On the eve of his trip to the EU, where he will meet with European leaders in Brussels, President Trump sent out a very public warning to countries failing to meet their NATO obligations.
“By some accounts,” Trump said Monday morning on Twitter, “the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable.”
Trump has been singling out countries for this failure since before he became a presidential candidate, and it was a major theme on the campaign trail, setting him apart from the other Republican challengers. In many ways, the NATO issue is the perfect mirror of Trump’s positions on trade and immigration, where he is also off the standard conservative page. Trump has always positioned himself as a Republican Party outsider, and nowhere is it more obvious than on this point.
This narrative, naturally, explodes in the mainstream media, where it gives know-nothing pundits another excuse to tell the public that Trump is working in service of Vladimir Putin.
That’s nonsense, of course. Even if we were to accept the ridiculous theory that Trump “colluded” with Moscow to hack into the Democratic National Committee (or whatever the details of the conspiracy are this week), it doesn’t explain the fact that Trump has been pushing this button for years. Even in the 1980s, Trump was blasting the Reagan administration/Congress for spending too much of America’s gross national product to defend allies like Japan. This IS Donald Trump. This IS the way he looks at the world. And it IS a major part of his revolutionary presidency.
Politicians and pundits have been complaining for decades about America’s role as “world police.” Trump isn’t even really going that far. He doesn’t have a problem with NATO itself or the idea of building our relationship with our European and Baltic allies. None of this is in service to Russia.
All Trump is saying – and he’s been saying it for years, mind you – is that other countries have an obligation to pay for their own defense. There’s no reason why the U.S. should be picking up the entire tab, just as there is no reason why we should tolerate these insane trade imbalances. Just as there is no reason why we should continue dragging half the world’s population over here to work for our companies and force our homegrown talent into the unemployment line. These issues are all of a piece, and a responsible media would portray them that way.
This is all part of making America great again. This is all part of Trump’s grand plan, which can be summed up in a single, elegant phrase: Stop Doing Stupid Stuff!