Retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters says Trump's attacks on NATO are just the latest sign that he's compromised by Russia.
While many people were left in disbelief on Wednesday after Trump used the NATO summit to undermine the NATO alliance, not everyone was so perplexed by his behavior.
In fact, retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters — a former military analyst with training in Russian intelligence methods — says Trump's attacks on NATO fit in with a broader pattern of behavior.
And according to Peters, there's a common thread that explains all of it: "With Trump, virtually every trail ... leads to the Kremlin."
Peters made the remarks Wednesday night during an appearance on CNN's "AC 360."
Asked by host Anderson Cooper why Trump would choose to attack the NATO alliance that has been so beneficial to the U.S. and to the world, Peters linked it directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has worked for years to destabilize and break up NATO.
"Trump is, for whatever reason — and I have my own suspicions — certainly, Trump is both enamored and fearful of Vladimir Putin," Peters said. "If you look at his pattern, he is afraid to say anything critical of Vladimir Putin."
To Peters, there is only one logical reason that Trump would behave like this.
"I just think the Russians have the goods on this guy, and that's the only explanation I can come up with."
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that undermining NATO was one of the main long-term goals of Russia's 2016 influence operation. And after decades of unsuccessful attempts to break up the international alliance, Trump's electoral victory finally gave Russia a man on the inside who could help get the job done.
"We are faced with real damage, real immediate, and perhaps some irreparable damage to this greatest of alliances, NATO," Peters remarked.
"Trump — my god, he is not only shaming our nation, he is doing real damage to our security, to our interests, and to our allies," he said. "And Vladimir Putin could not be happier."
Trump's attacks on NATO are even more egregious given the timing of them. Next week, Trump is scheduled to have a one-on-one meeting with Putin — something that Peters explicitly warned against last month.
The summit "is cause for alarm," Peters said at the time, noting that the worst case scenario would involve Trump meeting alone with Putin.
"If [national security adviser] John Bolton can do one service for his country, it will be to do all he can to prevent a one-on-one Putin-Trump meeting behind closed doors," he said.
Of course, Putin is already aware of this and will be prepared to use that to take advantage of Trump — and since no one else will be in the meeting to provide an objective account of what happened, we'll never know what was discussed, whether any promises were made, nor how many state secrets Trump gave away this time.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.