In a recent article in Foreign Policy, The Certain Trumpet, Admiral Stavridis makes a point about Donald Trump’s stance on NATO being dangerous. Admiral Stavridis is spot on but we should not be surprised by Trumps position.
Trump is a business man and has persuaded a sizable portion of the populace that government needs to only be run like a business and all would better. In a business, you do not have treaties or alliances, you merely have deals. Deals can be made and deals can be broken. If you chose to not honor a deal and the result is greater profit for your company, then you are a hero. If you lose, all that is at risk is some money, perhaps your ability to work with that company in the future, and maybe a lawsuit. That is not the case in foreign policy.
In foreign policy, broken treaties can mean the loss of life and liberty. It can mean the loss of allies that are desperately needed, especially is this day age on non-state actors being one of our greatest threats. Further, it is difficult to measure the value of treaties and put them on a balance sheet. Sure, you can look at how much each country has contributed to NATO but how do you measure (accurately anyway), the value received by the US of having a stable Europe?
The problem with Trump is not only with what he thinks he knows, but with what he doesn’t know, and more importantly, with what he doesn’t know he doesn’t know. The issue with the American people is that too many are voting for a person they like or don’t like, and not who will and can do what is best for the country. There are many things to dislike about both of the major candidates in terms of their personal lives; there are even things to dislike about their professional lives, but the question that must answered, and the question that must be addressed at the polls in November, is who can do the best job for the country? Not who will be perfect or who will do everything I want them to do, but who can do more good than harm?