The NY Times Transcript of the Trump Interview: Its Actually Worse than the Article Made it Seem

Here’s the link to the transcript of the NY Times interview with Trump. They released it in response to Paul Manafort challenging the veracity of their reporting and asking if they had (audio) tape of the interview. Here’s a sampling:

SANGER: But I guess the question is, If we can’t, do you think that your presidency, let’s assume for a moment that they contribute what they are contributing today, or what they have contributed historically, your presidency would be one of pulling back and saying, “You know, we’re not going to invest in these alliances with NATO, we are not going to invest as much as we have in Asia since the end of the Korean War because we can’t afford it and it’s really not in our interest to do so.”

TRUMP: If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal, I would like you to say, I would prefer being able to, some people, the one thing they took out of your last story, you know, some people, the fools and the haters, they said, “Oh, Trump doesn’t want to protect you.” I would prefer that we be able to continue, but if we are not going to be reasonably reimbursed for the tremendous cost of protecting these massive nations with tremendous wealth — you have the tape going on?

SANGER: We do.

HABERMAN: We both do.

TRUMP: I’m only saying this. We’re spending money, and if you’re talking about trade, we’re losing a tremendous amount of money, according to many stats, $800 billion a year on trade. So we are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion. That doesn’t sound like it’s smart to me. Just so you understand though, totally on the record, this is not 40 years ago. We are not the same country and the world is not the same world. Our country owes right now $19 trillion, going to $21 trillion very quickly because of the omnibus budget that was passed, which is incredible. We don’t have the luxury of doing what we used to do; we don’t have the luxury, and it is a luxury. We need other people to reimburse us much more substantially than they are giving right now because we are only paying for a fraction of the cost.

SANGER: Or to take on the burden themselves.

TRUMP: Or, if we cannot make the right deal, to take on the burden themselves. You said it wrong because you said or — or if we cannot make the right deal for proper reimbursement to take on the burden themselves. Yes. Now, Hillary Clinton said: “I will never leave Japan. I will never leave Japan. Will never leave any of our ——” Well now, once you say that, guess what happens? What happens?

HABERMAN: You’re stuck.

TRUMP: You can’t negotiate.

HABERMAN: Right.

TRUMP: In a deal, you always have to be prepared to walk. Hillary Clinton has said, “We will never, ever walk.” That’s a wonderful phrase, but unfortunately, if I were on Saudi Arabia’s side, Germany, Japan, South Korea and others, I would say, “Oh, they’re never leaving, so what do we have to pay them for?” Does that make sense to you, David?

SANGER: It does, but we also know that defending the United States is a harder thing to do if you’re not forward-deployed.

TRUMP: By the way, and I know what I’m talking about is massive. If we ever felt there was a reason to defend the United States, we can always deploy, and it would be a lot less expense. …

You need to click across and read the whole thing to get a real sense for just how far Trump is, in regards to what he is proposing as a foreign, defense, and security policy from not just the consensus in the US over the past 70 years, but the norms of both parties, and those of our allies and partners. What Trump is proposing is a major, unilateral transformation of the international system and global order. It isn’t merely a hypernationalistic vision of America’s interest overwhelming everything. Rather it is a pay for play security shakedown scheme.

What Trump is proposing is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of not just the North Atlantic Treaty, but also almost every other international institution that has been established since the end of World War II. NATO was not just about opposing the Soviet Union. Rather it was part of several institutions that the US either was directly involved with creating or supported the creation of in order to change, hopefully permanently, the pre WW I and WW II dynamics of Europe. NATO militarily binds the European nation-states to each other. Every member of NATO’s member state’s militaries have, at this point, grown up in a Europe and served in their state’s militaries within the context of France and Germany and Britain and Spain and Italy and Greece and Portugal, etc, etc, etc all being allies. They’ve been on joint NATO training missions, participated in high stress, little sleep joint NATO exercises, and been assigned to joint NATO billets. Almost all of the senior officers and general officers/flag officers have been educated at multiple levels of American Professional Military Education. And because of the EU they and/or their relatives work, travel, and play all over Europe. All of this is intended to forge strong, tight, and effective bonds to prevent the parochial political, social, economic, and/or religious ambitions of people within each of these states being wrapped into nationalism and gushing forth in the death, destruction, and waste of The Thirty Years War, World War I, and WW II. The goal of these institutions and arrangements, as well as similar ones in Asia and other parts of the world, is to prevent the region’s disputes from becoming wars and those wars from engulfing the world. For over 70 years it has worked. Trump proposes to wreck it because he doesn’t think the US is being paid enough and this is a sign that our allies and partners don’t treat us fairly.

