Following the deadly March 22 coordinated terror attacks in Brussels, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is arguing that the Brussels-headquartered North Atlantic Treaty Organization has become obsolete.
In an interview published Saturday in The New York Times, Trump said, “Well, I have two problems with NATO. No. 1, it’s obsolete. When NATO was formed many decades ago we were a different country. There was a different threat. Soviet Union was, the Soviet Union, not Russia, which was much bigger than Russia, as you know. And, it was certainly much more powerful than even today’s Russia, although again you go back into the weaponry. But, but – I said, I think NATO is obsolete, and I think that – because I don’t think – right now we don’t have somebody looking at terror, and we should be looking at terror. And you may want to add and subtract from NATO in terms of countries. But we have to be looking at terror, because terror today is the big threat. Terror from all different parts. You know in the old days you’d have uniforms and you’d go to war and you’d see who your enemy was, and today we have no idea who the enemy is.”
He added, “No. 1, we pay far too much. We are spending — you know, in fact, they’re even making it so the percentages are greater. NATO is unfair, economically, to us, to the United States. Because it really helps them more so than the United States, and we pay a disproportionate share. Now, I’m a person that — you notice I talk about economics quite a bit, in these military situations, because it is about economics, because we don’t have money anymore because we’ve been taking care of so many people in so many different forms that we don’t have money — and countries, and countries. So NATO is something that at the time was excellent. Today, it has to be changed. It has to be changed to include terror. It has to be changed from the standpoint of cost because the United States bears far too much of the cost of NATO.”
Trump, who suggested that the United States should spend less on NATO, pointed to U.S. obligations to defend Ukraine’s interests in conflicts with Russia as a flaw in the arrangement.
“Now I’m all for Ukraine, I have friends that live in Ukraine, but it didn’t seem to me, when the Ukrainian problem arose, you know, not so long ago, and we were, and Russia was getting very confrontational, it didn’t seem to me like anyone else cared other than us. And we are the least affected by what happens with Ukraine because we’re the farthest away. But even their neighbors didn’t seem to be talking about it,” he said.
The Blaze notes that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a foreign policy hawk, said, “[Trump] raised some serious questions about the U.S. and NATO. I share some of those questions. We used to split our costs 50-50 between the U.S. and Europe. Today it’s 70-30 between the U.S. and Europe. I would have a different approach. Rather than reducing our spending on what is a critical national security alliance, I would urge European leaders to increase their spending specifically so we can stop the kind of terrorist attacks we’ve seen in Paris and Brussels.”
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