What is most scary about Donald Trump’s announcement about NATO is that for a long time, he had absolutely no problem spouting off about something he had no idea about. After more than a year of claiming NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was obsolete, he recently proclaimed that it is no longer obsolete. In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump declared that his previous boisterous statements were made due to his ignorance. He said that NATO was obsolete because he didn’t know what it did.
They had a quote from me that NATO’s obsolete. But they didn’t say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf . . . asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, “And the reason it’s obsolete is because of the fact they don’t focus on terrorism.” You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.
The fact is NATO has never been obsolete. NATO was formed 67 years ago to protect much of Europe and the free world from the threat of Soviet aggression. It has done its job, and it has done its job well. Furthermore, NATO does indeed fight terrorism, and has for many years.
However, truth didn’t stopped Trump from making his ignorant comments.
Following the March 22, 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels, Trump tells ABC News he thought NATO was “obsolete”, and “NATO was done at a time you had the Soviet Union, which was obviously larger — much larger than Russia is today,” he said, adding that the alliance should be “readjusted to take care of terrorism.”
April 2, 2016 — Trump doubles down on NATO criticism at a Racine, WI campaign rally, but admits he’s only a recent study on the NATO topic:
“I said here’s the problem with NATO: it’s obsolete. Big statement to make when you don’t know that much about it, but I learn quickly.”
January 15, 2017 — in a joint interview, post-election, pre-inauguration, with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump reflects on his “obsolete” comment, but insists he was both correct and vindicated:
“I took such heat, when I said NATO was obsolete. It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days. And then they started saying Trump is right.”
However, once Trump actually sat down and met with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and learned what NATO does, Trump declared “I said it was obsolete, it is no longer obsolete”.
Many people would conclude that it is pretty scary that we elected a President who can have such strong opinions on topics he knows so little about. Most rational people would defer opinion until they had a bit more knowledge, but not Trump. His casual, off-the-cuff ignorant statements caused concern for millions of US allies in Europe. Many people believe his, and Secretary of States Rex Tillerson’s casual statements about Assad in Syria led to Assad using chemical weapons on his own people, resulting in the deaths of innocent children. It’s time Trump acts like a President and realizes that no matter how stupid and ignorant his comments may be, they carry weight and they have ramifications. Millions of lives depend on what he says. He needs to realize it.Tweet