s fairly indifferent whether the EU breaks up or stays together, according to Bild.
Trump’s reported comments leave little doubt that he will stick to campaign positions and may in some cases upend decades of U.S. foreign policy, putting him fundamentally at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues from free trade and refugees to security and the EU’s role in the world. On Russia, he suggested he might use economic sanctions imposed for Vladimir Putin’s encroachment on Ukraine as leverage in nuclear-arms reduction talks, while NATO, he said, “has problems.”
“It’s obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago,” Trump was quoted as saying about the trans-Atlantic military alliance. “Secondly, countries aren’t paying what they should” and NATO “didn’t deal with terrorism.”
Garry Kasparov sums this up rather succinctly:
Every FP position Trump takes, starting from total ignorance around year ago, is on Putin’s wish list. Brexit, Ukraine, NATO, EU, Merkel.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) January 15, 2017
And, as we all know, there’s never a better time to disrupt long-standing alliances and institutions than while deliberately increasing tensions with your only potential peer competitor.
Just to keep track, Trump has now gone from saying that the US should expand its nuclear arsenal to suggesting that he would use
a nuclear arms-control agreement as a pretext for lifting sanctions on Russia economic sanctions on Russia as a ‘lever’ for a nuclear arms-control agreement. Mattis and Tillerson both pledged support for NATO and condemned Russian efforts to attack the liberal order; a few days later our soon-to-be President went back to bashing the alliance and promising to make nice with Russia. Even if you believe that the inertia of alliances, the so-called ‘deep state’, and cooler heads will prevail, this is all extremely dangerous stuff. The incoming Trump administration is sending radically inconsistent signals on the American commitment to defend allies. This creates significant risks of miscalculation and escalation.
And what if the United States does nothing in the face of such a probe?
Step 1: Russia aggresses
Step 2: US blocks consensus at North Atlantic Council, A5 is not automatic
Step 3: NATO broken
— Steve bin Said (@smsaideman) January 16, 2017
Beyond these concerns, what Trump proposes is, per the title, geopolitical suicide: trade conflicts with one of our most important allies, attempting to facilitate the dissolution of the European Union—which Russia views as a competitor for influence and a threatening force for political liberalization—and assaulting a critical American alliance already facing difficult challenges. Make no mistake: you should be very worried right now.