Trump Got From NATO Everything Obama Ever Asked For

But alliance members leave Brussels bruised and confused.

Comments: 202

  1. That 2/3 are going to meet the 2% deadline doesn’t mean much when Germany the largest Western European nation by far with the worlds 4tb largest economy is trying to get to 1 1/2 percent by 2025. The story in 2014 of German soldiers having to use brooms for a NATO excerise for lack of guns is telling. And why America should be committed to defending a continent which can’t seriously commit to their own defense despite increased Russian pressure is the question Trump is asking.

  2. If Trump wants to ask questions about Russian pressure maybe he should talk to Jared. But Trump isn't interested in questions or answers, only in polishing the Trump brand. He's a two-bit huckster now playing with house money - our house, and our money. The sooner he is thrown in jail like the common criminal he is the better off America and the world will be.

  3. Let me get this straight. The senate votes 97 - 2 in favour of NATO, but Trump feels that he has the power to unilaterally withdraw from NATO. The framers of the constitution saw three equal and counterbalancing sources of power - the executive, the houses and the judiciary. What in heaven's name would give the president the power to UNILATERALLY withdraw from an alliance which has been a pillar of US defence for the past 70 years? What am I missing here?

  4. Unlike the Iran deal or the Paris Accord, our membership in NATO is a treaty agreement. 2/3 of the Senate approved our membership as a nation. The President may not withdraw the country from a treaty through an executive action. He can weaken our commitment though, and given the nature of Article V, he is doing serious damage to our credible promise to defend our allies. The missing ingredient is a supine GOP legislative majority and their voters.

  5. Hello? Trump didn't get anything new - just a reaffirmation of what was already agreed with Obama in 2014.

    "He's a man who says what he means and means what he says."

    Trump not only lies constantly, he declares that a promotion strategy ("I play to people's fantasies")

    • Said he'd repeal and replace Obamacare on Day 1. Didn't.
    • Promised to release his tax returns. Didn't.
    • Defaulted on contracts with numerous suppliers.
    • Said he didn't dictate Jr's 'adoptions' story. Eventually forced to admit he did.
    • 3,000 lies and counting -

  6. Though it takes Congress to ratify a treaty, Trump could revoke it all on his lonesome?

    Did not know that. That's very scary.

    ♦ Treaties Don't Belong To Presidents Alone
    By BRUCE ACKERMANAUG. 29, 2001

    “If President Bush is allowed to terminate the ABM treaty, what is to stop future presidents from unilaterally taking America out of NATO or the United Nations?”

  7. A question: Has anyone calculated how much of the NATO budget for goods and services goes to US companies?
    A possible answer: a very substantial portion, because NATO requires its weaponry to be interchangeable between nations.
    A possible MAGA reason for Trump's demand for more defence spending: if NATO increases spending, US industry and services will see greater demand, thus increasing production and jobs in the USA.

  8. My first thought is that Trump is somehow trying, obliquely & surreptitiously, to pump up the income of American defense equipment manufacturers as a way to tout his ability to create jobs (as if more of that in the bloated defense industry were needed.)

    And yet so much of that matériel is dependent on international free trade –using globally-sourced steel & aluminum to get built– so Trump's left hand is thwarting precisely what he demands with his right.

    The president can't think three moves ahead of his mouth, unengaged from whatever stray bit of logic might chance to waft through his coif.

  9. You are assuming knowledge and planning on Trump's part which simply don't exist.

  10. "he said he would defend the Baltic states against a Russian invasion only if he deems that those countries have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
    NYTimes-June, 2016

    Those were Trumps comments about NATO over two years ago. He hasn't changed. The best we could hope for as the editorial states is, Congressional Republicans to pass legislation preventing the President from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO.

    But that's just wishful thinking I'm afraid. Best we get out there in November and vote.

  11. "only if he deems that those countries have “fulfilled their obligations "

    It's called a protection racket – figures, given who he is and what he embodies.

  12. Notwithstanding all the crazy talk by Trump at the NATO summit it is a fact that several NATO member nations are unable to come up to the 2% of GDP for military spending. Canada is one of those nations. We are small in population and have a big country to run. We are large in land and resources and have punched well above our weight during 4 wars in the last 100 years. No, we are not at the magic level of 2% on defence spending and likely will not get there in the next couple of years. But, Canada is always ready to mobilize in support of its allies and has in the past, and will again in the future. Our peacekeeping (if you can label it that) mission in Mali, contribution to the Brigade Group in Latvia and now the mission to Iraq, all put Canada front-and-center in the defence of freedom and liberty in the world and solidify our continuing role as a founding member of NATO.

    While President Obama was correct in his effort to get other NATO members to step up in the defence of Europe and North America, it saddens me to think that it could have all been undone by the careless Tweeting of a man that does not understand defence policy nor has the inclination to listen to his advisors who do undertand.

    Please think carefully before you vote in November this year and in 2020. Your security and safety depends on making good choices.

  13. Lew - Canada ranks 7 worldwide for oil production. Canada is the USA's #1 source for oil imports. With that wealth of natural resources Canada can afford it.

  14. Well stated, thank you. As a fellow Canadian, I agree completely.

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Read more at:

  15. I have thought about it carefully and it has become clear that Donald Trump needs to be re-

  16. " Mr. Trump has relentlessly pushed for a bigger military, seemingly mesmerized by the flashy hardware and the show of hard power that it projects."

    The editors answered their own question about how we will get to 4% of GDP military spending.

    It will be in Trump's budget in his third term.

  17. There are other ways nations can contribute to peace and stability. Germany took in about one million refugees. How about they send us half of them in exchange for another 0.5% increase in defense spending?

    Germany also has a very aggressive renewable energy program which reduces global demand for Arab oil. Oh gosh, scratch that. Trump wants everyone to burn more oil.

    Anyway, there are lots of way nations can contribute to peace and stability that don't line the pockets of Trump's political donors. Oops! There I go again confusing the issue. Next thing we will hear is that Trump is against breast milk because that reduces the sales of formulae manufacturers. Sorry, old news. We already heard that.

  18. Very well said KC, MO. Trump actually has much to learn and we're learning that he's not very quick.

  19. None of those German actions (which have value of course) will stop Russia from invading Lithuania.

  20. Reading between the lines of the article 1/3 of the NATO countries were not on track to meet the 2% threshold they discussed with Obama.

    Europe is not capable of defending many of their own interests - particularly freedom of navigation on the world's waterways or defending Eastern NATO members from Russian attack.

    While Mr. Trump's bullying and belligerent approach to life can not be defended, many of his messages have merit. Obama frequently cared more about being popular vs. getting things done. In the end, I'm not sure either President is very effective.

  21. The issue is not which President should or should not get the credit for the over-due up-tick in military spending by various NATO countries. Two elements should emerge:

    1) A complete and full apology from the members of NATO to the taxpaying citizens of the USA, for all of the past mooching, extending over decades and 2) a thank-you note from each leader within NATO, expressing gratitude for those decades of generosity by American taxpayers.

  22. Oh for F's sake! They don't owe us anything. We benefit from having our bases there, our allies are STILL helping us in Iraq - a war that we dragged them into for no reason whatsoever - hell we're the ones who destabilized the Middle East - we should be begging forgiveness.

  23. Oh come on! You must know better. US spends 22 percent of their GDP on NATO. The rest of their big military budget? Spent on their wars they decide to wage anywhere in the world. And NATO members end up cleaning up their messes - like Iraq. And the result of their illegal wars usually means refugees flooding into Europe - which those countries have to pay to address.
    And the only time, the ONLY time, that the main point of NATO, Article 5, was invoked? After 911 - when all the NATO members came to the aid of the United States. You have it totally backwards. We're owed the apology. Not the USA.

  24. And a strong rebuke by NATO members for the US destabilizing the ME leading to a refugee situation that pushed 1 Million alone into Germany.

  25. The election of Trump is the best example of why NATO should spend more on asymmetric threats from Russia, while also improving conventional military readiness.

    The potential for a conventional military invasion of eastern European countries by Russia is relatively low and the NATO response would be costly for Russia.

    But attacks by Russia on democratic institutions, multilateral partnerships and critical infrastructure throughout the NATO countries is a certainty, because they are already doing it.

    Six European countries monitoring Russian intelligence were the first to spot suspicious communications between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence agents back in 2015 and reported it to the FBI, which quietly began the Russia-Trump investigation. The American people would not learn of any of this until after the 2016 election.

    Russia has since aggressively supported Brexit and Trump campaigns, attempted to elect Marine Le Pen in France and sowed much discord elsewhere. The denials of Trump in the face of what the public already knows is damning enough, but we hardly know the story yet.

    A CIA contractor has been put in prison for leaking the report of Russian interference with more than 20 state election systems.

    Democracies are proving especially vulnerable to asymmetric threats when they hide the evidence of active threats. And they can counter those threats only by exposing them, as France did just before their election.

  26. Yes, and demand a paper ballot.

  27. 4%? I doubt Germany's neighbours would be happy with German military spending of 140 million euros per year, given historical experience.

  28. We should cut our military spending to 2%, prioritize defending US interests (primarily US territory) and let other countries pick up the slack if they feel they need to for their own defense.

  29. Best comment so far! Bravo!

  30. I understand from your post that you don't consider trade with Europe to be in the interests of the United States. I'm glad to hear you know more about what's in our interests than our top generals and thinkers in the government. You should really tell them.

  31. Obama and Trump were both right. The 2% has been an issue since at least 2006, and yet 12 years later many NATO countries are nowhere near the target. Now, it’s 2024 for the 2%. NATO is a critically important alliance, and the Europeans need to start paying more now not 6 years from now. It is an issue like this that brings on isolationist tendencies, which America has adored in the past, which today would be unfortunate.

