Trump: Defending NATO Allies Is a Maybe

'We are going to take care of this country first'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2016 5:30 AM CDT
Trump: Defending NATO Allies Is a Maybe
"We are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everyone else in the world," Trump said.    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

If America's NATO allies find themselves under attack and in dire need of assistance, they can expect a solid "Maybe" from President Donald Trump. The GOP nominee, in an interview conducted Wednesday while he kept one eye on convention goings-on, told the New York Times that in the case of an event like Russia attacking a Baltic state, the alliance would only be honored once he had determined whether nations under attack have "fulfilled their obligations to us." He said that until we "fix our own mess" in the US, there's no way he would lecture allies like Turkey about human rights issues like the post-coup purges. "Look at what is happening in our country," he said. "How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?"

In what the Times sees as a preview of Thursday's convention speech, Trump used the "America First" slogan when he spoke of withdrawing from NAFTA if better terms can't be negotiated with Canada and Mexico and of bringing American troops home from around the world. "We are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion," he said, citing his figures for US trade losses. The US has been pressuring its European allies to spend more on defense, but "never has there been a suggestion that the US would renege on its responsibilities," notes Jonathan Marcus at the BBC, who predicts that America's NATO allies will see Trump's remarks as "at best eccentric and at worst alarming." Trump also spoke to the Times about the RNC, saying he's glad that the Melania plagiarism controversy is dying down and that he hopes the big takeaway from the convention will be "the fact that I'm very well liked." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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