Candidate Trump called NATO “obsolete,” saying the alliance needs reframing, focusing on combating ISIS and other terrorist threats, not targeting countries for regime change.
He suggested America might not defend certain NATO states if attacked, complained about America carrying too great a financial burden, many other members not paying their fair share.
Candidate Trump said one thing, as president apparently another, articulated Friday at a joint White House press conference by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, saying:
“On defense and security cooperation, we’re united in our recognition of NATO as the bulwark of our collective defense, and we reaffirmed our unshakeable commitment to this alliance. We’re 100% behind NATO.”
Trump added “I agreed to continue my efforts to persuade my fellow European leaders to deliver on their commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense, so that the burden is more fairly shared.”
According to May, he privately expressed full support for NATO, despite earlier comments suggesting otherwise. Appointing the first general as US defense secretary since George Marshall under Harry Truman indicated support for the alliance he disparaged earlier.
It remains to be seen how he intends using it. Will he continue America’s interventionist policy instead of focusing on combating terrorism as he suggested on the stump?
Will he be a warrior president like his predecessors? Will he maintain Washington’s provocative global military footprint – especially in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Pacific?
Will he wind down America’s aggressive wars or continue them, maybe wage new ones? Will he work cooperatively with Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, and other independent leaders – or will his policies be confrontational?
Will he give peace a chance while prioritizing jobs creation, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, and focusing on other vital domestic issues?
Saturday was his 9th day in office. Much about his agenda remains to be seen. His disturbing first week wasn’t encouraging. It’s cause for great concern about what’s coming next.
Separately, May said she extended an invitation from Queen Elizabeth to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit to Britain later this year. Trump accepted the invitation, according to May.
He began the joint press conference, saying “(t)he special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces for justice and for peace, and by the way, my mother was born in Scotland.”
The so-called “special relationship” has been responsible for much of the world’s misery during the post-WW II era, especially post-9/11.