Trump: NATO ‘obsolete’, Europe: ‘astonished’

Donald Trump has again contradicted himself and his appointed defence secretary, and ‘astonished’ European leaders, with comments reported by Reuters – Trump says NATO is obsolete but still ‘very important to me’

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said NATO was obsolete because it had not defended against terror attacks, but that the military alliance was still very important to him, The Times of London reported.

“I took such heat, when I said NATO was obsolete,” Trump told the newspaper in an interview. “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.”

I don’t know who the ‘they’ is that Trump refers to is, but a number of people disagree with him.

Including his appointment as Defence Secretary, General James Mattis: Mattis Breaks With Trump on Russia, NATO

Gen. James Mattis broke sharply with President-elect Donald Trump on Russia and NATO during his confirmation hearing Thursday to be the next defense secretary.

“I think right now, the most important thing is that we recognize the reality of what we deal with in Mr. Putin and we recognize that he is trying to break the North Atlantic alliance and we take the integrated steps — diplomatic, economic, military and the alliance steps, working with our allies — to defend ourselves where we must,” Mattis said.

And Al Jazeera reports on reactions from European leaders on trump’s latest comments in EU nations react to Donald Trump’s remarks

European Union member nations have reacted with surprise and defiance to comments by US President-elect Donald Trump, who has said in an interview that he believes NATO is “obsolete” and that more member states will leave the 28-nation EU.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister…

…said Trump’s view on NATO and criticism that allied members were not paying their fair share has “caused astonishment”.

French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault…

…said the best response to such an interview was simple – Europeans uniting.

Chancellor Angela Merkel…

…said Trump’s positions have been “long known” but added: “I think we Europeans have our fate in our own hands.

“I’m personally going to wait until the American president takes office, and then we will naturally work with him on all levels”.

That may be quite a challenge, especially if Trump’s stance on NATO and on Russia continues to differ from his Defence Secretary and other staff.

Trump has avoided saying who he trusts more — US ally German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Well, I start off trusting both — but let’s see how long that lasts,” the incoming president said in an interview with The Sunday Times.

“It may not last long at all.”

It’s not clear which of the two Trump is pessimistic about trust lasting with. Whether Merkel or Putin can trust Trump is another matter.

It’s difficult to know whether Trump’s contradictory statements are deliberate stirring, or if he is ignorant of how out of step he is with the US as well as Europe.

I can imagine that Russia will be loving what Trump is doing, stirring up and unsettling their main adversaries.

Whether Trump is doing it deliberately for Russia’s benefit is another big question.

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36 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  17th January 2017

    Perhaps the Russians HAVE got something on him?

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  17th January 2017

    I think Trump has a point. It’s unclear what Nato’s purpose is now the USSR is broken up.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  17th January 2017

      I much prefer my theory, although you do have a point.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  17th January 2017

        I suspect Europe is in for a lot more astonishment.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  17th January 2017

          Oops – sorry – see below for further comment on yours above.

          Reply
        • Jeeves

           /  17th January 2017

          I think they’re secretly relishing all of this- because it is a great chance to form their own powerful coalition with much less American influence- all under the banner of –
          “Sorry Donald, can’t afford your prices at the moment- we’ll just have to go it alone.” –

          Does he really think that the ancient centres of the olde world geopolitics (Europe, Asia and the Middle East) won’t recognise this as the best opportunity since the 1940s to rearrange the pecking order to their advantage?

          This may be a time of uncertainty, for sure- but only the Americans buy into the simple story they have been peddled about ‘Socialism’, ‘Communism’, the Yellow Peril, and the Towel Heads. Only they believe that they are the mightiest in the world – the rest of the world are old enough and wise enough to see the potential in new alliances- and the might that comes about in new friendships. The rest of the world knows that the Iranians are perfectly reasonable people to do business with, and always have been, as are the Venezuelans and the Chinese and especially most of the old USSR blocs, and the Russians.
          The rest of the world is not ‘roided up on a fast food diet of ‘Freedom, Guns, Jesus and the American dream’.
          Most of us actually do know the extent of the actual threat of Islamic fundamentalism, and how to beat it – through supportive alliances, wealthy and healthy secularism, and most importantly- from a safe distance.

          Interesting times indeed- but a great opportunity for Europe, the East, the Arab world, China and Africa to send a clear message of friendship to America –

          “We support you in your desire to go it alone-We respect your desire to charge us for your friendship- and we politely decline. We look forward with great enthusiasm to you closing your borders and rebuilding your infrastructure and emerging as a great nation at some point in the future- we think we’ll be the better for it, ourselves, and more than ready to be your friend, and charge the market rate”

          Personally I think he’s about a year away from either a coup, an assassination, or an impeachment which gives Pence control- but if he actually makes it- then it can only be great for the rest of us, probably not so good for Americans within the USA, and definitely shit for the USA on the world stage.

          I’m actually really warming to his imbecilic ways.

          ps- as an afterthought… what if the USA and Russia get along just fine and decide that together they can screw over the rest of us, including china?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  17th January 2017

            I think you inhabit a different planet. Personally, I think the Europeans are shell-shocked and wondering what will hit them next while trying to put on a brave face. There is trouble in every direction they look and they don’t know which way to turn so they continue to do what they do best: nothing.