  32. Commitment to NATO - NATO's very existence - is predicated on the assumption that Russia is an enemy of the West. Or at least a very serious threat under certain circumstances. The reason the US is in Western Europe is to project *their own* power as close to Russia as possible. In the event of war, quick reaction is everything. Yes, the US is protecting its once and future allies, but it is also using Europe as a staging ground for its own military and hegemonic purposes.

    Is trump trying to divide or deligitimise NATO because he doesn't buy the strategic assessment that Russia is an enemy? That seems likely, considering every one of his words and actions. He's taking a huge gamble. He needs to ask himself just one question: Do I feel lucky?

  33. If NATO is a treaty as you suggest, then Trump cannot walk away on his own. Treaties, upon ratifaction, become the law of the land. Laws, as opposed to executive actions, cannot be undone by presidents.

  34. Trump is selling arms. Like the protection racket we pulled on Japan. He inflamed Korea so we can sell arms to Japan who live next door. Now he wants to increase arms sales to Europe by forcing them to increase military budgets. It's not personal Sonny. It's strictly business.

  35. Once again, editorial board, you’re leaning heavily upon Congress to ride to America’s rescue to save Donald Trump from severing the U. S. from NATO.

    This iteration of Capitol Hill relinquished its legislative oversight of this executive—as it did not under President Obama—because cutting taxes on America’s wealthiest citizens are why they’re in office to begin with. If there were any cause for caution, prudence and wisdom, the Republicans in the House and Senate took fright when the president sent out the threat that crossing him—for any reason or for any legislative initiative—would mean electoral death by public Twitter shaming. The ridicule, the office-holders feared, would be too much to accept. So they’re in his pocket or under his thumb.

    Trump doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. He’s after a television ratings sweeps in which he dwarfs the competition with numbers that don’t dazzle as much as they confuse. The tepid push-back from Angela Merkel, in particular, had to embolden him to pursue avenues that no president would venture down, at least for the past 70 years.

    Vladimir Putin, like a submerged crocodile, patiently awaits a visit from the unwary American president. He has silently approved of his proxy’s tantrums and his astonishing lack of not only good manners but also of politesse. Donald Trump will be meeting Putin in a city chosen by the Russian president. Helsinki is wired six ways to Sunday for Putin’s men against boys show.

    Let the undressing begin.

  36. I THINK that there was a complement of Trump somewhere in this piece - but you did a great job of disguising it. I particularly liked how you strongly implied that any good/benefits that came out of the NATO meetings Trump might have achieved by accident, or luck, or simple cluelessness--not by design. Great writing craftsmanship!

  37. I find myself feeling disgusted by the NATO members in Europe. We supply 72% of the money that makes NATO work, some 650 billion dollars. 650 BILLION DOLLARS!! to keep the euros safe. Meanwhile, those European countries provide often time free healthcare, excellent pensions and numerous social services for their citizens. On this side of the pond, our safety net is often non existent and people are NOT keeping up. We are becoming a wasteland of culture, increasingly violent and disconnected from one another. For once, I agree with Trump, they need to pay up. We need a cap on our contributions well under 2% GDP. Plus, the GOP needs to stop gutting social services.

  38. I agree with you that the U.S. should spend less and other countries more, but protecting free trade and democracy around the world is in the U.S.'s interest.

  39. It seems unlikely that the US 'supplies' 650Bn to NATO, given that NATO's direct military budget for 2018 is EUR 1.325Bn. Additionally, given that the US is only obligated to contribute 22% of that EUR 1.325Bn, I'm not sure why it'd pay more. (

    The number you're citing is the entire 2018 US defence budget, which is not just to keep us 'euros' safe. It also includes American homeland defence and force projection into Africa, Asia, etc. The American government has decided that nuclear aircraft carriers with railguns and laser beams (oh, and a $1.5Tn tax cut for wealthy people and multi-national corporations) are more important that your healthcare or a functioning rail network; frankly, that's not Europe's problem.

    That said, I do agree that we, the 'euros', should be paying more into our own defence and be less dependent on US support. But please can we ditch the pretence that NATO and Europe is to blame for the US's third-world infrastructure and healthcare? If America'd wanted good healthcare, bridges that don't spontaneously collapse, and global peace, it shouldn't've voted in the GOP.

  40. US NATO spending is only 3.6% of gdp. The US military spending is so high because the US intervenes in many places where it’s interests are at risk. Do you really think that bush and Cheney cared about wmd that would have been used in the Middle East? No, they were worried about oil supplies. The fact that Cheney also profited off the war effort was just a bonus. How many of the 1% do you think are making money off military spending? Probably most to all. It’s in their interest for tRump to rile things up. Instability breeds anxiety and that increases spending on perceived needs of more weapons. Because congress has abdicated its responsibility to the people who aren’t the 1%, they are doing all they can to appease them by cutting taxes, worsening the deficit, rolling back environmental protections and basically making it easier for them to make more money. And oh by the way, guaranteeing the people healthcare and infrastructure would be costly and take away profits from the 1%. Ryan, your neighborhood ghoul, also thinks that your social security is a handout and will do all in his power to take that to pay down the deficit, thereby making him and the gop look good despite the fact that they worsened it by their ridiculous tax cuts.
    You cannot blame the fact that our government has willfully ignored the basic needs of its people on NATO spending and the defense of Europe.

  41. This reminds me of a scene from the recent movie about Winston Churchill. Churchill is on the phone with FDR, pleading for delivery of new fighter planes. "We paid for those planes...with the money we borrowed from you."

  42. "Yet whether Mr. Trump himself is clear about the strategy he’s pursuing, or whether he in fact has one, remains as mysterious as ever."

    About as mysterious as whether a monkey randomly banging on the keys of a typewriter is in reality writing great literature.

  43. Yes, giving credit where credit is due, I applaud Trump for finally getting Europe to seriously put their money where their mouth is, by actually putting in the promised percentage of their GDP into their defense. I don't mind America helping others with their defense, we're all allies after all, but if the others aren't even putting in their fair share, then I've got a problem with that. So although it was Obama who got the ball rolling, it was Trump who finally made them keep that ball rolling - I applaud both for their efforts and their work.

    That being said, the one dampener on this whole affair was the way Trump did it. I would like to have had Trump achieve it without making us look like a bully or insulting our allies, plus threatening to withdraw from NATO was completely unnecessary, but sometimes we have to put our foot down and say "the buck stops here".

  44. "Trump Got From NATO Everything Obama Ever Asked For"

    This is a pretty misleading clickbait headline. It suggests that Trump was able to get what Obama wasn't, which is not correct even by the contents of the editorial. But whether Obama or Trump, I'm not seeing hard commitments on higher defense spending.

  45. You are absolutely correct. The headline is misleading.

  46. All this money spent on defense and the worst attack on our homeland (Russian interference in our election) goes unremarked upon and ignored by the Trump administration. $700 billion spent and the greatest threat to our Democracy is internal. A steady erosion of confidence in our institutions, our laws, our free press and our morals provided, almost single handedly, by the madman at the head of our government and his cowardly enablers in Congress. We would be better off to cut a check to Trump for $700 billion and ask if that would be enough to leave America alone. This much winning could bring down the whole American experiment.

  47. "Yet whether Mr. Trump himself is clear about the strategy he’s pursuing, or whether he in fact has one, remains as mysterious as ever."

    Trump obviously does have a strategy and it is as clear as day. His strategy is to support the interests of Russia in any way he can, in pursuit of which he is doing everything in his power to destroy our relationships with our allies and re-align the loyalties of the United States towards the people who he himself is most comfortable with, chief among the Vladimir Putin.
    There is a strong chance that the Trump presidency will simply be one of many shameful moments in our history, on a similar footing to historical footnotes such as the Dred Scott decision or the internment of Japanese Americans - he will become something that once he is eliminated we can shake our heads and boast about how our society once again triumphed over evil. However long his presidency lasts, hopefully only one term or less, the damage he is doing is real and will last for a much longer time.
    If Republicans sill care about their country, the senate should immediately pass legislation limiting what Trump can do with respect to Nato and all other treaties we have entered into. Trump may have betrayed us to the Russians, but we need to make the statement that the United States government will never be a Russian puppet.

  48. I suspect that if Trump were made aware that his military spending standards matched President Obama's in any way, he'd change course in a New York minute. Anything with President Obama's name on it is OUT. The White House is no place for adolescent grudges, but that's where we are.

  49. Trump walked away from the NATO summit with a pledge for increased spending - and another record of boorishness.
    President Obama departed from his NATO summits with the respect and goodwill of the international community, which are worth their weight in gold.

  50. "Trump walked away from the NATO summit with a pledge for increased spending"

    Says Trump, but no one else.

  51. @NM -- my friend, this president's summits define America's nadir on the world stage. The G-7 and NATO meetings with our allies were disasters and his one-sided concessions to a hostile regime in Singapore are not diplomatic feats that he or Americans can be proud of. But our allies also wonder what manner of Americans could elect someone like this man to the presidency. Is this awful man an aberration or does he really define the American spirit of today?

  52. NM's much vaunted " respect and goodwill of the international community " is not unlike what LBJ thought of the Vice Presidency: " It is worth a bucket of warm spit."

    Just consider how much "the international community" has done to help Finland, Poland, Hungary et al when they were invaded and cried out for help.

