John Bolton, former national security adviser for the Trump administration (a position he held for 17 months), hit the president recently on Trump’s response to recent North Korean provocations — probably in a bid to try to sell more books.
And an NBC report from a few weeks ago indicated that Bolton told a private audience in early November that the re-election of President Donald Trump would pose a danger to the success and perhaps even the existence of the NATO alliance.
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He claimed the president could “go ‘full isolationist.’”
It seems that nearly every day, Bolton has a new problem with current U.S. national security priorities.
But is the specific allegation that Trump might injure NATO really worthy of consideration?
Not in the slightest.
It is sad, but it seems expected, that even someone of past and relatively stable keel like Bolton would go “full irrational” when criticizing the president.
President Trump, in fact, has made the alliance perceptively stronger not only by helming a resurgent America around the world, but by putting pressure on our NATO allies to increase defense expenditure to the NATO-mandated 2 percent of GDP.
They have done so alliance-wide to the tune of $20 billion.
John Bolton must know that.
He is not a stupid man — and yet he chooses to ignore it. Which gives us an idea of the credibility of his argument.
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Yes, the president has called recalcitrant NATO allies to task on their defense spending levels; and some didn’t like the reminder of their military deadbeat status.
The U.S. has paid for the greatest bulk of NATO funding, more than any other nation and more than many nations combined, since the alliance’s inception in 1949.
But some Western European countries such as the Germans, who gained most from American funding of NATO as the Soviets were positioned right across their border, still want to rely on the U.S. generally to fund their defense.
That is unfair to the American taxpayer who has borne that burden for 70 years and counting.
The president understands that — and ran for office upon it in 2016. But that doesn’t mean he will abandon NATO and our responsible long-term allies like Britain.
It does mean the U.S. will not be shouldering the greater part of the load alone anymore.
That strengthens the alliance’s commitment to collective defense and also makes America stronger.
It’s a win/win deal for everyone — except for John Bolton and those who would take Trump’s demand for fairness and cynically label it a cut-and-run.