Does NATO’s mission need to be regularly reassessed and periodically adjusted? Without a doubt. As do a number of the international security and economic institutions. But scrapping NATO, or any of these agreements, doesn’t make Europe or the world safer, it makes it less stable and more dangerous. And scrapping NATO and other agreements that form the basis of the current international system without any plan other than “nice country you’ve got there, be a shame to have anything happen to it, so the boys’ll be around every third Thursday to collect” is not just unacceptable, but stupendously reckless and dangerous. I am not arguing that the current system is perfect, that it hasn’t caused its own share of unintended negative outcomes, but it has been amazingly stable compared to what came before. What Trump is proposing isn’t. It is a sign of a superficial thinker who hasn’t spent much time grappling with the problem sets that the US, its allies, and its partners face and one who has no real idea how to appropriately deal with threats and attempt to turn challenges into opportunities other than to demand that his interlocutors knuckle under and give him what he wants. The transcript of Trump’s interview makes it clear that regardless of what anyone may think of him as a presidential candidate or what the effect of his candidacy and/or election may or may not be on the US in terms of its domestic affairs, his election would present a clear and present danger to the stability of the global order.






187 replies
  1. 1
    glory b says:

    I’m too stunned to comment yet.

  2. 2
    Immanentize says:

    Alan, Serious question — How can the people in the military support this view? Trump seems to have a lot of support in those quarters….

  3. 3
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Sounds like he’s suffering from tertiary syphilis…

  4. 4
    Immanentize says:

    @glory b: This is probably the funniest blog (first!) comment I have ever read. I think XKDC really ought o do a ‘toon on it.

  5. 5
    liberal says:

    For over 70 years it has worked.

    Really? We were almost burnt to a cinder in the early 1980s because the Soviets were legitimately paranoid about Ronnie, and that’s “working”?

    Trump’s a blithering idiot, but if what you’re saying about European security is so important, why can’t the US withdraw from NATO and let the Europeans pay for it?

    Not to mention there are downsides to this wonderful order: some small state on e.g. Russia’s border (say, Georgia in 2008 or whenever it was) could get overconfident, get in a spat with Russia, and draw us into a fighting war. With another nuclear power, over issues in which we have no clear and compelling national interest.

  6. 6
    gogol's wife says:

    Why is Haberman agreeing with him? These guys make me sick.

  7. 7
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    A vote for Dr Saint HOA President Jill Stein will heighten the contradictions, though.

    Feel the Bern!

  8. 8
    liberal says:

    @Immanentize: Jeez, let’s see, what is it? Something like 90% of the officer corps (or maybe higher level officers) is Republican? Yeah, their supporting Trump is such a mystery.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: I’m assuming you mean me, not someone named Alan you’re also talking to, so: party affiliation is strong. And everyone has now had over 25 years to marinate in the news media enabled “Hillary Clinton is a lying, scheming, conniving, murderous, treasonous, treacherous bitch”. That has an effect even on smart, educated thoughtful people.

  10. 10
    liberal says:

    …and one who has no real idea how to appropriately deal with threats and attempt to turn challenges into opportunities …

    Great opportunity that we created in Libya, right?

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @liberal: If you’re talking about Able Archer in 83, I’m aware. But you’ve missed my point. NATO and the EU aren’t really about containing the Soviet Union and Russia, they’re about constraining the European states from going to war with each other over their parochial interests. Because wars between European states don’t, historically, stay contained to the continent. They engulf and consume everything. NATO and the EU have worked for 70 and 50 or so years respectively to prevent an outbreak of war between European states.

  12. 12
    Miss Bianca says:

    You know, I remember *laughing* the first few dozen times I saw that Monty Python sketch referenced a thread or two back…I guess because it never occurred to me that we’d actually have a Presidential candidate who would see a Mafia-style shakedown of our allies as a foreign policy strategy…

  13. 13
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Hasn’t Trump also said that we should be spending more money on the military?

  14. 14
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @liberal:

    You understand that Libya wasn’t Iraq, right?

  15. 15
    Shell says:

    Jesus, Trump always sounds like a character from “Good Fellas”

  16. 16
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Contractors, and big beautiful bases, next to classy casinos and car lots and pawn shops…

  17. 17
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @Shell:

    “Fuck you, pay me…”

  18. 18
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Of course it’s you — but my typing skills suck if spell check finds a similar word. That said, what’s wrong with “Alan?” “Alan” is a perfectly fine name… (Annie Hall)

    ETA — I cannot believe that hatred for Hillary really is more powerful than this scare-me-to-death idiot.

