Hey, did you see this?
Well, ain’t that a kick in the pants. As with many things Trump, it’s horrifying, yet it isn’t really shocking, is it? He’s repeatedly castigated America’s allies for freeloading and not paying enough for defence, then stiffing the US with the bill, the deadbeats. Also, Putin liked the idea. Vlad probably enthused during pillow talk one night about how great it’d be for Donnie to cackle Who is sucker now, uh? Is you bloodsucking Europeans I think, yes?
Now and then, my beloved Nicolle Wallace will turn to the panel during her daily hour on MSNBC, and ask what could possibly be left for Trump to complete from Putin’s long “honey do” list. I guess this is at least part of the answer. Maybe, after “Drop sanctions” and “Withdraw US from NATO”, tasks that still aren’t completed, there are even more items appended to the list, things Putin scribbled in pencil at the last minute, like “Move UN headquarters from NYC to Moscow”, “Cripple International Monetary Fund”, and “Add Stalin to Mt. Rushmore”.
Not to toot my own horn here, but Trump’s failure so far to destroy the most important political and military alliance on Earth must, I reckon, be at least partly on account of my having expressly commanded him not to (see, I saw this coming!):
…and I suppose, along the way, others like Tillerson, Kelly, McMaster and Mattis pitched in too, a little, and kept talking him out of it while they were there, which none of them are any more. Geez I’m going to miss those guys. Never mind, we’ve still got Bolton and Pompeo, and while the two of them form an otherwise horrifying axis of evil apt to drag America into a Third World War, they can at least be relied upon to do their utmost to prevent any US abandonment of its Western allies.
On the other hand, they also did their utmost to prevent the withdrawal from Syria.
I guess I now have more legal research to do, this time in the field of international treaties and US law. There are some fundamental questions I’ve just never had to consider, like, does the NATO treaty even have an exit mechanism, and if not, what odds? Can the President unilaterally pull the country out, or would that take an act of Congress? Would such an appalling national security decision, posing so much geopolitical risk to the entire Western World, cross the line into the realm of impeachable offences? Maybe yes, if Trump purports to exceed his legal authority? If he has the authority, but uses it in a way manifestly destructive to the national interest, or at the behest of a foreign power, still maybe yes, depending upon the scope of “misdemeanours” as opposed to “high crimes”? Answering that will probably compel me to delve into the Federalist Papers.
If I’m lucky, maybe the next thing I hear out of Trump will drive me into the US Uniform Commercial Code, or the regulations under whatever statute it is that provides for farm subsidies. Maybe EPA fuel standards and FDA approval criteria will come into play. Who can say? Good thing I’m a lawyer, ever eager to ply my trade!
It’s just one yuk-fest after another, isn’t it? I have to admit, my initial impulse was to laugh this story off too. Pull out of NATO? C’mon. Get real. Never happen.
Then I remembered that a precondition to this even being an issue was the occurrence of about two dozen other things that were never going to happen. This was a yuk-fest too, back in that lost golden age of innocence:
Update: Under the treaty, any NATO member may exit the alliance on one year’s notice. Whether Trump can withdraw on his own authority is another problematic question arising from yet another hole in the shitty US Constitution, under which only Congress can make treaties, but within which nothing is said about ending them. Presidents have unilaterally withdrawn the US from treaties in the past, including arms control treaties. However, since the Constitution is silent, there is nothing stopping Congress from passing a law that a given treaty cannot be abrogated by the President.