  53. This isn't about 2% or 1.8% or 1.993%. Focusing on that is a convenient distraction from how trump is treating an alliance that has been a bedrock of peace for 70 years. He thinks of it, as he thinks of everything, as a real estate deal where .2% might mean he makes another five mil, or even five dollars. But if all Nato countries hit the 2% goal, or 2.5% or whatever, it will be totally ineffective without unity of purpose and mutual respect. To trump it's a simple-minded numbers game. The Europeans have a much more pragmatic and strategic view.

    Now let's talk about Israel. Time to do your part to protect yourself or the US is outta here. As if.

  54. What do you mean.
    We should talk about Israel.
    There are no American military bases in Israel.
    I have been there many times.
    I haven't seen any military personal there.
    Israel does protect itself.
    Not even one American has died to defend Israel in any of the wars that they were forced to fight.

  55. If the power to make treaties is held by Congress, then isn't the power to quit treaties also reserved to them?

    Were the President to try to usurp that role, wouldn't the Supreme Court essentially be able to stop it with a summary injunction?

  56. What the United States is doing in Europe is projecting power. The bases and troops we have there are part of that projection of power and reinforces the political and diplomatic heft that the United States possesses.
    We deploy our troops in Asia, our fleets of aircraft carriers and other naval ships to do the same in Asia.

    When we have a sane, intelligent and forward thinking president who understands what strategic planning involves, it might be time for the US to re-evaluate how much of a superpower we wish to continue to be.

    We have an enormous level of alliances and treaty obligations that commit us to certain levels of military readiness in order to deliver on the protection and defense of our allies.

    With China ascendant as an economic and military power we need to evaluate how much we wish to challenge their expansion of power and influence.

    In Europe, The EU has a larger population than the US and has approximately the equivalent GDP.
    With this latest flap. Europe may finally realize that over dependence on the good graces of the US for defense may no longer be the wisest course of action. Of course, to commit to the vast expenditures required to equal the contribution of the US would require great cooperation and political will.
    There is a scenario where the US could spend less and Europe more, in a re-balancing of world power.
    The US might want to gracefully cede its superpower status and reap the consequent benefits. Time will tell if that is a wise choice.

  57. Is there even a single legislator on either side of the aisle who supports this president's hostility towards NATO or his warm feelings towards Russia in general and Putin in particular? It's one thing to want to make peace with your enemies, another thing entirely to lionize them without in any way seeing a change of heart or behavior. Does Putin have something on our feckless leader or is Trump simply displaying a kneejerk appreciation of unrestrained power for its own sake? Either way, this doesn't bode well for the world's greatest democracy.

  58. A subject worth of an NY Times investigative piece.

  59. Indeed it is serious. NATO countries are paying more for Trump and his predecessors' policies. Costs: soldiers and money to help fight U.S.-started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; threatened to pull out of the Iran agreement, sending oil prices higher; selling Saudi Arabia U.S. weapons now bombing Yemen into a humanitarian crisis; siding with Israel against Palestinians and cutting aid in half; dropping megaton bombs on Syria while ignoring the Russian-backed genocide; blockading Qatar, the site of the largest U.S. military base in the M.E. Failing to hold Putin and other M.E. strong men to account. And now applying punitive tariffs against our long-U.S. time allies.

  60. It seems there are two: GOP senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

  61. "Yet whether Mr. Trump himself is clear about the strategy he’s pursuing, or whether he in fact has one, remains as mysterious as ever."

    Just following his boss Putin's orders?

  62. Complain all you want about memes you don't like, but that doesn't make them incorrect. Look at reality, if you're able to. The US spends more on its military than the next eight nations combined. Those eight nations include our major adversaries, China and Russia, who seem to do just fine wreaking havoc while spending far less than we do. I'm interested in hearing your reasoning for why we need to increase our military spending to more than what? The next ten nations combined, or the next 12, or the next 15? Will that truly make us safer? Am I safer with 100 self-defense weapons in my house, instead of the two I currently possess?

    "If I spend lots on the military, I'll automatically be safer" is a marketing ploy created in part by the arms industry and its lackeys in government, all conniving over their piece of the pie - and you lot have fallen for it.

  63. Trump is the only government official that denies and or ignores Russian intervention in our electoral process. He has repeatedly and openly tried to limit the special counsel’s investigation into his and his campaign’s relationship with Russian. Trump has repeatedly praised Putin, a murderous despot who has repeatedly taken illegal military action in countries allied to the US. Trump has repeatedly been rude, dismissive, oppositional and outright hostile to our historic allies in the effort to contain Soviet and Russian expansion. A report detailing “unusual” activities by Trump and company in Russia that is consistent with longstanding practices of Russian Intelligence to compromise targeted figures and documents a great deal of questionable economic activity in Russia. And while this report is branded as false by Trump supporters, much of it has been validated as factual, and even corroborated by Trump himself. Trump family members tried to open an illegal backchannel communication link with the Putin government via the Russian embassy. I could go on and on and I only have open source information about Trump’s service on behalf of Russia. But if you think this is a tired boilerplate meme and not one of the greatest security threats to US and European interests than what boots on the ground facts would you need to change your mind?

  64. Nah. He is doing the bidding of Murdoch/Fox/Hannity. Russia and Putin drama etc. because it increases his Reality TV ratings.

    The money he owes Russian mobsters, the dirt they have on him and Moscow Trump Tower are secondary to that.
    It's the ratings, stupid.

    The presidency is now like WWE. Fake wrestling. All drama and outrageous acting. Tabloid drama.

  65. He can't unilaterally withdraw. It is a treaty of signatory nations. He is not a nation.

  66. no but he's as big as one

  67. Trump’s methods of impelling action are not my methods; but, then, I’m not a multi-billionaire and I wasn’t elected president of the United States, either. Presumably, neither are or were the editors.

    And whatever he got from NATO’s Euro leaders, he got something.

    But the suggestion that he merely pursued a concerted effort by Obama to achieve the same thing is vastly entertaining. Obama politely told our partners that they needed to increase their defense spending, then dropped the issue. Because of the heft of the U.S., many of them promised to target increases, climbing to 2% of GDP over years, and a few even have made efforts to do so. But it remains that years after they made those promises, they’re still not there – target due-date or not; and some are backsliding or haven’t moved off the dime at all. What Trump did was wade in on an issue with serious personal commitment that he’s been talking about for years and for all of his presidency so far. He’ll likely get enhanced cooperation as a result. If he does, it will be his unpleasant methods that did it.

    Eventually, if indeed Euros can find a way to redirect funding from butter to guns in the promised amounts, then that would justify drawing down our military expenditures, perhaps even sharply. However, Trump is hardly going to draw them down based on promises – he still needs to telegraph to adversaries an unanswerable U.S. preparedness to defend our interests with military force. And, in part, that’s his job.

  68. @
    ''he still needs to telegraph to adversaries an unanswerable U.S. preparedness to defend our interests with military force. And, in part, that’s his job''.

    Oh - absolutely Herr von Lüttgen!
    You and Baron von Clownstick.

  69. "Because of the heft of the U.S., many of them promised..."

    Yes, America has had 'heft'. If Trump were the president of a small country with no heft, he would be the laughing stock of the world. He'd appear on the world stage for about 2 minutes, recognized as a boorish lout, and then fall, forgotten, into the dustbin of history.

    But, in winning the election, of course without the vote of the people, he was given arguably the greatest country in the world to do anything he impulsively wanted to do with it. The work of patriots, beginning with the Founding Fathers, and continuing with leaders, who were, for the most part dedicated to democratic values, provided the foundation for our country to work as it has for 200 years.

    He has in 18 months, trashed the country's greatest accomplishments, with no 'new and better' plans, as he promised when he was campaigning.
    Instead, Healthcare is disintegrating with no plan for replacement; Immigration policy abandons America's promise to the rest of the world, and instead is causing a new kind of PTSD for children separated from their families; Stewardship of our planet has been abandoned by this president so that profit for the few can increase..... and on and on.

    The solution? We must VOTE and do everything we can to encourage everyone to VOTE!

  70. Richard, you are a smart guy, so I find it simply astonishing that you've been taken in by a classic Trump ruse. Trump is the ONLY person claiming that our NATO allies have agreed to increased spending limits. President Macron has said no such commitment was made, and pointed out that the communique issued by the members simply restates the increased levels they had agreed to when President Obama was President, and on the same schedule: 2% of GDP by 2024.

    Here's what really happened here: Trump threw around a whole lot of inflammatory rhetoric (most of which was patently false) in order to manufacture a controversy going into the summit, got nothing at all new from the other NATO partners, and comes home and takes a victory lap, claiming something he did not actually get at the summit. And you and the rest of his credulous supporters just take his word for it (as he knows you will). You are either very easily duped, or you are seeing only what you want to see.

  71. A part of Trump's unspoken agenda at NATO is to drive US arm sales, coming off a globe-leading record 2017 that booked $76 billion in sales, under the Arms Export Control Act that governs sales and subsidies from the US.A part of Trump unspoken agenda at NATO is to drive US arm sales, coming off a globe-leading record 2017 which booked $76 billion in sales. Sales take place under the Arms Export Control Act that governs sales and subsidies from the US, and many of the contracts are subsidized by US taxpayers up to 95%. The US is the global leader in arms sales and Trump's Defense Department is expanding that market.

    Overall, Trump's balance sheet approach is a still life. It ignores the flow of trade in the global supply chain and economies of scale that make markets efficient and reliable, it stifles innovation.

  72. Walter - a good reminder and a good contribution to the discussion. Thanks.

    However, the 2% commitment was made at the request of Obama and I believe the best message NATO could send to Putin right now would be for ALL NATO members (especially laggard Germany) to show their great willingness to meet that commitment.

