John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security advisor, concurred with the sentiment, expressing that Trump’s inclination to leave the alliance would put Nato at significant risk.Trump’s criticism wasn’t limited to Nato; he also questioned the value of the US’s defense pacts with South Korea and Japan. Retired General John Kelly, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, shared in the book that Trump saw no merit in Nato and was firmly against maintaining US troop presence in South Korea and Japan, viewing them as unnecessary deterrent forces.
Trump’s favorable views of leaders like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, as Kelly recalls, stemmed from a belief that Nato’s existence provoked unnecessary aggression. The book also highlights how Trump nearly led the US to withdraw from Nato during his first term, with senior administration members warning that a second term could see this threat realized.
Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Jason Miller, defended Trump’s stance on Nato, arguing that Trump’s presidency brought peace and prosperity, in contrast to the turmoil experienced under Obama-Biden and the current Biden administration. Miller criticized Biden for allowing Nato allies to exploit American taxpayers by not meeting defense spending obligations, linking insufficient defense spending to increased conflict.
The narrative underscores the critical role of Nato’s collective defense promise, encapsulated in Article 5 of the treaty, and Trump’s longstanding grievances about the disparity in defense spending between the US and other Nato members. The book recounts Trump’s behavior at the 2018 Nato summit in Brussels, where his threats to withdraw from the alliance were met with serious concern by officials like John Kelly, who attempted to reason with Trump about the importance of Nato.
Despite opposition from top military officials, Trump’s orders to withdraw from Nato were seen as a legitimate command, leading to preparations for such an action. Bolton, reflecting on the summit, described the situation as alarming due to the unpredictability of Trump’s decisions.
The book also touches on the implications of Trump’s foreign policy stance for Ukraine and Taiwan, with Trump’s comments suggesting a transactional approach to international relations that could endanger US support for these regions.
Trump defiant after backlash over Nato remarks
Meanwhile, Trump continues to defend his remarks on Nato. “I MADE Nato STRONG, and even the RINOS and Radical Left Democrats admit that,” Trump proclaimed on Truth Social. He highlighted his approach to ensuring that member countries contribute their fair share financially, stating, “When I told the 20 Countries that weren’t paying their fair share that they had to PAY UP, and said without doing that you will not have US Military Protection, the money came rolling in. After so many years of the United States picking up the tab, it was a beautiful sight to see.”
(With inputs from agencies)