So, just to note,
The man simply cannot be trusted on his own. At yet, he will be... with arguably one of the biggest threats to American national security to re-emerge after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This isn't simple fearmongering on my part. A lot of foreign policy experts are dreading this as well.
Worse, they're worried that this particular trip - with trump railing against NATO more than before - will spell doom for American foreign policy: There is every likelihood trump will drag the United States out of NATO and kill an alliance that has held Western Europe (and recently all of Europe) together for 60-plus years.
Lemme link to Jonathan Chait at New York for this:
President Trump tweeted today that America’s NATO allies have been “delinquent for many years in payments” and should “reimburse the U.S.” That is not how NATO works...
One cannot rule out the possibility that Trump lacks the mental capacity to understand the basic form of America’s most important alliance. But it is at least as likely that Trump is choosing not to understand this, so that he can precipitate a fissure within the alliance.
Last week, Trump’s national security advisers, who have traditional Republican views toward NATO (good) and Russia (bad), and the allies both expressed their hope that Trump would use the NATO summit to declare victory. Trump has been calling for the allies to increase their defense spending, and indeed they have. The increase has been ongoing since 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, but the allies signaled they would be happy to let Trump claim credit. “The European officials we’ve spoken to would love nothing more than for Trump to take a victory lap and claim credit for them boosting their defense spending,” reported Jonathan Swan last week.
Oddly for Trump, he is not taking the opportunity to claim a win. Instead he appears to be defining the terms of the disagreement such that it cannot be resolved. NATO’s allies can always try to spend even more on defense, but asking them to pay the United States back dues that they never promised and do not owe is an impossible demand...
trump is moving the goalposts on this so that he'll always have an excuse to do what he's likely about to do. Back to Chait:
Meanwhile, the Trump-Putin relationship is blossoming (or perhaps just coming out into the open). Putin reportedly has been telling Trump that “fake news” and the “deep state” are conspiring against them. (“It’s not us,” Putin has told Trump, according to an American source, summarizing his message, “it’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”) Trump has also reportedly expressed to Putin his desire for better relations, and called the advisers who tried to prevent him from congratulating the strongman on his reelection “stupid people.”
Compared to a week ago, it is now harder to imagine Trump will use the summit to leverage concessions that will make him appear like a strong negotiator, and much easier to imagine that he will use it to instigate a diplomatic crisis with NATO. By the time this is over, he may well have reoriented American foreign policy completely. It may seem bizarre that one man could do this, especially given that almost nobody in Trump’s administration or the ranks of the party’s political professionals share his goal of jettisoning NATO or closely courting Russia. Yet Trump has shown the ability to lead his base wherever he wants to take it. And where the base has gone, the party has eventually followed...
Under other circumstances, it would be hilarious to watch all the hardened foreign policy wizards of the Republican Party - all of them perfectly aware of how the U.S. has benefited in both military and political matters being united with the other Western democracies during the Cold War and Global War on Terror decades - suddenly switch their worldviews from "Europe good, Putin bad" to "OMG Putin is just the best BFF ever!" Under other circumstances, most of those intelligent, well-studied thinkers of realpolitik would argue against any ill-advised ignorant demolition of a stable, valuable alliance. But we no longer live in that world: This is the World of Fox Not-News, and if you can't help shill the Narrative of the hour/month/year which happens to be whatever is in trump's head that very moment, you are persona non grata to the GOP.
By the end of this week, everything we've ever known about the United States' place in the world could well be blown up and torn down like the Berlin Wall.
We will see a near-immediate end to foreign sharing of intel: What is the likelihood the UK or France is willing to share data with a nation that could easily hand it over to Russia without batting an eye? NATO's efforts to stop Russia from a full-out invasion of Ukraine falls apart. Half of Central Europe - bizarrely under the political sway of right-wing Nationalist governments more friendly to Putin than they should - could well cut out of any NATO or shared alliance with Western Europe and turn most of Eastern Europe back into a Russian playground.