  19. 19

    What about Trump’s plans to default on the debt? Has he been questioned about it?

  20. 20
    Corner Stone says:

    @glory b:

    I’m too stunned to comment yet.

    I just read the whole transcript several minutes ago and I am in agreement with you.

  21. 21
    different-church-lady says:

    @liberal:

    Trump’s a blithering idiot

    And you’re agreeing with him. Nice job.

  22. 22
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Contractors and big beautiful bases next to classy cas!nos and pawn shops and car lots…

  23. 23
    Corner Stone says:

    @liberal:

    Great opportunity that we created in Libya, right?

    By “we” do you mean NATO allied forces or someone else who owns a mouse?

  24. 24

    I can just see the headlines in newspapers across the world: Global Policeman will shakedown small countries for protection money. Trump is no longer a laughing matter, with his nomination GOP has dropped this hot potato into our lap.

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: As I mentioned to Tom yesterday as he had the same thing happen: I lived in Scotland for three years, and regularly went to Brussels to train under my aikido senseis when on break. I’ve been called Alan, Alain, Angus, Hamish, Albert, Edam (one of my senseis students was a lovely waloonian woman, her son also trained – Marijean and Phillipe – and they just couldn’t get that I’m not a cheese!). So no worries.

  26. 26
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill: He seems to want to have the greatest, best military, cut spending on it, increase spending on it, keep it in its original packaging, and also play with it a lot. It’s kind of like has neither short-term or long-term memory.

  27. 27

    Transcript is always worst than the article.

    Remember when he did an interview with WaPo’s editorial page – the transcript was a billion times worse than the summary write-up.

  28. 28
    Ben Cisco says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Trump has taken almost every position on almost every issue.

    He’s a Schroedinger’s candidate.

  29. 29
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    He’s like a 5 year old playing with the bag of plastic army men.

  30. 30
    dr. bloor says:

    It is a sign of a superficial thinker who hasn’t spent much time grappling with the problem sets that the US, its allies, and its partners face and one who has no real idea how to appropriately deal with threats

    Alas, it’s all music to the ears of his base, and will undoubtedly have some appeal to the mass of “undecided” voters who never pay attention to world affairs and barely pay attention to politics during presidential elections.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been in this place before. Sold out by someone they thought was, if not an ally, at least sympathetic to them, to the Russian Bear.

    By all means, Drumpf, surrender all of Europe to the Bear. This is just the thing we need to do to lay Europe in ruins again.

  32. 32
    Humboldtblue says:

    You need to click across and read the whole thing

    Go to hell, asshole, you’re not the boss of me.

  33. 33
    The Czar of All the Stupids says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That has an effect even on smart, educated thoughtful people.

    And let’s not even go into how well it’s worked on the not-so-bright amongst us…

    I’m not always crazy about Hillary Clinton but I’m pretty sure she’s not capable of starting WW III over a petty insult…

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    He’s a Schroedinger’s candidate.

    We should only be so lucky: that would mean there was a possible reality in which he was not the nominee.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    Sounds like The Trumpster’s got about the same view on the obligations of international relations as he does for business contracts and the vows of marriage. Always renegotiable if the big party decides there’s more money, amusement or bigger more obedient boobs available for instant gratification. Wonder who our third or fourth “special relationship” will be with? Country doesn’t put out? Dump em.

    (Wonder what Israel is doing as I presume they’re not on the list of Trophy Treaties.)

  36. 36
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That is so good. I have one — we had a student from Israel, Noahm, who was working in our housing clinic in East Boston. She went to meet this sweet little lady who was being evicted for having a dog that weighed too much (true all of it). The little Irish grandmom perfectly pronounced Noahm’s name throughout the interview and the Israeli student expressed her amazement after the interview because “no American ever gets my name right.” My colleague, her supervisor, had to tell Noahm that the lady thought her name was “Norm.”

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Humboldtblue: I request that you click across and read the whole thing.

    Happy now?

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Immanentize: You do not know what the fuck you are talking about.

  39. 39
    sukabi says:

    Haven’t read the whole transcript yet, but would like to comment on the “style” of interviewers questions… what ever happened to keeping the questions concise?