    It would also help if Germany would stop obstructing discussions about sanctions on Russia that include energy imports. But the German economy will feel it if it loses access to cheap Russian energy and Merkel fears that the economic impact would weaken her political support. So, for personal political gain, she is blocking one of the most effective tools for sanctioning Russia in response to its killing of journalists and political opposition, and invading its neighbors. This has been going on since long before Trump came into office.

  73. The US could easily cut defense spending in half to start with. The Pentagon doesn't even have systems to properly track and record spending, 20% could be lopped off in wasteful spending to start. Another 25-30% could be chopped by focusing on core capabilities and ditching some exorbitant hi-tech systems. Why does the US military need to have the best weapons in every single area? Now then, why do European nations need to spend 2%+ on the military? The European institutions Trump is doing his best to wreck have helped keep a period of deep peace and cooperation since 1945.

  74. Very funny - as he has gotten - yet - what DeNiro said.

    But don't worry - even most of the Nato members are close - as they already think it - but just don't say it yet!

  75. One has the impression that Trump wants to blow up NATO. He must imagine that in a weakened state, individual nations would be easier to push around and exploit. Given Trump's past history as a businessman, such a set of circumstances would be very appealing to him. After all, he struggles with the concept of multi-lateral negotiations and relishes the notion of uni-lateral agreements, no doubt because he finds strength in numbers daunting.

    Eventually, the other NATO members will tire of Trump's antics just like the American people will, their resolve against him will harden, and they'll find alternatives to American leadership. I had been curious about the causes for Trump's struggles in his business career prior to entering office. Seeing him in action as a candidate and as president has been illuminating. The clumsiness and poor work product are noticeable. The dishonesty is painful to watch. If Trump is in office long enough, those qualities will be the drivers for the pending changes.

  76. Is it wrong to ask NATO allies to be in compliance with the spending agreement?

    President Trump represents USA and he is protecting our (tax payers’) rights.

  77. Trump is also negotiating with the EU on trade simultaneously so he wants to keep the heat on to give the US greater negotiating leverage vs. the EU. Why not hold on to the NATO card for a bit longer?

  78. And we also should really to object to ''What Obama ever wanted''
    Perhaps Obama wanted -(like Merkel) to reduce spending for ''Attack''? -(and NATO)

    And it's kind of ''sad'' that you guys didn't notice how Trump in his PK promoted weapon sales. Like: WE produce the best (war) machinery on this planet!! - and to force - of all nations Germany - to buy more of it - only a ''German Baron von Clownstick'' might come up with!

    And this is NO joke - as Trump in the same PK told US all how proud he is about his German heritage.

  79. During the 2012 presidential campaign candidate George Romney asserted that Russia was a serious existential threat. We, including the then sitting president, all scoffed and laughed. Apparently Mr Romney was quite prescient. How did the rest of us, especially our political and intelligence leaders at the time, miss this so completely?

  80. Obama not just "asked" for increases, he called his European allies "Free Riders"

    A term that most Brits took as an insult. The Guardian the UK left of center newspaper, defended Obama thus. quote :

    The US president has had harsh words for his Nato allies. With luck they will galvanise Britain, France and Germany into action

    So to the settling of scores. One year from leaving office Barack Obama has, in an epochal interview with the Atlantic, spelt out what he thinks of his European allies. The terms are not generous

    The president describes his European allies as powers unable or unwilling to match fine words with resources; prone to asking the US to act but incapable of committing themselves to the efforts required for a sustainable outcome"

    These are not polite words. But Obama was too timid to enforce what he thought.

    Trump is different.

  81. I think rtump is right demanding the 4% defense budgets. In particular Germany should heavily invest in nuclear weaponry, now.

    So there is that.

  82. The NATO "commitment" that Trump claims he got, is like the Iran Agreement in the USA. It doesn't have the force of law nor treaty. We will see what these head of state manage to get through their parliaments when they see that they will have to cut back on their health programs, nursing homes and infrastructure investment to buy American weapons, when there is little perceived threat. With his gratuitous insult to Theresa May, it is most likely that any increase in defense budgets will be directed to making Europe independent of America.

  83. Here's an idea: since we seem so keen on the military, we pay most of the NATO bill, and since the Europeans seem to know how to deliver health care and social services to their people, we get them to do it for the Americans. Good ole division of labor. God knows we can't run a health care system.

  84. Yes, but these countries should be contributing a greater percentage of their overall spending. We're defending THEIR homes and children. Also the Japanese and Koreans both pay a much larger piece of the deployment costs than our NATO allies.

  85. RE: Europe can do more to help itself. The allies rely too heavily on the Americans to transport troops and equipment,

    Well knock me over with a feather. The NYT actually points out the crux of the issue: the Europeans are dependents rather than allies.

    For over a century since WWI it's been a one way flow of lives and money from the US to Europe to bail them out.

  86. Forgive my ignorance, but where in Europe are Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?

  87. The manner in which P45 conducts himself may excite the political and chattering classes but for most Brits its shock value diminishes with each new occurance. Trump 'lashing out' is as predictable and tedious as the stage-managed trash talk of a boxer trying to call out an opponent. Hype the aggression, whip up emotion, ramp up the PPV audience. For the rest of us the response is weary distaste.

  88. In this instance, the Editorial board is absolutely wrong. Trump’s style might upset liberals but it is effective. NATO countries have not been increasing their military spending and capabilities nearly as far or as fast as their rhetoric would make you believe. Do I need to remind the Editors that President Macron of France cut defence spending when he first got into power, leading to the head of the French armed forces to resign? Do not pretend that European countries were doing anything to make the 2% promises.

    Trump is demonstrating how to make power work. Maybe if European nations did what the “nice and rational” Mr Obama asked for then a Trump would never have come along. Politics abhors a vacuum...

  89. You seem to be claiming that Trump has somehow gotten the other NATO countries to increase contributions/contribute more sooner than Obama did. In fact, he has achieved nothing. Nothing.

  90. Obama was the good cop. Trump is the bad cop.

    Both are needed.

    Obama did indeed get the 2% target, first established in 2006, firmed up in 2014. He even gently rebuked allies as "free riders".

    Unfortunately, his very polished, polite, and cooperative good cop efforts failed. Large allies such as Germany and Canada developed their defense budgets through 2024, and they never, ever hit the 2% target.

    Meanwhile, Germany's military is so depleted that they cannot put a single submarine in the water, have only 90 workable tanks, and four fighter planes that are airworthy and capable of carrying weapons. This is not only a slap in the face to the NATO allies who are counting on Germany for support, but also to U.S. taxpayers who are borrowing money to help support NATO.

    Enter the bad cop.

    Trump is loudly, directly, and sometimes awkwardly pointing out our allies' unwillingness to meet their commitments. He is suggesting (appropriately) that the U.S. commitment to NATO is contingent on Europeans and Canada meeting their targets. He is asking for 4% in the hope of at least getting 2%.

    Even if unintentionally, Obama and Trump make a good tag team, just like in WWE or a classic police drama. Let's hope that their complementary efforts will finally shake our European and Canadian allies out of a two-decade long slumber.

  91. A very insightful take on the issue. Good take on the good cop bad cop as well. And, mention of the possibility of 4% frames the 2% as reasonable and achievable and it was most likely aimed as you so astutely point out at the laggards,

  92. "see what...cut back on their health care...little perceived threat" Not sure about Norway, but Germany has had HUGE buget surpluses for the last ten years. In 2016, it spent nearly as much on pampering illegal migrants and asylum scammers as it spent on its military. (The idiots in your neighbor Sweden spent MORE on illegal migration and pandering to asylum frauds than on its military that year. Surprised?) As for the facts stated above for German--no is broke, 4 fighter jets available for service, attack helicopters, only 8. And Germany has 180000 soldiers and (wild estimate) a half million illegal migrants (no ID, no residence permit, denied asylum, etc.) wandering around the country. And as for buying US weapons, maybe it is a good idea. Europe (Germany and France) spent billions of Euros and ten years supposedly developing a fighter to be produced only in Europe for NATO. It never even got to prototype before it was dropped. European self-defense is a joke and NATO couldn't stop a sneeze without US air power and bodies. I think Stoltenberg knows it--and Germans just throw up a smokecreen of indignation when someone calls their bluff. Their military is a shambles--as the SPD wants it.

  93. You are right about the serviceability of much German equipment but only 4 fighters airworthy? - a 2018 survey found the number was closer to 50 and at least 100 Leopard tanks were deemed ready for action.
    A small point but it is better to be accurate rather than sensational!

  94. Funny, I thought leaders of France and Germany said something to the effect that they would continue working towards the 2% goal at the same pace.

  95. Legislation here proposed to prevent Trump from leaving NATO is pointless: as Commander in Chief he merely needs to order US troops to stand down when Putin's troops re-occupy the Baltics (and other parts of the old Soviet Empire). The other NATO countries need to bolster their defenses for their own sake, not to placate Trump (who can never be placated). As they prepare their defense plans they'd better keep the U.S. in the dark, otherwise Trump will divulge their plans to his pal Putin.

  96. But at least Trump got from the UK the Diaper - Obama didn't ask for?

  97. If the US defense budget is 3.2% (or3.6% or even 4%) of GDP, how much of that is spent on NATO? The US has global military presence and it would be enlightening to learn how much is spent on NATO vs the rest of the budget. I've got to believe it will be less than 2%.

  98. NATO budget is actually very small, the 2% to 4% numbers refer to a countries military budget, and does NOT go to NATO. They could spend a lot like the USA on unnecessary wars, and easily meet their targets, but not sure how it works out for world's citizens.

