Congressman Ryan Zinke fancies himself an expert in foreign affairs, and, as such, often lectures people about his expertise and the weakness of the United States under President Obama. One issue he’s been concerned about since election is the NATO alliance, the cornerstone of US military policy in Europe since its inception in 1949.
Back in November, he told the highly credible Newsmax TV that Obama was weakening the US by failing to meet its NATO obligations:
“We’ve walked away from our treaty obligations in Ukraine, putting NATO at risk,” Zinke said.
As you’ve no doubt read, the candidate Mr. Zinke is committed to electing the President of the United States told the New York Times yesterday that he wouldn’t defend the Baltic countries in the event of a Russian attack, setting off a firestorm:
Some fellow Republicans also blasted Trump, underscoring how divisive his candidacy has been, even as the party has sought project unity during its national convention this week.
“Statements like these make the world more dangerous and the United States less safe,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and frequent Trump critic, said in a statement. “If Mr. Trump is serious about wanting to be commander-in-chief he needs to better understand the job which is to provide leadership for the United States and the free world.”
Given that the Montana press seem to take Mr. Zinke’s claims of foreign policy and military expertise at face value, doesn’t it seem appropriate for him to discuss some of the more outrageous claims made by Mr. Trump? This announcement that NATO’s guarantees would be meaningless in a Trump Administration come after destabilizing and frankly idiotic Trump claims that South Korea and Japan should build nuclear weapons, that we should start a trade war with China, and that the US could safely use nuclear weapons in a conflict in Europe, and Zinke who has positioned himself both as an expert and advisor for Mr. Trump should probably have some answers on these issues.
Is anyone going to ask?
Update: Writing in the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg explains why this is such a big deal:
Republican Party foreign policy, to date, has been fairly clear on a number of subjects: The United States, Republican foreign-policy thinkers have argued, should help to expand the number of free countries in the world; they believe that the U.S. should come to the defense of free peoples whether or not those peoples can, or will, reimburse the United States for expenditures in pursuit of freedom; that Europe represents the stable platform from which the United States projects its power, and ideas, into the world; that Russian imperial dreams should be countered in a robust fashion by the U.S. and its allies; and that the withdrawal of the U.S. from three key regions of the world—East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East—would create vacuums soon filled by non-democratic regimes that would operate counter to U.S. national-security interests.
Donald Trump, should he be elected president, would bring an end to the postwar international order, and liberate dictators, first and foremost his ally Vladimir Putin, to advance their own interests. The moral arc of the universe is long, and, if Trump is elected, it will bend in the direction of despotism and darkness.