    They get so caught up in every fucking thing that might occur to them as they’re asking a question they lose the point of the question entirely and enable a string og bullshit as a reply.

    Not one of them can ask a direct question.

  40. 40
    patroclus says:

    @Shell: To Cruz: “Go get your shine box”

  41. 41
    Emma says:

    It’s all about money with him. Everything has a sticker and a sell-by date. Honor, decency, responsibility, empathy, those things cannot be priced, so they don’t have any value in his Universe.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @dr. bloor: Agenda 21, baby. Agenda 21.

  43. 43
    Humboldtblue says:

    Now see? That’s Alan Adam Hamesh Goldman we all know and love!

  44. 44
    rump: says:

    OK, I’ve gotten this far:

    TRUMP: If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal, I would like you to say, I would prefer being able to, some people, the one thing they took out of your last story, you know, some people, the fools and the haters, they said, “Oh, Trump doesn’t want to protect you.” I would prefer that we be able to continue, but if we are not going to be reasonably reimbursed for the tremendous cost of protecting these massive nations with tremendous wealth — you have the tape going on?

    And my head is already threatening to explode. I don’t know whether I want to laugh, cry, or scream. Back in Chicago one of the theater companies mine was colleagues with did “The Real Live Brady Bunch!” This… this is like watching “The Real Live Dr. Strangelove!”.

    ETA: I am Miss Bianca. I am not “rump”. Daddy Rat and Mommy Rat apparently got into my computer…

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: Excellent!

  46. 46
    rikyrah says:

    thanks for coming back to this. he is a nightmare.

  47. 47
    rump: says:

    OK, I’m in moderation…and apparently the system thinks my nym is “rump”. Whoa…?

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Humboldtblue: oy vey…

  49. 49
    Immanentize says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You do not know what the fuck you are talking about.

    Depends, I guess, on what I am talking about? So the military wants to end NATO, let Putin run through Eastern Europe and lose face in every place they serve? I’m not ‘talking’ here (like I wasn’t in the first question I posed) I am asking. Difference understood?

  50. 50
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @scav:

    Trump is a commercial real estate developer. Providers of goods and services to his type are subject to his renegotiation of terms all the way up to being handed the cashier’s check covering the renegotiated final payment that has already bounced twice, 18 months after it was first due…

  51. 51
    Immanentize says:

    @sukabi: I know what you mean from the transcript — what I found also interesting is that they try to get Trump to talk honestly by sort of agreeing with him as he starts to get wound up. Then Trump lets loose even though he seems to recognize the danger of letting loose when he asks whether they are taping him.

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    NATO allies respond to Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. might not protect them from Russia
    Wonder if Obama is tired of answering the phone to explain Trump’s stupidity.

    “The Estonian president also pointed to his country’s role in the war in Afghanistan as proof of the country’s commitment, retweeting a message that said Estonia had one of the highest casualty rates per capita in that conflict. “Estonia’s commitment to our NATO obligations is beyond doubt and so should be the commitments by others,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry added in an emailed statement.

    “We take our commitments seriously,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in Washington, where he was attending meetings to coordinate military action against the Islamic State. “We hope and expect that all our allies, big and small, take their commitments the same.”

    “Too bad the NY Times didn’t ask Trump if he would defend NATO member Slovenia if attacked,” the U.S.-raised Latvian politician wrote on Twitter, referring to the Eastern European state where the Republican nominee’s wife, Melania Trump, was born and has family.”

  53. 53
    Original Lee says:

    @Immanentize: I have a friend who directly blames both Clintons for a shootdown in the Caribbean that killed buddies of his. He will NEVER vote for Hillary. He is, fortunately, sane enough not to vote for the short-fingered vulgarian. He said yesterday that he would probably vote Libertarian.

  54. 54
    scav says:

    @Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill: Exactly! And his team wants to run the country like a business, in fact, run everything like a business, that ideal of human behaviors. Run your country, your marriages and your life of faith (negotiate for the better tasting crackers and the premium-class list of sins or take your tithes to the next big-box denomination) like a Trump.

  55. 55
    Miss Bianca says:

    Help! This stuff is causing brain melt!

  56. 56
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @Immanentize: He just wanted to make sure that not a syllable of his most-brilliant insight would go unrecorded.

  57. 57
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I thought NATO was a reciprocal agreement about defense, not a matter of mercenaries hiring each other and bargaining over the price.

    So I guess to paraphrase the immortal words of whoever it was who said it (1), we already know what Trump thinks our country is, now he’s just haggling over the price.

