"What Trump Said: He explicitly raised new questions about his commitment to automatically defend NATO allies if they are attacked, saying he would first look at their contributions to the alliance, the Times reported.
What Elites Think: What a disaster! Does Trump not know that 20th-century alliances have prevented a third World War? Russia would take advantage of a weakened NATO to expand its control. President Trump would make the nation weaker, less relevant, and more exposed to threats abroad.
What Populists Think: If these countries want our help, they’ve got to pay their bills. We’re not asking for the world—only what they promised to pay under a treaty that obliges the United States to defend them. Fair is fair. What makes us weak is defending and extending one-way alliances. As for the post-World War II order that Trump threatens to upend, this is now a post-9/11 world; it can’t hurt to pressure-test the old institutions." Fournier in The Atlantic
Trump thinks all deals are subject to re-negotiation. Treaties are deals. These deals are ratified by the US Senate. In Trumps mind we have the US Senate as the equivalent of a stockholder's meeting. Therefore, he thinks, treaty deals are subject to re-negotiation. This is a typical entrepreneurial business attitude.
Is there some reason why we should think that treaties are not re-negotiable? In fact the French withdrew their forces from the control of Allied Command Europe (ACE) while not leaving the alliance. Was this not a de facto re-negotiation of the treaty?
Borgists like Ron Fournier automatically shrink from Trump's desire to return America to an attitude regarding "foreign entanglements" that prevailed before WW2. This was an attitude that strictly put narrowly defined US interests first and regarded all else as "to be determined." Trump does not accept the internationalist view that the world is one and that the US should be its guardian. This spirit of guardianship seem to me to originate in the notion that the rest of the world is a very imperfect place that the God of the New England Puritans gave unto the protection and regulation of the "city on the hill." This is amusing since so many of the Borgians are now godless heathen.
I watched again the recent re-make of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." This is the version in which the splendid actor Gary Oldman plays George Smiley. In the film, the Circus holds a Christmas party sometime at the height of the Cold War. In the midst of the sad revelry, Father Christmas enters stage right with his bag of goodies and wearing a Joe Stalin mask. the crowd stands and he leads the British spooks in a spirited rendition of the Soviet national anthem. I saw much the same thing happen after the fall of the USSR when American military spooks specialized in the USSR sang "I'm dreaming of a red Christmas, just like the ones I used to know." They knew their rice bowl was broken and they would all be fired or repurposed soon. The same was true of Iran specialists at the State Department after the Shah was gone.
Pitt the Younger said that the map of Europe should be rolled up for twenty years when Bonaparte's power was at its zenith. For the Borg (foreign policy establishment) world-wide, Trump World would be the end of them as a cadre. Cui bono? pl