In between rounds of golf and tea with the Queen, US president Donald Trump has told the world that he considers Russia as a more valuable ally than NATO and has called into question whether the NATO mutual defense agreement still stands.
Trump launched his assault on his NATO “partners” immediately, criticising Germany’s reliance on Russian natural gas, and other members’ failure to commit adequate funding for their membership. He made it clear that he prefers Putin and Russia over some of his “allies”, and even called into question the doctrine of mutual defense. In a Fox News interview, newsman Tucker Carlson asked the Prez why the U.S. should protect a country like Montenegro, which joined NATO last year; and Trump replied that he has asked himself the same question.
“Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people,” Trump said. “They’re very aggressive people, and they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III. But that’s the way it was set up.”
When Montenegro joined NATO, Russian president Putin didn’t like it at all. So really it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Trump doesn’t like it either. He declared that Russia did not pose any kind of danger to the US, contradicting everything he has been told by his military advisors. The White House tried to put a different spin on it, but the facts are clear: Trump has got a very “special” relationship with Putin – more “special” than the “special relationship” US and UK leaders are supposed to have enjoyed at least as far back as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher back in the 1980s.
This also shouldn’t really be a surprise: in London Trump made it clear that his favourite thing in the British government was Boris Johnson, former Foreign Secretary who has quit his job over Brexit. Trump said that prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans have scuppered any chance of a post-Brexit trade deal between the US and UK. So Trump clearly wants May out of office and Johnson in. Then the special relationship can be resurrected.
So, what did Trump achieve on this trip to Europe? He offered the hand of friendship to Vladimir bloody Putin and Boris bloody Johnson. He belittled or ignored his allies in NATO. He undermined the British prime minister. He called into question the principles on which NATO was founded. And he had tea with the Queen.
All in all, a profitable few days. Thanks Mr Trump! Come back soon!