    [1] No, it wasn’t Churchill.

    Can we do superscript here? Asking for a friend.

  58. 58
    Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill says:

    @Corner Stone

    Sad part is that tonight, Trump could drop his pants, take a steaming shit on stage, and the villagers will coo about his great symbolic message about Hillary.

  59. 59
    Peale says:

    @Immanentize: He’s also promised to build the biggest military in the history of the world. 600 ship navies. So many tanks that they’d stack to the moon and back.

  60. 60
    dedc79 says:

    Trump’s foreign policy seems to be an extension of his “what have you done for me lately?” approach to business, politics, and his personal life.

  61. 61
    hovercraft says:

    @Shell:
    Between Atlantic City and New York I’m sure he has had to work with the gumbas, it’s just a fact of life. But the world is not a development project.

    In a deal, you always have to be prepared to walk. Hillary Clinton has said, “We will never, ever walk.” That’s a wonderful phrase, but unfortunately, if I were on Saudi Arabia’s side, Germany, Japan, South Korea and others, I would say, “Oh, they’re never leaving, so what do we have to pay them for?”

    This man has no business anywhere near the presidency.

    Walking away from a deal may lose you the deal and some money,walking away from international agreements will cost lives and reduce our sphere of influence. Someone needs to explain the difference.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Immanentize: It’s your imagination that many in the military support Drumpf’s positions on these things. I’ve heard, quite to the contrary, that the brass is very worried that this jackanapes might actually come to power and make their lives, and the lives of those who are in their charge, very very difficult, to say the least. The fact that they’re quoted anonymously to this effect is a sign of how serious they think it is.

    As I’ve written previously here, the officer corps is inculcated from the beginning on how they need to refrain from getting involved in partisan politics. Prior to the end of WWII, it was not uncommon for officers to have never voted at all. While the officer corps may be tilted “Republican” it’s more like “Republican” in the sense of the GOP of the 60’s.

  63. 63
    RareSanity says:

    @liberal:

    So which NATO member nation, bordering Russia, should we be most worried about deciding they want to unilaterally make an incursion?

    Latvia? Estonia? Lithuania?

    Much like the word “irony”, I’m not altogether sure what the working definition of “concern troll” is. But if I had to make an educated guess, you would be it.

  64. 64
    scav says:

    Wonder if he’ll refuse to uphold the Constitution if he’s not happy with his pay or powers as President, or if congress doesn’t hop fast enough to build a personalized twin-set of gilded domes next to the White House.

  65. 65
    Mary G says:

    I am starting to wonder if the Russians didn’t muscle in on Trump when his credit dried up, ordered him to run for president when he couldn’t pay and sent Manafort to keep him in line when it became obvious how much derp he could generate.

  66. 66
    Peale says:

    @scav: its great, really, to run it like a business. The problem is they run it like a back office function cut off from their customers. So its always, cost reduction this, and slow pay vendors that. Trump and build his Hoooge military that no one will ever laugh at and Estonia, as our new military customer, will simply demand better features, faster response, claim that they’ve got a better offer from China, and want a purple one for their kids. I doubt Estonia will pony up. And since we’ve already sunk a hOOje amount of money into Trump’s fearless Army, we’ll probably just drop prices.

  67. 67
    hovercraft says:

    @David 🍁▶️Hillary/Harley Quinn 2016▶️🍁 Koch:
    In order to treat him “fairly” the write up is always very forgiving to him, they try to smooth the edges off his most inflammatory remarks.

  68. 68
    RK says:

    Obama’s talked about NATO needing to pay up for years. What makes me laugh about Trump is that he’s always talking national debt when his tax plan will balloon it.

  69. 69
    celticdragonchick says:

    @liberal:

    Really? We were almost burnt to a cinder in the early 1980s because the Soviets were legitimately paranoid about Ronnie, and that’s “working”?

    Europe came out of two monumental bloodbaths in just two generations. NATO did a damned good job of stopping bloodbaths 3, 4 and 5.

  70. 70
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    As I’ve written previously here, the officer corps is inculcated from the beginning on how they need to refrain from getting involved in partisan politics. Prior to the end of WWII, it was not uncommon for officers to have never voted at all.

    Hasn’t overt partisanship gotten a lot more acceptable in the last few decades, partly in response to the perceived antimilitarism of liberals in and since Vietnam?

