March 29, 2016
Trumping NATO: Candidate Would Accelerate a US Retreat Begun Under Obama
By Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal
The New York real-estate developer also doesn’t seem to realize that the threat NATO currently faces from the Kremlin is increasing and worse than at any time since the Cold War ended. Russian jets persistently threaten and violate NATO airspace, Russian operatives have staged assassinations and kidnappings in NATO countries, and Russian diplomats have even threatened nuclear attacks on NATO states.
Mr. Trump has famously said he is his own foreign-policy strategist, so perhaps he should consider that NATO’s current role is to prevent the emergence of a regional Russian hegemon. Such a Russia could dominate Eastern Europe and exercise authoritarian leverage over the rest. Investing in the alliance now is a way to deter war so we don’t have to spend more to fight one later....
Some Europeans—the Germans in particular—think they can manage threats such as Russia and terrorism in different, nonmilitary ways. But they should be wary of what will happen if the carrot of commercial deals with the Kremlin such as gas pipelines isn’t backed by the stick of a strong collective defense.
Mr. Trump’s ramblings on NATO are a double-edged warning: Europeans need to invest more in defense, both to prepare for the possibility if Americans take an isolationist turn in November, and to ensure that America’s security role in Europe remains politically palatable to U.S. voters.