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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump is showing the world that the US is unstable

by digby

This story about Trump and NATO is truly something.

Wednesday night, Donald Trump said something that made a nuclear war between the United States and Russia more likely. With a few thoughtless words, he made World War III — the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in nuclear holocaust — plausible.

This probably scans like hyperbole, the kind of thing you hear a lot in politics. I assure you, it’s not. Not this time.

What Trump said, in an interview published by the New York Times, is that he wouldn’t necessarily defend the United States’ allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) if they were attacked by a foreign power. This extended, Trump said, to the Baltic countries right on Russia’s border — countries Russia might conceivably invade.

The NATO alliance is the key deterrent against this: It is founded on a promise that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all. Trump is directly undermining this promise.

The consequences are hard to overstate. He is trashing one of the foundations of the postwar European order, which has helped guaranteed peace on the continent for 70 years. And by equivocating on whether he would defend the Baltics, he creates a dangerous amount of uncertainty among Russians as to how seriously the US takes its NATO treaty commitments — the kind of uncertainty that, yes, could spark an actual conflict between the US and Russia.
This is yet another example of how unfit he is for the presidency. I can't recall where I heard it but someone wrote yesterday that the only reason the rest of the world isn't in full blown panic mode is because they can't wrap their minds around the idea that America would actually elect him. But it's already had an effect. The fact that this cretin has been nominated by one of America's two political parties is showing the world that we are more unstable than they knew. That's the kind of environment where people start to make errors in judgment and take chances they normally wouldn't take.

Trump has already made the world a more dangerous place and it's going to take some work to reassure allies and enemies alike that the US is still a mature, stable nation. The simple fact that he is where he is has already done tremendous damage. But if he were to win, the morning after the election we will wake up to a world that is a much different --- and even more dangerous --- place than it already is.

Update: The clean-up crew is on the job:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “stressed that he disagrees with Donald Trump’s assertion that the United States shouldn’t immediately defend NATO allies, seeking to reassure the international community the U.S. would continue to come to the aid of countries in the alliance if they are attacked,” Politico reports.

Said McConnell: “I disagree with that. NATO is the most important military alliance in world history. I want to reassure our NATO allies that if any of them get attacked, we’ll be there to defend them.”

This kind of thing evidently isn't a deal breaker though. McConnell endorsed him.