    [Edited to add a question mark at the end of that sentence]

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: He’s had a lot of Russian financing for his development deals and been connected to members of the Bratva for years.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/....._like.html

  72. 72
    LAO says:

    Trump is the living embodiment of a freeper comment section that has gained sentience. There appears to be no depth to his understanding of any issue. Shame on all of the Republican elites who endorse and support him.

  73. 73
    jl says:

    Some commenters posted old clips of Trump trying to talk serious policy back when he was presenting himself as a moderate Democrat. IIRC, he had the same talking points back then. It’s very difficult to tell when Trump really means something and when he is riffing or BSing. But I think there is evidence that he really means this bit about turning the international relationships of the US into a sleazy and risky shakedown scheme under the cover of ‘the US being treated fairly’.

    I’ve criticized NATO expansion, and frankly think it needs to be thoroughly updated, perhaps replaced. But there are many ways you could do worse than our historical policy towards NATO, and Trump’s nonsense about it is certainly example.

    I hope the horridly corrupt and incompetent and frivolous US corporate media is still capable of discussing actual policy. It if is, then Trump won’t win the election. But then, politically, I am living on faint hopes these days.

    Edit: from interviews I heard on the news of Trump supporters, there is one group that won’t be swayed a bit by Trump’s irresponsible and immoral positions. They are extremely ignorant and resentful bigots and fearful authoritarians who seem beyond reason. So HRC will have to appeal to independents and alienated moderate GOPers. She needs to go into full attack mode.

  74. 74
    kindness says:

    @liberal: – Oh I get it….you are a Troll! OK.

  75. 75
    Roger Moore says:

    @Peale:

    He’s also promised to build the biggest military in the history of the world.

    And Mexico the EU is going to pay for it!

  76. 76
    hovercraft says:

    @Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill:
    It’s Palin all over again, as long as he stays upright, doesn’t step on his dick (opps it’s too small to step on), and isn’t reduced to blubbering, his speech will be declared a triumph. The bar is so low, I’m not sure a snake could make it under.

  77. 77
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mary G:

    I am starting to wonder if the Russians didn’t muscle in on Trump when his credit dried up, ordered him to run for president when he couldn’t pay and sent Manafort to keep him in line when it became obvious how much derp he could generate.

    Whoa! Now you’ve got me wondering too!

  78. 78
    raven says:

    @kindness: Always

  79. 79
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Ideally, it would be as you describe. But I was in the grunts this side of ten years ago, and I heard the following things as official pronouncements from my chain of command:
    1) Hollywood is explicitly allied with terrorists
    2) Islam is the personal creation and instrument of Satan himself
    3) CNN stands for “Communist News Network”
    4) Barack Obama is a Muslim and will swear in to the presidency on a Quran, and this means the end of religious freedom in the United States.
    5) Barack Obama would be assassinated by a military member, with the Secret Service’s cooperation, within days of taking office.
    6) (Many, many times) the Iraq war was not just the best idea an American president had ever had, but the best idea anyone had ever had.
    And the like. Going back a little more than 10 years, I was instructed to pray that John Kerry would lose the 2004 election (I guess someone figured out that it would be illegal to instruct us in how to vote, but that praying instructions were perfectly above-board). Within a few days after 9/11, I was informed (again, by my official immediate superior) that 9/11 was Bill Clinton’s fault.
    What I’m saying here is that the US military is packed to the gills with wingnuts who think “rule of law” means “Republicans get what they want, no matter how stupid or destructive.” I’m honestly surprised that we haven’t seen military people endorsing Trump in uniform, or whole units posing with pro-Trump banners (like that Scout Sniper unit with the SS flag from a few years back; tell me THOSE guys aren’t Trumpists now), or things of that nature.

  80. 80
    sukabi says:

    @Immanentize: alas, there are still some journalists at the New York Times that DO know how to ask concise questions, and we should recall them back to the states to cover the dumpster fire.

    An American journalist from the Associated Press read out an old Johnson Telegraph column of which the subject was the woman who will in all likelihood become President of the United States in a few months time:

    “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” he said. “You also compared her to Lady Macbeth. Do you take these comments back or do you want to take them with you into your new job as some kind of indicator of the type of diplomacy you will practice?”

  81. 81
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I saw last night where you mentioned the strange unraveling of political norms this campaign season and how there is virtually no precedent in US history before now.

    I have been telling my friends and family much the same thing with respect to: 1) politics in 1859 to 1860 being pretty bad but not quite like this and 2) You need to go all the back to Cromwell and New Model Army to see examples of threats to jail and execute your political opponents.

