In the Tucker Carlson interview, Trump strongly implied that he at least might not honor an Article 5 appeal for mutual defense from a NATO ally - he doesn't see why we should be expected to do that. His comments were about Montenegro - but if he wouldn't come to the aid of Montenegro, would he come to the aid of, for instance, Estonia? He's at least giving the Russians some reason to believe that they could move into one (or more) of the Baltic states, and Trump would find an excuse to NOT honor Article 5.
Here's a partial transcript, as reported by the Washington Post:
“Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?” Carlson asked in the interview, which was recorded Monday after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
“I understand what you’re saying; I’ve asked the same question,” Trump responded. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people . . . They are very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III."
Czechoslovakia, 1938, anybody?
Purduke thinks I (and others?) am suffering from "Trump Derangement Syndrome." Maybe I am - but this is what the man said. Should I assume that Sec. of Defense Mattis simply would "overrule" Trump, if Putin sends troops into Estonia and Trump decides to just let it go? Should I assume that it's just "Trump being Trump" - which is to say, running off at the mouth, but neither meaning nor even necessarily understanding what he's saying?
Note that I didn't pick Estonia at random; Putin has made rumblings in the past about Estonia - and Estonia has established a real democracy on the flanks of the Russian autocracy. Putin doesn't like it much, to say the least.
Now, maybe it is all just hot air, and the "adults in the room" won't let Trump fold up like a pup tent in a tornado when the chips are down. But if it's not... then those Americans who inflicted Trump on all of us will be responsible for a world of suffering - for themselves and for the rest of us. And you know, each week, there are fewer "adults" left in the room. McMaster leaves, and John Bolton replaces him. Gary Cohn leaves, and Larry Kudlow takes his place. Anybody who really knows about those guys, and who really understands the areas they're responsible for, will sit you down and explain to you that replacing McMaster and Cohn with Bolton and Kudlow aren't one-to-one exchanges of "adults." And this is typical of personnel in the Trump administration. Competent, rational people leave - and they're replaced by lesser people or hotheads, or not replaced at all.