  99. ''Obama was the good cop. Trump is the bad cop''.

    Baby's are not allowed to play ''cop''.

  100. Cops also enforce laws. Obama ignored laws he didn’t agree with. See federal immigration laws for an example.

  101. Trump’s strategy is to please his benefactor Putin. To undermine the EU and NATO pleases Putin, even if it’s empty headed rhetoric from Trump. Without Putin’s and other Russian oligarchs intervention to prop up Trump’s failing businesses back in the early 1990’s and beyond, Trump owes them a great deal for his comeback.

    Putin will congratulate Trump on Monday just like an old KGB officer would praise one of his assets.

  102. Next Friday's Breaking News:

    President Trump will announce that his tough negotiations with the marvelous Vladimir Putin have resulted in a triumph for America. Russia has applied to become the 51st state of the U.S.A., and Mr. Trump is sure that the Senate will approve.

    Based on its population and on our one-man-one-vote principle, Russia will add 197 new men to the number of Republican members in the U.S. House of Representatives. And, the U.S. will withdraw from NATO, saving each average American family $5.77, bigly growing the American economy and the number of American jobs even faster than at present.

  103. It puzzles me that we keep hearing talk about the good things Trump can do. Some of them might happen, but it won't be because he is thinking in the best interests of America. Anyone with a functioning mind already knows that. It will be because Trump feels that he, personally, can get something out of it.

    As has been said countless times, all roads wind back to Russia. They own him. And only by pretending he is Putin's equal or friend or even master can Trump reconcile this with his innate sense of superiority.

  104. Trump's behavior at NATO, after his G7 stunt, does more than add insult to injury. Other national leaders first assumed Trump's bombast was intended for his "base", the ugly American. Next time, they believed, would be better. It's worse.

    Now he's a genuine threat, not just "destabilizer." He creates a vacuum for tyrants to fill. Trade wars cause conflict that increases risk of real war; alliance busting leads to accidental disorders that spiral into war; the willingness of business to overlook leaders who exploit ethnic hatreds leads to dictatorship.

    Nancy Pelosi is right: nothing explains Trump's behavior better than Russian influence. It may be financial, ideological, or personal, but something's up. Just imagine if he was Democrat. Republicans wouldn't just impeach; there'd be calls for a coup. The Times would disagree, but understand.

    Americans don't have time to burn. They'd better put the House and Senate in Democrat hands. Otherwise history will condemn them.

  105. Perfect. The editorial board shrugs off Trump's role in the communique by reminding us it's simply a target, not a legal obligation. And yet his abandonment of the Kyoto Agreement, which is exactly the same thing, was positioned as End of Days. No hypocrisy here.

  106. tell that to the families of dead euro soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq supporting the US after 9-11.

  107. I think you point to something substantial here, but have a different way of looking at it. Trump changes his mind so many times and justifies dramatic shifts in positions with a shrug. One can only take such communiques as a momentary fancy of Trump's. Why should even his "promises" be believed?

  108. And just how has trump enforced any wild claim he has made? His Singapore, G-7 and NATO performances have produced nothing of value to the US. On the contrary, so far China and Russia are the big winners in tRumps reality TV presidency.

  109. Based on precedent, a President can withdraw from a treaty, but Congress can pass a law prohibiting it. And as long as the Republican Senate is a virtual cult of Trump, they will blindly follow their leader, and refuse to pass it over his veto.

    At some point the public, even reaching down to the lowest depths of his followers will realize we are being led by a an egomaniac, who will take our country and the world-as-a-community down with him.

    The Presidency of the United States has challenges that often do not have easy answers, and many with no answers at all. Trump can't resolve the challenge of nuclear proliferation or the impossibility of accepting the flood of "wretched refuse" who were only a trickle when that poem of the Statue of Liberty was written.

    We do not revile him for his failing to solve such problems, but his blind willful ignorance that negates even addressing the monumental challenges of our times.

  110. How ironic that Trump's claim of success is merely a restatement of Obama's thinking.

  111. Why in the world would NATO countries rush to increase their military spending to 2% of GDP? The US has spent decades throwing untold billions into their military, at the expense of other domestic priorities and in defiance of all common sense, just so they can strut around on the world stage as the biggest and the strongest.

    If my neighbour insists on buying a tank and installing anti-aircraft missiles, and has promised to protect me if I'm ever attacked, do I really need to buy a gun?

  112. Once again, like the PRK, lots of agreement about the future, but nothing immediate. Trump cemented absolutely nothing.

  113. Sorry for the stridency of this remark.

    It is highly delusional to even fantasize America will reduce its military spending. Both political parties create the illusion of being at odds, but when it comes time to vote on bills to increase spending on the military and the intelligence agencies--lo and behold--they act as if they are one.

    I take it back. This remark is not as nearly as strident as it should be.

  114. "He then raised the ante, demanding that they meet the 2 percent target — it’s a target, not some specific legal obligation — by January and then go on to raise spending to 4 percent of G.D.P. Why that much? What strategic objective, what threats to the alliance, is Mr. Trump worried about? He didn't say."

    Trump DID say.

    In April this year, Trump announced his administration's goal of increasing US weapons sales to our allies, and included a list of incentives - saying that it would be wonderful for our economy. Three months later, the only notable sale made, over congressional objection: Trump allowed delivery of top military technology in the form of F-35's to dictator Erdogan (without even getting any human rights concessions in return).

    What's a sputtering Trump to do? Lie and say that 2024 targets were meant to be met right now, and try to bully our allies into buying weapons from US manufacturers right away. And now, it's even more urgent: the CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce predicts that 2.6 million jobs will be lost because of Trump's ridiculous tariff war. Trump is desperate for the jobs that would be created by new weapons orders from allies before job loss announcements hit his party hard in November.

    This week, the cost of goods sold just rose astronomically - Trump is threatening our allies in order to sell weapons. It's not hard at all to see how he went bankrupt six times, is it?

  115. Long-winded editorials are not very effective, except to enable the writers to vent.

    This editorial has an important message, buried in its flabby middle: " allies could better advance their own security, and NATO’s, by spending more to solve the migration crisis and other problems that have fanned nationalism and authoritarianism, and weakened democratic institutions." (This then requires some examples)

    In addition, rather than talk about abstractions like "percentage of gdp", provide some numbers and spending options. For example, the EU (not NATO exactly, but this gives an idea) has a gdp of over $17 trillion. Increasing spending of even 1/10 % of its gdp would be an increase of 17 billion. What should they spend this on, how long would it take to spend this, what is the purpose for this spending, and how much have they already been increasing their spending the last few years?

    Would this increase of spending lead to reductions in US military spending, leading to a net wash -- no greater threat to Russia, or would it improve NATO's readiness? If the latter, what does this mean -- more tanks, ships, soldiers, nuclear weapons, where, how many, etc.?

    In other words, without specifics this is all peeing in the wind. Trump supporters will then fill the blanks with fantasy and wishful and vague thinking.

  116. Nice effort in attempting to give Obama partial credit for President Trump's advances with NATO. Not surprising you failed to highlight the difference between them. That is, Obama was all talk where our President actually gets things done.

  117. Anyone who honestly thinks that an increase in defense spending by the EU will lead to cutting defense spending in the US should be drug tested immediately, with extreme prejudice.

    The pundits are in the grip of a palpable desperation to find a "grand strategy," or ANY kind of strategy in Trump's spasmodic, proudly ignorant, tantrum-based approach to policy. Good luck with that.

  118. Everyone 2% ridiculous. Some can afford more some less. Maybe they won't spend it on anything useful or are they giving the money to us.
    In any event we all spend much too much on the military and since we lose all wars we start it's a fools errand.

  119. Try telling that to the trumptards.

  120. The United States involment in forming NATO was self serving - and rightfully so - to protect ourselves and our interests in Europe.

    After the 9/11 attacks on our country the NATO members responded exactly as Article 5 stipulates.

    Member countries make direct and indirect “contributions” to NATO. I think that has been lost in the debate regarding funding.

    It would do Mr. Trump well to focus on the benefits afforded to the US by being a member of NATO and refrain from his silly posturing.

    Our contributions have not been charitable.

  121. What did he get? After two days of making a fool of himself he came out in front of the cameras and lied about what was accomplished. Macron corrected him shortly thereafter.

    What was clear is that he demands that the europeans join the Republicans in throwing money down the insatiable maw of the US war profiteers. He wasn't even subtle. He expects European countries sto shift their spending priorities from helping their citizens to enriching Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and all the rest. It is obscene.

    Rather than demanding an increase is waste on war even above the current absurd level the Americans spend, we should all be talking about radical reductions. Putin and Xi are laughing, Trump is pulling a reverse Reagan. Remember, he ran up the war budget to the point that it bankrupted the Russians. Putin and Xi are content to let Trump and the Republicans run up the war budget to the point that it bankrupts the US and the west.

  122. This exposes the tight connection Obama's version of American exceptionalism and Trump's.

    NATO should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact, NATO's eastward march is the cause of the New Cold War and the idea that Russia can or would invade western Europe is a fatuous but profitable delusion.

    The main difference is approach -- Trump is acting like the bandit who shoots at bar patrons' feet to make them dance.

    And the subjects dance.

  123. The cause of the new Cold War, if indeed there is such a things, is Russian revanchism. Nothing in NATO expansion made Russia invade Crimea and start a war in Ukraine.

  124. There's no pattern to Trump's actions, so insofar as he "gets" what he "wants" it seems backwards: he gets what he gets and claims that was the want all along. What he does to go from A to B is all we can really predict: smash, grab, slash, burn, and preen for Fox. He sows fear, confusion, angst and offense. That's what he wants, and it's what we get.