Our own military situation won't improve. Any ongoing efforts in the Global War on Terror takes a hit when we lose all that intel. Half of our military preparedness and ability to deploy has been tied into our sharing of resources overseas: Our military bases in Europe will likely be closed.
The aftershock of trump shutting down NATO won't end there. Our other overseas alliances especially in Asia will come under scrutiny. How many of those nations would be willing to stay attached to a United States dominated by a bully in trump who keeps screaming for "reparations" on "delinquent payments"? South Korea is already scarred by trump's failures - yes, THAT already fell apart - dealing with North Korea. Central America is already pissed at trump's evil anti-immigrant policies. Africa's in no mood to give trump the time of day either.
Put on top of this trump's eagerness to wage tariff wars on multiple fronts - we're at four trade blocs and counting - and we're screwed. Every nation from Australia to Zimbabwe is going to consider their options in dealing with a crazed, unstable USA and take their chances without us.
The United States is one step away - one major temper tantrum by the world's biggest orange baby - from being a Superpower nation to a Third-World Nobody relying on Russia for handouts.
This isn't hyperbole. This can really happen. The North Atlantic Treaty - the basis for NATO - includes Article 13, which allows a NATO member to "denounce" its membership and gives that nation a year to cut all ties with the alliance. trump can issue a denouncement and we'd be out of NATO technically by 2019. In reality, the entire situation will go FUBAR within hours.
It would be up to the remaining pro-foreign-policy, pro-NATO people in the Republican ranks - likely Secretary of Defense Mattis, who has to be fully aware how serious a hit to our own military this will be, and Chief of Staff Kelly, and then various Senators and Congresspersons on the Foreign Relations committees - to do something to stop trump from nuking our strongest allied bloc from orbit. However, given the constant failure by these same "sane adults in the room" to keep trump on a leash, I doubt any of them will grow the collective spine necessary to call for a 25th Amendment solution to remove a clearly unstable and dangerous president for the sake of the nation.
To everyone especially the hard-core trump supporters who keep screaming there's no proof that trump colluded with Russia to hack/interfere with the 2016 Elections... here's your fucking proof. trump's own fucking actions selling the United States out to Putin, practically handing this nation over on a goddamn silver platter. Everything bad that can happen on this trip by trump will be EXACTLY what Putin wants. The second that trump pulls the United States out of NATO, Putin wins.
It had long been a plot point in political potboiler thrillers that somehow the United States would come under attack not from invasion but from subversion, of a group or an individual somehow grabbing the reins of power and surrendering the entire nation without a shot. To anyone who ever thought those books or movies were implausible, welcome to the Hell that is trumpWorld.
It had been a common political attack, usually from the Far Right and the Republicans who went after Democrats as being so liberal they were practically Commies. Think back to Nixon's first Congressional campaign when he attacked his Democratic opponent - a woman by the by - of being "Pink down to her underwear." Think about all the times the Republicans accusing Democrats of being in bed with the Soviet Union. Think about the Far Right fears about fluoride in the water.
And when Soviet Communism fell, the Far Right found other excuses to hate on Democrats. The Clintons were in cahoots with China. Obama was a Secret Muslim selling us out to ISIL. Anything to fearmonger their base into voting for the worst of the worst.
And now here we are. One step away from the likelihood of donald Shitgibbon trump cutting off our strongest international alliance all to curry favor with his favorite dictator Putin. One step away from the so-called Leader of the Free World surrendering without a shot to the latest Strongman of Russia.
But this isn't a conspiracy. This is no far-flung fantasy. This ain't a movie starring Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury.
Hail Fucking Hydra.
We are so very fucking royally fucked.
Update (7/11/18): This very morning trump accused GERMANY of being "a captive of Russia". The worst case of projection since that slideshow presentation at that boring seminar we all attend at some point in our lives.