Congressman Zinke Could Not Be More Wrong on NATO

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One of the mantras our Navy SEAL Congressman is prone to repeat is that he puts “country ahead of party.” It would seem, however, that he does not put our national security ahead of blind loyalty to the orange-haired fascist to whom he has hitched his wagon. Mr. Trump, as those of you who don’t get your news from Rush Limbaugh know, recently made waves by suggesting that the US might not uphold its treaty obligations to our NATO partners if they are attacked by Russia.

Max Boot, a conservative military commentator noted that Trump’s statements put the foundations of the alliance at risk:

By casting doubt on whether he would respond to Article V violations, Trump is destroying the foundations of collective security and emboldening Vladimir Putin.

As I noted a few weeks ago, conservatives commentators across the board were horrified by Trump’s remarks, with one writer at Vox going so far as to say that Trump’s position increased the odds of a devastating, potentially nuclear, war:

This isn’t a game or a reality show: This is the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and potentially the human race, hanging in the balance. Anything that raises the risk of nuclear war, however remote, should be terrifying. This is not the kind of thing you leave to amateurs — yet that is exactly what the Republican Party has chosen to do this week in Cleveland.

And that brings us to Congressman Zinke, who has remained silent in the face of Mr. Trump’s despicable attacks on a war hero’s family and supported his bigoted calls to exclude Muslims from America. Where does Congressman Zinke stand on the NATO Alliance? Not with Estonia and Poland, not with the United Kingdom and Germany, and not with the allies who leapt to our defense after 9/11, but with Mr. Trump. In the Great Falls Tribune on Saturday, Mr. Zinke offered a defense of Trump, saying he was right, before launching into a belting attack on our allies and offering a non-sequitur about terrorism.

After 9/11, our NATO allies (for the only time in the Alliance’s history) offered resources, soldiers, sailors, and airmen for our fight against the Taliban. Some even joined our ill-conceived war in Iraq. All because they believed in an alliance that has offered security for generations.

For Mr. Trump and Mr. Zinke, those sacrifices and that shared commitment are little more than words to be shredded for political expedience, designed to appeal to the nativist, Know-Nothing wing of the Republican Party.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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