    I would mention that I think Yancy and his fellow travelers were actually called fire eaters…not fire breathers. :)

  82. 82
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Serious question — How can the people in the military support this view? Trump seems to have a lot of support in those quarters….

    @Immanentize: I work for a Defense Contractor Not To Be Named and you could not be more wrong. The military is scared shitless of this idiot. As are most of the contractors. Like any other business, the military and their contractors need a stable environment to do well. Trump’s only selling point boils down to “I’m gonna fuck shit up. Every last thing I can get my hands on.”

    I predict very low turnout. They’re terrified of Trump and hate Hillary. Which is fine, I’m from the school that says active and reserve military shouldn’t vote anyway.

  83. 83
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @Mary G: That scenario is ridiculous. Right out of Tom Clancy or whoever his spiritual heir is.
    It is also scarily plausible, and much less ridiculous than many of the known facts about this nightmare of a candidacy, so…

  84. 84
    mike in dc says:

    Over/under on how long it takes for Trump to go off-script tonight: 20 minutes. I’ll take the under.

  85. 85
    MomSense says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Me three.

  86. 86
    bobbo says:

    He does not know what a trade deficit is. We import more than we export. He thinks “we are losing $800 million” – when we sell exports we are not getting paid the full value for them? Or something? And this is somehow related to the our military budget? WTF?!

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    You need to click across and read the whole thing to get a real sense for just how far Trump is, in regards to what he is proposing as a foreign, defense, and security policy from not just the consensus in the US over the past 70 years, but the norms of both parties, and those of our allies and partners. What Trump is proposing is a major, unilateral transformation of the international system and global order. It isn’t merely a hypernationalistic vision of America’s interest overwhelming everything. Rather it is a pay for play security shakedown scheme.

    As crazy as this stuff may be, it appeals to some isolationist libertarians, ancient isolationist conservatives, and also, perhaps to some liberals who want the US to be more like Canada, with a small to minimal military, no “unnecessary” foreign entanglements, and low profile military alliances. It doesn’t matter that this might actually make a military response more difficult, it satisfies the idea that the world will leave us alone if we don’t meddle and do not have military that is capable of meddling.

    But Trump’s ideas, which are consistent with some of his earlier statements on foreign policy, are ignorantly incoherent, and see everything through an unworkable “Art of the Deal” perspective. He has a nutty idea about the size of the military (gotta be huge), but no idea what it actually takes, in terms of material and manpower (personpower?) and diplomatic relations, to be able to deploy the military where needed. I imagine that he has this fantasy that we would not have any military bases in Asia, but that he could just pick up the phone and call the Japanese government if he needed to negotiate a deal to send the US military to the region if something happened to Japan or South Korea. As long as those nations were willing to pay for services rendered.

    On top of all this, many Trump supporters don’t even bother thinking about the consequences of Trump’s proposals, but simply believe that the military will be so big, and President Trump so powerful, that all nations will simply bend to his will and let the US do whatever it needs to do whenever it needs to do it.

    ETA: John Bolton is being interviewed by one of the Los Angeles radio stations covering the RNC. I will have to check this out later. I’m sure it will bring lots of laughs.

  88. 88
    lollipopguild says:

    The only thing I can think of at this time is the song from “lil abner” “Jubilation T. Cornpone”

  89. 89
    hovercraft says:

    @scav:
    Well he’s already contemplating changes to the first amendment, libel laws, banning media organizations. He calls all the shots at his company, he’s in for a rude awakening if he were god forbid the president is not a dictator, but he would try his darndest to increase his power. He would make Cheney and his unitary executive bullshit look like childs’ play.

  90. 90
    Anoniminous says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    they just couldn’t get that I’m not a cheese!

    No reason to despair. You are still young, you’ve got good prospects, a fine mind, and a Can Do! work attitude and we all have high hopes that you can still make it.

  91. 91
    Chris says:

    @Dadadadadadada:
    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Combining your two stories, I kind of wonder if it’s as simple as this – the people in charge at DOD (senior officers, defense contractors, Pentagon civilian leadership, etc) are terrified of Trump, but the rank-and-file are good with him.

    Which would kind of mirror the Republican Party as a whole.

  92. 92
    srv says:

    So many people terrified of change, wearing the chains of the status quo. Great job that’s done in Libya and Syria. Top marks all around. Pretty soon Ayatollah Erdogan will be kicking us out of Incirlik. How many billions will we have to bribe him with?

