Having dispensed with one last bit of Constitution-punching with the pardon of a pair of far-right serial arsonists whose actions nearly killed federal firefighters, Donald Trump is finally off to Europe to be protested at in the United Kingdom, do the NATO-punching he has been looking forward to for months, and have another one-on-one, face to face meeting with the only world leader he has consistently praised, Russian kleptocrat Vladimir Putin.
The NATO meeting is the most dicey of the three, and it is not clear either what specific agenda Trump seeks, rather than the usual airing of grievances, or what the outcomes will be. His advisers do not know, and he himself does not know, because Donald Trump is a hopeless idiot who has yet to demonstrate he even grasps why NATO exists, much less can hold in his head a list of current national security threats and countermeasures. But the list of things that could happen is long and sordid.
• According the New York Times, allies are “concerned that Mr. Trump may try to bargain American troop strength in Europe for increased military spending by others.” Oh, and Trump “appears to have a special animus toward Germany.”
• He will likely continue his insistence that primary NATO foe Vladimir Putin be given concessions because Reasons–including the repeated suggestion that Crimea be permanently ceded to Russia after Russia’s military invasion and occupation. Nobody will be able to discern why Trump continues to promote Putin’s interests over those of our American allies, as usual, and reporters will continue to studiously refrain from speculating as to why Trump, whose campaign was caught attempting to collude with Russian government efforts to harm his election opponent, has become such a reliable peddler of Russian talking points.
• He may announce that the United States will be pulling out of the NATO treaty entirely. This would be an extremist outcome, but it is one that been rattling around his noggin for a long time now, and one he has mused on aloud in meetings with other world leaders. He may announce it simply because he likes the sound of saying it.
After the NATO meeting, Trump heads to London. Or rather, not-London; he reportedly will be dodging the widespread planned protests in the city, or trying to, and there is a serious risk that if he stays in the city his Secret Service detail will mistake the hovering Trump blimp for him and accidentally start chauffeuring it, rather than him, around town. He will then go to Scotland, because he owns a golf course there. Then to Helsinki, to meet with his Russian patron.
It is the Putin meeting that Trump is apparently most looking forward to. His remarks from the pool report, this morning:
“NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little. But we will work it out and all countries will be happy. With the UK, that’s a situation that’s been going on for a long time. So I have NATO, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?”
Indeed. Who would think.