  125. Trump fans are thrilled by Trump's lies and incompetent bumbling abroad. Anyone who has any respect at all for the United States is horrified. You cannot argue with Trump fans. They are like little children with their fingers in their ears shouting "No! No!" when you try to reason with them. The rest of us can get out the vote to throw Trump's enablers and then Trump himself out of office. It is the only way to end our national disgrace taking place around the globe because of Trump, the face of the Republican Party.

  126. Get out the vote. Vote every election, every official, every time. The only way to bring in a new Congress that will get things done properly is to vote a new Congress in. Vote. Vote. Vote!

  127. You ask: "What strategic objective, what threats to the alliance, is Mr. Trump worried about?"

    Seriously? It's the Donald Trump Show! And the world is his stage. He thinks he is the producer, writer, director and obviously the star.
    But he hasn't read the book this play is based on. He doesn't know his facts - so he adlibs his lines revealing his shocking ignorance.

    If Trump has a strategic thought, it is fleeting and focused on the performance of the day. He is looking for applause from his base who is so disgruntled and so angry that they eat up his stirring of the pot - any pot - regardless of the unintended consequences.

    There is no long game here from the US. China and Russia will benefit from Trumps irratic behavior. Putin and Xi know he will be gone and a new president will approach all these negotiations differently. He is temporary amusement.

    Trump sees every summit or meeting as if they were tennis matches or football games. If he creates controversy and appears to be tough, he calls it a victory for America. But it's really just a process of chipping away at our national legacy of positive and cooperative leadership promoting democracy and human rights.

  128. Well, if Louie Gohmert's conduct today is any example, I wouldn't count on the Congress. Then there's Mister Mitch I control the universe McConnell. It hasn't just abdicated it's responsibilities, it is most certainly enabling Trump's destructive behavior, and gleefully so. He's clearly Putin's wrecking ball. So what does that mean, exactly? Exactly.

  129. Everything is only ever a photo-op in Trump world, an opportunity to grab attention and this was no different. All he achieved was more press coverage for himself. Obama had already got the 2%.

    Trump was disrespectful, self-serving and childish (throwing a tantrum and turning up 30 minutes late, bullying and berating!). He wasted everyone's valuable time and the opportunity for important discussions for NATO and for the US. This was supposed to be about security and safety - but he just had to make it about him and money. He just does not understand anything beyond his tiny bubble world that reflects only himself and dollar signs. Normalizing his behavior is dangerous - please stop doing it.

  130. Trump should absolutely threaten to leave NATO if they don’t pay up within a year.

    We pay close to 4% of our GDP for our military. Germany for example pays only 1.2%. Frankly, they should have paid up for decades - they haven’t, which is why their military is decrepit and totally useless to the alliance.

    So we spend money to defend Germany. It’s a “mutual” defense treaty in name only because Germany doesn’t have any military capacity that we don’t have 50x more of already.

    It’s simple. They need us. We don’t need them. The least they can do is pay.

    So Germany cheaps out and use the trillions saved to provide all their citizens with free health care and free college tuition.

    Russia is supposed to be their enemy. And Russia invaded Europe, not America. Yet Germany plans to build a pipeline where they would willingly be hostage to Russia for their gas and energy needs.

  131. I wonder if there are any historical explanations as to why Germany has opted and has been encouraged to not engage in a military build up?

    We are there because we defeated them in WWII, Most of Europe would not feel comfortable still with a huge and robust German military walking around, it only leads to problems. Forgotten in all of this is that Germany does provide soldiers in Afghanistan and more importantly allows us to have strategic bases in Europe from which we undertake all our crazy exploits around the world. Where do soldiers fly to first when wounded? Germany.

    We should cut our defense budget, undo the ridiculous tax cut for the rich and provide "free" health care and "free" college tuition to our citizens. "Free" in parenthesis because of course they pay for it in taxes.

    We choose to make war all the time. That's our problem and only we can fix it.

  132. 1/ There is a reason why all Western countries, Germany included, felt more comfortable with a small German military after WW2.
    2/ The EU has always chosen mutual trade relationships over a military arms race to keep itself safe. The US used to think and act this way too. Saying the EU depends on Russian energy is the same as saying the Russian economy is dependent on energy exports to the EU.
    The EU, with its “weak military”, expanded into many former Soviet countries and Putin had to sit back and watch. Apart from Crimea, a small setback considering the whole, it has been an overwhelming success. EU leaders are smarter than you, and most Republicans, think.

  133. There is no such thing as free health care in Germany, we have a combination of statutory health insurance and private health insurance. Everyone has access to health care though. Obviously details don't matter to everyone but uninformed falsehoods are not helpful.

    Free college tuition makes sure that everyone has access to higher education. We have witnessed the consequences of limited access to education every day since November 2016.

    Military spending does not equal spending for NATO. U.S. contribution to NATO is a fraction of what they (over)spend on the military every year.

    The fact that Germany has to increase spending for NATO is well known and is currently being addressed. We are a democracy and there is no authority other than parliament to pass a reasonable spending increase.

    As for healthcare and education: There is no trade-off with military spending. That connection is fabricated and a lame excuse. During the cold war military spending in Germany was multitudes above today's levels and we've always had public health care and free college education. If both don't exist in your country it is for a host of different reasons.

    Russia is supposed to be our enemy? Ask your president about that. Rest assured they're not our friend, but neither is this backstabbing travesty of an american president.

  134. Left unsaid is the simple fact that setting defense spending as some arbitrary percentage of GDP, by any nation, is an idiotic approach. As our economies grow, is it intelligent to spend more on weaponry so as to destroy the planet, what, quicker, more thoroughly? Dead is dead. But, in these tragic times, budgeting for "defense" based on a strategic assessment of risks in light of existing capability is a bridge too far. The truth is that weaponry is one of this nation's most profitable (to the plutocrats) industries. As Eisenhower warned decades ago, beware the military-industrial complex. We didn't listen then, and we are not listening now. For that reason, US defense spending will not decrease a single penny, no matter what amount European nations spend. This is all merely a part of The Big Show. When aliens find the relics of this planet they will be astounded to discover that we placed power and control in the hands of the dullest and most self-serving among us. And that's on us.

  135. Misleading headline. But what else is new? He has no "strategy" except to do Putin's bidding. You can come to your own conclusions as to why that might be.

  136. It may be worth pointing out explicitly that NATO countries spending more 'on defense' is a boon to any business to do with weapons and armaments.
    Does that explain the inexplicable rise of the stock market?
    Am I coming late to this realization and everyone else is taking this so much for granted that it does not need to be spelled out, not even in the business section?
    Will this 'defense' spending help the UK in Brexit? Will it help Germany?
    Will Russia stay in the game, increase its 'defense' spending in response? Engage US companies to buy the aircraft, the bombs, the guns and cannons?
    Is this what Putin and Trump will be talking about?
    Is this the kind of economics we are to look forward to? Is this the kind of prosperity we want? Lots of jobs in the 'defense' business...

  137. The United States is guarding itself on two fronts. The eastern borders Russian and the western borders China. Americans want the EU to guard its eastern front so it can redirect its resources towards its western front which will be the larger threat in the future.

  138. Don’t over analyze. As an elementary teacher I’ve seen it a hundred times.

    The biggest angriest kid in the class picks on the smaller kids and you watch him bully and extort lunch money until the year some of those other kids get bigger or stronger or wiser (and they always do). You can’t help but smile when you see that bloody nose and the other kids laughing together at a lunch table.

    That kid can order anything he wants for lunch except for someone to have lunch with.

    Anyone who thinks that other kid is happy sitting alone voted for Trump.

  139. Wow. I know this is beside the point, but: you saw all of that, and did nothing but smile.....are you a member of Congress? Just trying to continue with the analogy.

  140. You aren't missing anything. Trump is a megalomaniac.

  141. At the moment. you are also that kid. Because even if you didn’t vote for him - even if you didn’t vote - Trump embodies you as your representation.

    Other nations sit across from Trump pondering the fact that Trump is who the American people (not just the Republican Americans, but the nation) selected to represent them.

    Trump realizes that. He embarrasses you knowing all the while that it makes you cringe. That’s because he is not the President of the United States; he is the president of Donald Trump.

  142. Obama never got what he asked for because he wasn’t effective.
    Pretty words do not a leader make. They all knew he didn’t mean what he said.

  143. Whatever Obama wanted, the contribution from the other NATO members has fallen to under 2%. Some members pay less than 1%. Our contribution numbers don't even count the military and equipment we have stationed in Europe. Trump has also claimed that we should be paid for some of their cost. Don't hold your breath. They have gotten use to shirking their commitments and we have done nothing to prove to them we won't just keep footing the bill. Is NATO effective? A recent analysis showed, based on where Russia's military is stationed, they can run through Western Europe in 4 days and the first to be killed will be our military. To continue this disparity is absurd. In any case, The Russians aren't going to invade. They want customers not a bunch of dead people and huge cost to occupy. If they keep up their same old, same old path of reducing their contribution instead of paying their share, we should count the cost of our military over there in the percentage of our contribution.

  144. Why the misleading headline? Have you not just given to trump an editorial page he can wave around touting an "achievement" not actually achieved. When is the NYTimes going to stop this nonsense? I never thought the NYTimes would be part of the problem instead of a beacon of truth is troubled times. Shameful really.

  145. How many US tanks, aircraft carriers, or soldiers paychecks does European "respect and goodwill" pay for?

  146. How much is it worth having free bases in Europe from which strike the Middle East? What's the worth of the NATO soldiers who died in the Middle East? What's the worth of shouldering the cost of the migrant crisis due to American-caused instability?

