As U.S. allies reel from Donald Trump's weekend comments encouraging Russia to attack European allies if they fail to meet NATO budget contribution targets, several former U.S. advisers Trump warns in my upcoming book that the former president will seek to formally withdraw the United States from the NATO alliance if he wins a second term.
In The Return of the Great Powers, which will be released on March 12, a former senior US official, who served at a high level in both the Trump and Biden administrations, told me that if Trump defeats President Joe Biden in November, the United States would leave NATO. .
NATO would be in real danger, acknowledged John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser. I think he would try to get out of it.
Trump's denigration of U.S. security commitments also extends to his mutual defense agreements with South Korea and Japan, retired Gen. John Kelly, who served as chief, told me of Trump's staff at the White House.
The fact is that he saw absolutely no use for NATO, Kelly said in the book. He was simply opposed to the idea of having troops in South Korea, again, as a deterrent, or having troops in Japan, as a deterrent.
He thought (Vladimir) Putin was a good guy and Kim (Jong Un) was a good guy and that we had pushed North Korea into a corner, Kelly recalled. To him, it was like we were egging these guys on. If we didn't have NATO, Putin wouldn't do these things.
Senior administration officials I spoke with for the book also detailed how Trump nearly pulled the United States out of the alliance, which is a key foundation of Western security against Russia, during his first term and warned that he would likely go further in the near future. second.
The Democrats and the media seem to have forgotten that we had four years of peace and prosperity under President Trump, but Europe saw death and destruction under Obama-Biden and now even more death and destruction under Biden, Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told CNN. President Trump pushed our allies to increase their NATO spending by demanding they pay, but Joe Biden is back to letting them take advantage of the American taxpayer. When you don't pay for your defense spending, you can't be surprised if you have more war.
White House responds to Trump's comments on NATO countries and Russia
At the heart of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and enshrined in Article 5 of the treaty is the promise of collective defense whereby an attack on any member country is an attack on all nations of the alliance . Trump has long complained about how much NATO members spend on defense compared to the United States.
In The Return of the Great Powers, several advisers detail how Trump nearly pulled the United States out of NATO at the 2018 alliance summit in Brussels.
He was always ranting and raving and jumping up and down, and often he would say, 'Well, I'm smarter than them and all that,'” Kelly said, describing the state of spirit of Trump in Brussels. Kelly said he tried to explain the importance of NATO to Trump in terms he thought the president would understand. Kelly's approach involved a combination of explaining what was actually possible and what might make her look bad. In the case of NATO withdrawal, Kelly tried to make Trump understand that both were candidates.
But at the summit, Trump persisted. A former senior U.S. official told me that Trump ordered Gen. Mark Milley, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and then Defense Secretary Mark Esper to withdraw from NATO. Despite his fierce opposition to this decision. They considered the president's decision a legal order and made plans to execute the withdrawal.
Bolton remembers the 2018 summit with genuine awe. Honestly, it was scary because we didn't know what he was going to do until the last minute. And I mean, I think he pretty much said he was going to leave NATO and then he withdrew from it, Bolton said.
Many Trump administration veterans are sounding a similar warning about Ukraine. US support for Ukraine would end, the top US official who served under Trump and Biden said.
Noting Trump's comment during a July 2023 Fox News town hall that if he were re-elected president he could end the war in a day, Bolton said: “If I were Ukraine , I would be very worried, because if everything is a deal, then what is it? another ten percent of Ukrainian territory if that brings peace? sort of thing.
American support for Taiwan, they say, would also be at risk. Bolton recalled a stunt Trump would pull in the Oval Office. He would hold up the tip of his Sharpie pen and say, “This is Taiwan.” Look at this Resolute Desk, it's China. According to Bolton, his view is that Taiwan is too small to defend effectively against a Chinese invasion and too small for the United States to worry about.
Bolton recalled that if I were in Taiwan, I would be very worried about a Trump administration.
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