Speaking to The Washington Post editorial board on Monday, Trump had this to say about NATO: “We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore. ... NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.”
After terrorists attacked Brussels on Tuesday, Trump has been repeatedly attacked from all sides for denigrating NATO, but, in true Trump fashion, he doubled down.
“As well as some of the things it currently focuses on!” is a classic Trump-ism, and it betrays the lack of actual strategic thinking going on here. Trump’s stance on NATO is similar to Putin’s—after Brussels, many of the Russian leader’s allies argued that NATO should be retooled to fight terrorism, not protect Eastern Europe from Russian aggression. (NATO, it should be added, fights terrorism.)
But picking apart Trump’s actual stance here seems beside the point because Trump only seems to have one stance: He thinks that the U.S., which pays around a half billion dollars a year to NATO, is getting a bad deal. Trump thinks he can renegotiate that deal and make it better, because that’s the only real pillar of his platform.