  147. Once again, President Trump fixes a mess he inherited from Obama. Once again, President Trump proves himself far more effective, successful, popular, smarter, and a better leader than Obama. Thank you, President Trump!

  148. Did I miss something? Did Trump ask for and get anything new? Wasn't he simply claiming Obama's wins as his own?

  149. There are many, many intelligent, educated Republican voters in America who can see the con their president is always pulling, who don't need to wait for the fact-checkers to call his lies and exaggerations, and who no doubt chuckle at his hyperbolic self-congratulations. What remains to be seen is when they have had enough embarrassment. Pretty soon, the word "Republican" will just mean "ignorant and boorish."

  150. Germany has agreed to spends tens of billions of dollars a year on natural gas provided by Russia through a new pipeline then asks the United States to provide the military to defend them from Russia - Of course Trump should call them out

  151. "out of region or out of business", NATO saying.

  152. Trump didn't pay his contractors, he is cheating the government with his emoulmens, God knows how much money he owes Russia but yet he bullies our allies to pay more. This is just incredible. All he cares about is money.

  153. Congress will act only when there is a change of congress. Vote these fools out in November.

  154. US policy has been, better to fight in East Europe rather than Palm Beach and Virginia Beach and Rockaway Beach. Would be real dumb to abandon that.

  155. Angela Merkel and Macron both said that the percent GDP target and the speed of getting there have not changed.

    Why this inaccurate title?

  156. I suspect when Putin is feeling down, he looks at a post-War map of the former Soviet Union including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and East Germany and dreamily has thoughts of "Making Russia Great Again" by adding satellite states. The map version that cheers him up most is the one that leapfrogs western Europe and shows the USA as Russia's newest satellite state whose titular head is a former real estate developer who prides himself on negotiating the "best deals", surrounding himself with the "best people" and being an "off-the-charts" genius.

    At the moment, there is a banner over Putin's USA map that reads "stretch goal": fix the 2018 elections.

  157. A book was written some some ago--can't think of author or title. Sorry about that!

    The gist was: great empires, great powers crumble from within. They raise their armies--they man their forts--they patrol their borders. . . . .

    . . .and meanwhile, at home, there is ever increasing poverty. Shortages. Even hunger.

    Something like this happened to the Roman Empire.

    Is it happening to us?

    I was struck by your allusion to "flashy military hardware." Yes. We do have plenty of that, don't we.

    Made me think of May Day in the old Soviet Union. All the latest missiles proudly paraded down the boulevard. Ageing, stony-faced autocrats waving from atop the Kremlin. Such power! Such might!

    No. Not really. The country's economy was crumbling. Eventually there WAS virtually no economy.

    Are we going that same route?

    Everyone agrees: the USA as a physical entity is falling to pieces. We all remember (years back) the bridge that fell into the Mississippi River. The roads are crumbling. No one does anything at all.

    That (I expect) would entail a tax increase. The Koch brothers would be--gravely displeased. The one percent of one percent would be--distinctly unhappy. These worthy citizens MUST not be vexed. Or irritated.

    Or taxed.

    A word to the wise:

    If you plan to cross the Mississippi River anytime soon .. . .

    . ..take a boat. Or better yet. . ..

    . . ..swim.

  158. Typical Trump bombast claiming credit for something already put in place by GW Bush and Obama.

  159. Since we are the largest weapons dealer in the world, is that the president's motivation for browbeating the NATO countries into increasing to an unrealistic 4 % of their GNP? However it is good. to know he supports the commitment Obama had NATO countries sign in 2014 to raise to 2% by 2024.

  160. President Trump may be the nation’s chief diplomat, but he cannot cancel treaties with foreign nations on his own authority. To do so would be to overreach his presidential power is an way that would tarnish the office for years. George Washington himself made the choice to uphold the law congress set out by cracking down on the whiskey rebellion. It is not the president who can make laws, only enforce them. As a result, it would be unconstitutional for President Trump to force the United States to drop out of NATO on his own authority.

  161. In response to Wahleed Khalid, that may be true but many of the commenters here would be glad of this since they would only see that ACTION is what it's all about without a thought about whether it is unconstitutional.

  162. Europe got bullied because Europe is incredibly weak.

    Europe is weak because the countries of Europe have never been able to settle their endless nationalist squabbles.

    Europe's greatest existential threat is Russia. Europe uses the US's nuclear umbrella as a shield. If they want autonomy they need a joint nuclear force of their own. Lacking such, Europe is little more than the World Cup football with a US v Russian match.

  163. "...and then Trump himself out of office."

    Yes indeed. Rally for Blue Wave '18...

    ...although, more delicious, imho, than Trump losing a bid for reelection would be for the Republicans to rally, out vote Trumplicans, and eliminate Trump in the primary.

  164. This headline is grossly misleading because it implies that despite asking, Obama was not successful in getting more spending from NATO while Trump was. This is not accurate.

    Since Trump did NOT persuade NATO to increase spending more or sooner than what Obama already persuaded them to do in 2014, a more accurate headline be,

    "Trump Gets Nothing More From NATO Than Obama Already Got,"


    "Trump Tries To Take Credit for What Obama Already Got From NATO."

  165. "[A]llies could better advance their own security, and NATO’s, by" kicking America out and aligning themselves with Russia.

    Radical? Yes, but Trump has proven America is no reliable ally. He undermines the mission of NATO, offers that it might be obsolete. He has done what he can to sow doubt in whether America would defend a NATO ally. Likely, he would find an excuse not to act if Russia invaded Canada.

    If America is not an ally, but a bully, NATO countries should explore a more secure peace alliance with Putin. They would not have to accept despotism like Russia, just become partners in trade and mutual defense treaty against the tyranny and chaos of an unpredictable, unreliable, liar who clearly does not value allies.

  166. American voters can take more concrete action in a few short months by voting trump's enablers out of office enmasse. Our current Congress will do nothing to reign in trump's impulsive behavior. They no longer grasp the concept of "checks and balances" nor have the leadership to do it.

  167. The healthy separation of the three branches of government has gotten quite 'sick' since Trump assaulted the presidency (with Putin's help), as the party in control (republican all the way) has abdicated it's obligation to temper the runaway 'bull' in the Oval Office; this, to the detriment of an already suffering democracy, subject to the whims of Donald J. Trump, with the loss of all credibility. His temper tantrums against all common sense and reason has our allies all shaken. And for what, exactly? A gift for his idol Putin perhaps?

  168. How pathetic. Trump finally puts his foot down on the NATO deadbeats and the NYT decides it was really Obama in 2014 that made this happen. 4 years ago! Wow. Delusion. And to boot, Trump was mean to the Europeans!

  169. Did you not read the story? Or any other reportage on this issue?
    NATO members agreed in 2014 to raise defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2024. This is 2018, so they’ve got six more years to meet their goal. Some are doing better than others
    The pledge was made in response to President Obama’s call for them to increase their defense spending.
    Trump has really nothing to do with this except to take credit for something that was happening usual.

  170. Please know, that most Americans know and appreciate your support of our common goals. Remember that Trump was elected by a minority of voters that can win our archaic system of voting.
    Canada is a good neighbor! We hope to return to being one soon!

  171. Let's take a deep breath and reenter the real world. Obama was a windbag that nobody took seriously.His specialty was oratory which, when the air cleared, changed nothing. Trump is a man who says what he means and means what he says. A man who backs his words with action as opposed to Obama who was inaction personified.

  172. You're overlooking a do-nothing congress enabling an illegitimate, narcissistic fool in return for advancing their self-serving agenda of greed and avarice. We are no longer a nation where we 'We the people' matter.

  173. "Trump is a man who says what he means and means what he says." Seriously? Since Trump constantly contradicts himself, how can you tell he means what he says or says what he means?

  174. Last time I checked, Obama got Iran to sign a nuclear deal (a real deal, unlike the recent fake North Korea publicity stunt), took out Bin Laden, expanded health-care coverage for tens of millions, saved the U.S. auto industry, and helped pull the country back from the brink of the Great (Republican-caused) Recession. He could have accomplished much, much more but for the obstructionist Republican Congress. Trump can't even get his own perverted policies right. It took him three tries to put a Muslim travel ban into effect. He did a 180 on his "zero-tolerance" policy on the southern border in a matter of weeks (but not before ripping 3,000+ kids from their parents' arms). His trade policies are a mess. Trump's words are false or meaningless, and for his actions he should be hauled into the dock of an international tribunal. He is a disgrace.

  175. "Greater spending by American allies might mean the United States could lower its own spending and bring thousands of troops home."

    And increase the military might of Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey,

    Not all of which are stable, rational, rule of law corruption free countries. Can they all be trusted not to misuse their newfound military powers--not to devolve into a fascist regimes. Would they develop nuclear capabilities?

    Pay the piper call the tune. Trumpie dealing is to cheat those trying to cooperate with him--his suppliers. He would cheat EU cooperators and cheat the US out of peace and stability.

    It benefits Putin--maybe Putin will tip him.

  176. Trump didn’t “get” anything. They are playing him the way NK did. Say the right stuff to shut him up, and go and do what you want. It is the way to deal with a toddler who is not you own child: shut him up nicely by telling him something, and he will go away.

  177. My grandfather commanded Guam Naval Air Station during WWII and was a turn of the century aviator. I still have his pilot's license signed by the Commissioner of Aviation, Orville Wright.

    My father worked as a chemical engineer in a Navy ordinance lab during the War, developing explosives to blow up European fascists and destroy their cities.

