Interesting how some reports try to make Bolton the hero of this activity considering that the consecutive failures following the G-7 meetings necessitated some success before the Helsinki debacle. He and SecDef Mattis may have been more like the guy who jumps on a grenade than a first responder putting out a fire.
Trump’s staff tricked him into signing a pro-NATO agreement.
Mr. Trump did almost blow up the two-day meeting in Brussels that began on July 11. He issued a vague threat that the United States could go its own way if allies resisted his demands for additional military spending. After the gathering, he also questioned a pillar of the alliance: that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all. www.nytimes.com/…
The New York Times has published a remarkable reconstruction of the July NATO meeting, the upshot of which is that the staff of President Donald Trump successfully conspired to get him to sign an agreement supporting the troubled alliance against his own policy preferences. The machinations, which were led by National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, were done to avoid the fiasco of the June G-7 summit in Quebec, where the president ended up not signing the final communiqué.
Key to the success of the whole plot was that Trump would be kept in the dark about what he was actually signing. As The Times reports, “Mr. Trump was presented with only the broad outlines of what the meeting would deliver — not details of the document of 79 paragraphs, running 23 pages.”
The thinking behind this strange manœuvre is that the document Trump signed would counteract his own words. “The new agreement has given American national security officials the ability to assure the public, and skittish allies, that the country’s commitment to the alliance remains intact — no matter any anti-NATO tweets or interviews or statements from Mr. Trump,” The Times claims.
The Baltic States and Ukraine
These are catalogued together because they are the most obvious targets of an emboldened Putin’s next aggressive steps.
Now that he has seen firsthand Trump’s supine posture toward him, Putin may perceive a window of opportunity for new coercive measures (or worse) against any of the Baltic States or Ukraine.
After former President John F. Kennedy’s weak performance at the Vienna summit with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev in June 1961, Khrushchev decided to press his advantage by building the Berlin Wall and then deploying nuclear missiles in Cuba. The coming months will reveal if Putin makes a similar calculation.
By many measures, NATO should be the picture of resurgent strength, as Derek Chollet and others have noted, given increasing defense budgets among member states, more robust exercises, and new capabilities. But NATO’s bedrock has always been the political commitment of its strongest members, especially the United States. In the aftermath of Helsinki and Trump’s disgraceful interview with Tucker Carlson, NATO is a damaged and weakened institution. Trump’s misconduct toward our European allies also diminishes their leaders’ political standing to continue increasing their national defense budgets, as European publics recoil against anything Trump favors.
Trump went to Moscow in 1987 on a trip arranged by the KGB and with Gorbachev's blessing. He came home and took out ads attacking NATO. Trump picked a side. It wasn't ours.
I recommend reading this article, if you haven't already. https://t.co/jlJbgOU0K4
— Jay McKenzie (@JamesFourM) August 2, 2018
Ã¢ÂÂ ALT- Immigration Ã°ÂÂÂ (@ALT_uscis) August 3, 2018
ZOMG, the Rigged Witches are in his own Cabinet, trying to get out.
…perhaps the biggest impediment to the president isn’t the deep state at all. It’s the “shallow state” — which exists right below Donald Trump at the Cabinet level.
After all, there’s a distinct pattern in the administration. The president makes a claim that seems to contradict longstanding policy. Shortly thereafter, a Cabinet member or two will step up to a microphone and reiterate U.S. policy, contradicting the president.