            Reply
            • Jeeves

               /  17th January 2017

              Oh I absolutely do inhabit a different planet, Alan.
              The European Union may look like they are doing nothing, but don’t for one second think Europe is doing nothing… that would be very naive.
              Ours is not a culture that has sat down here for 150 years in neverland staring at portraits of the queen and joking about the commies and the chinkies….
              Aussie and NZ are the quintessential Falklanders of the new era. Haven’t quite let go of mummies hemline, and blissfully sided with who you thought were the ‘West’- without bothering to even give a cursory investigation into what lies they have been feeding us since the second world war- about freedom, democracy and who the good guys are.
              And much to our detriment- we have only in the last twenty odd years began to take a serious look at who our other ‘actual’ neighbours are (hint- not the Brits or the Yanks).

              So yes , a different planet Alan, but a much bigger one than yours.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  17th January 2017

              I suspect Jupiter. Let me know when you exit the solar system and I’ll send you a farewell card.

            • Jeeves

               /  17th January 2017

              Lol.

          • Gezza

             /  17th January 2017

            Last bit – on the cards I believe.

            Reply
  3. David

     /  17th January 2017

    NATO has failed to change in a very long time and Trump makes a good point given terrorism is a far bigger immediate danger than Russia coming over the border. NATO has been ignored by Obama and he left the EU to use it in a political way all the while sending the bill to the US.
    There have been many theatres where NATO could have been used and it hasnt, the last time it was used was Yugoslavia where it had to take a back seat when Clinton went around it to stop the ongoing slaughter of civilians.

    Reply
    • I don’t think it’s this simple.

      If NATO was ditched how would Russia react? I think there’s a real chance it would embolden them to be more aggressive – and they have been aggressive as it is.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  17th January 2017

        Hasn’t NATO been monstering them?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  17th January 2017

          Obama just shipped a lot of troops back into Europe. NATO watched.

          Reply
      • David

         /  17th January 2017

        A lot of the Russian pushback was from NATO placing weaponry alongside their border under the guise of intercepting munitions from the middle east/north korea, they poked the bear and it bit back.

        Reply
      • Jeeves

         /  17th January 2017

        No Pete- they have been reactive to American aggression.

        Reply
        • putting advanced missile Defenses into Europe isnt agressive, in fact I’m sure much of Europe would like to be under a protective umbrella from russia.

          Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  17th January 2017

    Yep. He’s saying we don’t need you. You can keep your Muslims. And your cheeses & cars & stuff.

    Your comment about the USSR I like. I don’t think Russia is a threat to Europe – it’s not trying to export an ideology, seize resources, & build a bulwark against the hun.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  17th January 2017

      @ Al.

      Reply
    • Trump has threatened to slap high taxes on European car makers who manufacture in Mexico for the US market. That could backfire, for the US in general, and for car buyers in the US.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  17th January 2017

        He’s already playing the Japanese. If the German car makers get shut out of the UK and US they’ll be in big trouble and so will Germany and therefore the EU.

        Reply
  5. Missy

     /  17th January 2017

    In response to Trump’s comments, including suggesting he believes the EU will break up, (and who said he didn’t have an understanding of international politics – everyone by Germany, France, and the EU think it is heading towards destruction), Merkel has said in a speech that she believes that Europeans have fate in their own hands. A pity she didn’t feel like that prior to last June when she – along with many other EU leaders – criticised Britain for holding the referendum, and saying they shouldn’t have done it. I hope she realises now that the British just wanted fate in their own hands – not in the hands of Brussels.

    Reply
  6. Zedd

     /  17th January 2017

    BUT who is really pulling their strings ?
    sounds like further moves to NWO.. one world Govt. (run by the Jesuits ??) 😦

    Reply
  7. What if its all reverse psychology to spur continential europe to increase its Military spending as a percentage of GDP, so you know, they actually “pull their weight” from the viewpoint of the USA………………

    Reply
  8. Patzcuaro

     /  17th January 2017

    Is Trump the real Trump, could the Russian have inserted a double while he was staying in the hotel suite that the Obamas used in Moscow. It would explain a lot.

    If the Russian where serious about living in peace with their neighbours they would join Nato or the European Union.

    Reply
    • Jeeves

       /  17th January 2017

      “If the Russian where serious about living in peace with their neighbours they would join Nato or the European Union.”

      But that is their whole point!
      An independent foreign policy for Russians by Russians.

      Hi everyone! we are perfectly competent at coming up with our own geopolitical worldview, and we don’t wish to join your club, where western petro-interests want to bring us to our knees, thanks all the same.

      People need to get past the 50’s and 60’s and start realising that they are not necessarily the bad guys, and that perhaps they are running a less oppressive society that the USA, in fact perhaps more people are happy and prosperous there per capita than in USA.

      Who knows?

      Reply
  9. Patzcuaro

     /  17th January 2017

    The Europeans should be able to confront Russia on their own rather than relying on the US. It might make the Russians less confrontational if there was less US and more Europe in the defence of Western Europe.

    Reply
    • Jeeves

       /  17th January 2017

      With this? I agree.
      But it may not need to be confrontational. Slowly withdrawing the Yankee influence from the European continent while simultaneously investing our energies into trade with Russia and ex CCCP members, and strengthening our military might be a good thing.

      Perhaps the hapless Trump sees one thing- and surely of all things he must be the ultimate pragmatist- surely he sees that all this shit and idealogy and military and fear- costs a shitload, but delivers nothing.
      Perhaps at the end of the day the USA really do need less fighters, and more builders, even if the builders are uncouth swaggering braggadocios.

      Reply

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