World Events

Trump could pull US out of NATO – POLITICO

Trump’s isolationist instincts have seen administration officials and the president himself criticize the European Union and other traditional allies throughout his first term | Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images

The former senior US official also said the UK should tell Europe to ‘stuff it’ over Brexit.

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton thinks there is a “very real risk” of the U.S. withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization if his old boss wins a second term.

In an interview with Times Radio Thursday, Bolton said that a “political guardrail” was the only thing that had stopped the U.S. from pulling out during Trump’s first term.

“It wasn’t that we convinced him that NATO is actually a pretty good alliance, but that he just saw he couldn’t go across the line and actually call for withdrawal … once he’s re-elected, that political guardrail, if it doesn’t disappear entirely, is substantially diminished.”

He added that if re-elected, “[Trump] doesn’t have to worry as much about the U.S. political blowback, and so his instincts or his inclinations have free rein.”

During his presidency Trump has threatened “grave consequences” and that the U.S. would “go our own way” if NATO members fail to meet his spending demands. Before he was elected and during the early stages of the 2016 campaign he described the alliance as “obsolete” — though he later moderated his rhetoric and confirmed he “wanted to keep NATO.”

Trump’s isolationist instincts have seen administration officials and the president himself criticize the European Union and other traditional allies throughout his first term. Most famously, in 2017 the president withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Bolton said more isolationist foreign policy decisions would likely be taken in the event Trump wins a second term in November.

“There will be fewer people around as there are fewer people now, like myself and like some others, who would say ‘it’s a very bad idea to withdraw from NATO,'” he said.

Bolton, who recently published a book that is subject to a legal dispute with the White House, also had some advice for the U.K. in its dispute with the EU over the Internal Market Bill, which seeks to change the Withdrawal Agreement London agreed with Brussels last year.

In reference to a U.K. admission that the bill would break international law, Bolton said: “The act of parliament, which is sovereign, can override treaty obligations, you can like it or lump it.

“The United States never agreed that international law was higher than our constitution. Never has, never will. I don’t think Britain ever did that either.”

He added: “I think the United Kingdom should tell the European Court to ‘stuff it’ basically.”


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