Trump wants to give Putin another gift by pulling out of NATO


Trump emboldened his adversaries by talking about withdrawing the U.S. from the 70-year-old NATO alliance.

Trump repeatedly expressed his desire to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a move that would weaken America and our allies and embolden Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

The shocking revelation, reported in the New York Times, would be yet one more action by Trump that harms our allies, while giving aid and comfort to adversaries.

"Even discussing the idea of leaving NATO — let alone actually doing so — would be the gift of the century for Putin," Retired Adm. James G. Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, told the Times.

He added such a blunder would be "a geopolitical mistake of epic proportion."

Admiral Stavridis was not alone in his warnings about Trump's dangerous thinking. Withdrawing from NATO "would be the wildest success that Vladimir Putin could dream of," Michele A. Flournoy, undersecretary of defense under President Barack Obama, told the Times. The move "would destroy 70-plus years of painstaking work across multiple administrations, Republican and Democratic, to create perhaps the most powerful and advantageous alliance in history," she said.

Weakening NATO, which Russia sees as a threat, is one of Putin's top goals. National security officials told the Times that an American withdrawal from NATO — made up of the United States, Canada, and many of America's closest allies in Europe — would be doing Putin's work for him.

Trump's cowering subservience to Putin was on full display at a joint press conference with Putin last summer when Trump attacked U.S. intelligence agencies and backed Putin on the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

This report of Trump contemplating withdrawing from NATO adds to a litany of worrying reports about Trump's behavior.

The news comes on the heels of two major reports that question Trump's loyalty to the United States. A New York Times piece broke the story that FBI officials opened a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia and against American interests. That report was followed by a Washington Post expose on Trump seeking to keep his conversations with Putin secret from even his own administration. In at least one case after a meeting with Putin, Trump took the notes from an interpreter and instructed the interpreter not to discuss the meeting with anyone.

In his resignation letter, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that Trump's fidelity to alliances was worrying. "My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign acts and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues," Mattis wrote, noting Trump does not share these key values.

Trump has spent two years rejecting alliances and weakening America's position on the global stage. From trade deals to the Paris Climate Accord to the G-7 to the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, Trump has shunned allies and empowered adversaries.

Trump mulling over withdrawing from NATO is the latest — and one of the most dangerous — gifts Trump is giving to America's adversaries.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.