    My father-in-law landed at Sword Beach on the third day of the invasion and spent the next year outside shooting fascists and getting shot at. He walked from Normandy to Tuscany.

    My uncle flew combat missions over North Korea in an F-100, was shot down trying to rescue his dying wingman and spent three years as a POW. He never talked about it until he was dying.

    Their service and their memories are dishonored by this administration efforts to destroy NATO, empower Russia, and coddle North Korea.



  178. Obama got respect, admiration and loyalty. Trump did not.

  179. So did Neville Chamberlain.

  180. We are all both happy and honored that Desert Turtle's family has done so much for our country. But that was 65 to 75 years back, and we live in the current world.

    It seems to me Trump's words have helped to insure NATO's existence by making our European allies pony up both cash and more dedication to its mission, that his condemnation of Germany for their gas pipelinedealings with Putin has done anything BUT empower Russia while showing the hypocrisy of the EU's richest member, and that his 'coddling' of North Korea has borne more fruit to date than did all the inaction of our former leaders (if total inaction is not 'coddling', what is?)

  181. "Obama got respect, admiration and loyalty..."

    Yes, and he won the Nobel Prize.

    But Obama didn't get the job done. He let US be taken advantage of.

    Trump got the job done. And that is the difference between the two Presidents.

    "Obama got respect, admiration and loyalty.", but Trump got the job done.

    Now, which is the better President?

  182. Nobody took Obama seriously. His specialty was empty oratory.Trump is the complete opposite.He's a man who says what he means and means what he says.

  183. The only problem with whatever Trump says is that it is either a lie or will change tomorrow. Everybody is laughing at Trump and respected Obama.

  184. Yep, he "says" lies, verifiable lies, dozens by the day, and means every one of them. Your assertion that nobody took Obama seriously is yet another laughable lie.

  185. That's because Obama isn't a boastful idiot who does everything for show. The American public falls for TV reality every time. I'll take the substance of Obama any day. As for Trump saying what he means - he changes is mind every 3 minutes and then says he never did. He still thinks that North Korea is going to denuclearize. Very funny.

  186. The editorial itself says that "Since he came into office, Mr. Trump’s urging has gotten some allies to accelerate spending increases". Trumps wants all allies to accelerate their spending. Trump appears to have achieved that. If the allies increase the spending, the US can reduce it to a level closer to 2% from the current level. Also, if Trump is able to establish friendship with Putin and Russia, it is good for us and our allies, and he may achieve that also. Obama was desperate to have good relationship with Russia, but failed miserably. During his time, for obvious reasons that we can see, Russia annexed Crimea, tried to undermine Ukraine, undermined American interest in Syria, Middle East and all over the world, and allegedly "undermined American democracy" by intervening in 2016 election. Now, the New York Times' editors are telling Trump to be like Obama and follow his policies! Ha ha ha!

  187. Many nations had already started increasing spending as per Obama's requests/agreements for increased spending, but you stay in your alternate reality of the idea that bluster always wins. Let's wait for results before declaring victory, since France has said nothing has changed, and we've seen what a disaster NK negotiations are.

  188. trump de-nuclearized the Korean peninsula in the same way that he has upped Europe's NATO spending. He didn't. he does a sound bite, which, given how much he lies about their not being collusion or the trade balance shifted, is an obvious bald faced lie. like all of his statements....obvious lies for simpletons.

  189. Actually reading an article before commenting is always a good idea. Trump is building on Obama's initiative. Obama "failed miserably" befriending a hostile Russia? And that's Obama's fault. Okay. Clearly Trump will have no problem with Russia since, at minimum, Russia did their best to get him elected.

  190. Currently I am listening to this president trying to skirt his statements in the British newspapers. Lies come so quickly to him, there is not even a thought. Trump stated that Britain has lost its culture because it isn't completely white anymore. For a clown who didn't serve in the Viet Nam war, there is nothing that he states can be believed by thinking people
    We are the richest country in the world and we make a great deal of money off of NATO by our trading with these countries. However Trump is no President Obama so I am surprised that the clown just continues to lie and now everyone is believing it. Sleep well because the North Korea are not going to be a threat anymore, well that is a lie. North Korea leadership is picking potatoes when the Americans come to meet, to busy for you I have received what I wanted I am on the world stage America created NATO and we can not let a clown destroy our country and the world.

    If Trump is so worried about money why doesn't Trump pay for the deficient himself. He is making money hand over fist from being president. His daughter has made money from her clothing line and she could pay some money to NATO funds also. If we allow this craziness by the president then anything is possible.

    Listening to Trump lie should be a course on all colleges, the next generation can learn a great deal.

  191. I too just listened to dtRumps press conference. I wonder how fox FAKE news will cover it as he refuted the Sun's interview. They have the tape, which has been played. So, now, what are they to do. How will Hannity spin this one.

  192. There's an expression that fits Donald Trump's obsession with bullying NATO countries regarding their monitary contributions to the alliance- "penny wise and pound foolish."

    For a time, due to past bonds of friendship, shared values, joint endeavors to protect and defend democracy and stability, Mr. Trump's bullying tactics will work.

    But only for so long. Soon enough, Mr. Trump will achieve his goal of unbinding America to its past obligations under international treaties and membership in alliances, because even our staunchest allies will tire of being abused in service to his zero-sum game.

    Only it isn't a game. Mr. Trump is acting in service to real goals, based on real assumptions, philosophies and values - goals, philosophies and values inimical to those which are the foundations of western democracy and its system of alliances and institutions.

    I await Mr. Mueller's findings, but I wonder if they will show that Donald Trump is acting in parallel to Russia, not in collusion with it (unlike, perhaps, some of his associates.) His "my way or the highway" approach to policy is home-grown, right out of America's extreme libertarian streak, in lockstep with the agenda of the right wing movement that has been gaining power in America for over 30 years.

    Those who wish to defend our democracies against it had better stop acting like deer in the headlights, mesmerized in shock and awe by Donald Trump's antics into futile inaction.

    It's time to mount a comeback, folks.

  193. Your headline "Trump got from NATO everythiing Obama asked for.." begs the conclusion "....but never got" Did anyone ever expect that a collection of states would or could automatically jump to meet Obama's request? are you implying that only a bully can get results? Nice going! And what about the serious risk that Trump will break up NATO after he pockets the credit for increasing spending? What of the long term damage to the United States of a resurgent Russia?

  194. So now Trump is taking credit for all the NATO pledges Obama won, without of course winning the respect and admiration of our European allies. When will Congress do its job and impeach this insane old goofball, or at least keep him on the golf course and away from misconduct of foreign policy. Don't Republicans realize that Trump's version of America First will leave us friendless and alone -- at the mercy of Putin, Xi, Kim, ISIS and God knows how many other enemies he creates.

  195. Europe would be wise to heed tRUMPF's advice - they may need more military to defend against an American-Russian axis. As for tRUMPF - he needs more military to defend himself against the revolution.

  196. Wow, you do know that “bringing the troops home” will not save money. Germany subsidies about 30% of the cost. It also helps have our troops and equipment deployed in “forward areas”, much easier to move from Germany or Bahrain to Iraq or Afghanistan or some place in Africa than to ship everything from US.
    I also look at Europes’(esp. Germanys’) taking in refugees as something akin to Gen. Mattis statement about if we don’t invest in the State Dept (peaceful means) then he would gave to buy more bullets for DOD.

  197. Your headline is misleading. What exactly has Trump acomplished? If they were already increasing their contributions with a target date of 2024, they just agreed to keep doing what they're doing. Trump was just being Trump and using the old bargaining method of "ask high."

    His whole modus operandi is to appear strong. Well, he has a lot of big money and the America-firsters behind him. And now Israel and the Saudis et al are his friends because of their common target Iran. But what about the looming elephant in the room--China. They have big money and big plans, and they don't beat their chest and act the clown.

    America will be better off when we see the back of this disrupter, as we work to repair alliances with humanitarians the world over.

  198. I think Trump is trying to have things "both ways," which explains the actual, not just seeming, inconsistency of this "stable genius" and his remarks, e.g., claiming our relations with the U.K. are strong but slamming Theresa May's "soft Brexit" and extolling the virtues of Boris "Hard Brexit," May's chief opponent. One way is publically to criticize the E.U. and NATO and thereby bolster Putin's attempts to dismantle NATO and the E.U. (and possibly keep blackmailer Putin from releasing the "dirt" Putin has on Trump). The other way is quietly/privately to schmooze the E.U. and NATO leaders. However, stable governance cannot tolerate such inconsistency for long before bucking. Hence, we see the U.S. Senate reinforcing our NATO support and the European leaders flatly stating they cannot trust what Trump says. In the world of real estate, double-speak is a mark of the effective (i.e., untruthful) real estate salesperson. And perhaps that is what Trump is really doing: selling the U.S. and its institutions out from under us to Putin and his oligarchs.

  199. His means may be crude and rude. His rationale is not. Russia is not USSR. And Europe is not recovering under Marshall plan. The wound has healed but they still want the bandaid because it feels great. Time to rip it off.

  200. I think that Trump is teeing up for a Russian invasion of another European country and the US will not help because that nation wasn't spending 4% on defense. A thank you to Putin for his election.

  201. The only thing more embarrassing than Trump is the Republican congress.

  202. Warmongers and grifters.
    You could bring your troops home if you wanted to but you are addicted, your corporate trans national corporations would not have an army then. To bully and economically devastate.
    Yes other nations can be unscrupulous and criminal. You enable and now provide succor to Trump.
    There is a reason I cancelled my subscription.