The former president reportedly said he wouldn’t staff his administration with “NATO lovers” if elected again
Former US President Donald Trump has discussed pulling the country out of NATO or dramatically scaling back America’s commitment to the bloc if he wins the 2024 election, Rolling Stone magazine reported on Monday.
Citing two sources who allegedly heard him make the comments, Rolling Stone claimed that Trump has expressed openness to leaving NATO altogether, or remaining in the military alliance if its European members increase their defense spending and scrap Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – which treats an attack on one member state as an attack on all 31.
“Starting World War III” over some of the bloc’s smaller members makes no sense, Trump vented to his advisers in mid-2018, arguing that most Americans had never even heard of some of these countries. Attributed to a ‘former senior administration official’, this anecdote backs up what former National Security Advisor John Bolton told the Washington Post last year: that Trump was ready to announce the US departure from NATO at the bloc’s 2018 summit, but ultimately backed down on Bolton’s advice.
“In a second Trump term, I think he may well have withdrawn from NATO,” Bolton said at the time.
With conflict raging in Ukraine and NATO’s Eastern European and Baltic members urging the alliance to step up its military aid to Kiev, Trump has repeatedly warned of the likelihood of “World War III” breaking out in Europe. If elected, Trump has promised to cut off military aid to Ukraine and force its president, Vladimir Zelenzky, to negotiate a peace deal with Russia.
In a campaign video released earlier this year, Trump blamed the conflict on “all the warmongers and ‘America Last’ globalists in the Deep State, the Pentagon, the State Department and the national security industrial complex,” who he said were “obsessed with pushing Ukraine towards NATO.”
According to Rolling Stone’s sources, Trump has made it clear that his second administration would not be staffed by “NATO lovers.”
The sources said that Trump studied a policy proposal by conservative writer Dr. Sumantra Maitra earlier this year entitled ‘Pivoting the US Away from Europe to a Dormant NATO’ and liked some of its ideas. In the paper, Maitra wrote that “the NATO bureaucracy” is “prone to push missions that are beyond NATO’s core role and, at times, opposed to the domestic interests of the United States. Radically reducing the NATO bureaucracy should be a chief aim.”
“He still wants out,” one Trump adviser told Rolling Stone. The aide acknowledged that Trump might not actually follow through on this desire, but “wants a policy team around him nowadays that is much, much tougher on NATO than anything he’s done in the past.”
October 26, 2023 at 07:35PM