    Once France and Germany are under sharia, the Russians can have it. And we can fit plenty of bases in Britain if needed, just like WWII.

    the people in charge at DOD

    We have more Admirals than ships. It’s about time for them to be terrified.

  93. 93
    Gravenstone says:

    @Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill: “liberal” understands nothing. Only the voices in its head. They get garbled sometimes, but it tries so so hard to do as they say.

  94. 94
    dmsilev says:

    @mike in dc: Definitely the under.

  95. 95
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @liberal: The operative word is “almost”. Without NATO, the chances of us, the Russians, some part of Europe, etc., getting burnt to a cinder, in the early 80s or at another date, go way, way up. Pick a US/Soviet standoff at any moment between 1945 and 1991. Does the existence of NATO increase or decrease the chances of shots being fired? And we have no way of knowing how much Soviet adventurism was killed in the cradle due to them knowing they’d have to deal with all of NATO, and not just the targeted parties, if things went sideways, but I’m guessing it’s a lot.

  96. 96

    @Brachiator: Like all the other countries in the world are just going to roll over and play dead for DT.

  97. 97
    gogol's wife says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Not the worst theory out there.

  98. 98

    @mike in dc: I say 5 min. Before he starts his squinty eyed finger wagging.

  99. 99
    SFAW says:

    @liberal:

    Really? We were almost burnt to a cinder in the early 1980s because the Soviets were legitimately paranoid about Ronnie, and that’s “working”?

    Yeah, I remember the tension and heightened state of alert that far surpassed that of late October, 1962. Grown men and women, screaming “We’re all gonna die!!!” in the streets. Etc.

  100. 100
    gogol's wife says:

    @SFAW:

    If this person was alive in the early 1980s I’ll eat my hat.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RareSanity:

    He gave it away in his first comment: liberal is an isolationist who thinks we shouldn’t have anything to do with politics in Europe.

    Of course, staying involved in politics in Europe is how you avoid getting involved in shooting wars in Europe, but most isolationists can’t make that connection.

  102. 102
    philadelphialawyer says:

    To me, the issues are not whether NATO should have been expanded right up to the Russian border, whether the European nations should spend more on defense, or whether NATO should be re thought or even scrapped. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree on all these questions. The real point is that Trump, rather than addressing any of these issues in a responsible, above board and diplomatic way, would leave it all up to his whim of the moment. His off the cuff assessment of whether the US should or should not honor its most solemn treaty obligations. Gradual change viz a viz NATO, one that ensures a soft landing and transitional and post change stability is not, per se, a bad thing. Nor is reasonable concern that the burden of whatever defense arrangements exist be spread in a way that is fair to the USA. What is bad is the childish, one dimensional, moronic and simplistic Trump view that maximum unpredictability and uncertainty on the part of the US is somehow desirable. The “crazy son of bitch” thing only takes you so far, outside the world of Trump business bankruptcy and studied, deep pocketed litigational intransigence. In the real world, the US NOT being reliable, in terms of its most basic obligations under international law, makes things much, much worse. Trump is the classic asshole who thinks that just being more and more of an asshole in each and every situation is always the most desirable, most effective strategy.

  103. 103
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Well, he’s already talked three of the world’s hottest, most beautiful, classiest women into doing just that at least once each, so why should countries be any different?

    (That was snark. If you didn’t at least suspect that, seek professional help immediately.)

  104. 104
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @bobbo: Now add to his ignorance of the trade deficit his comparable ignorance of the budget deficit. There are a lot of things he knows nothing about. I wonder how many things he’s ever had to know about in his life. I’m guessing very few: “is this making me money?” and “will putting that near my body’s orifices feel nice?”

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: “liberal” is a chip off the same block as “myiq2xu.”

  106. 106
    Betty Cracker says:

    @philadelphialawyer: A thousand times this!

  107. 107
    SFAW says:

    @Mary G:

    I am starting to wonder if the Russians didn’t muscle in on Trump when his credit dried up, ordered him to run for president when he couldn’t pay and sent Manafort to keep him in line when it became obvious how much derp he could generate.

    Some smartass (i.e., yours truly) over at Josh Marshall’s place suggested that pro-Trump ads include the standard language:

    “Paid for by the Putin’s Patsy for President Committee. I’m Vladimir Putin, and I approve this message.”

  108. 108

    @philadelphialawyer: Other countries can play hardball too. You can’t take them all on simultaneously. Germany tried twice and failed.

  109. 109
    dmsilev says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I wonder how many things he’s ever had to know about in his life. I’m guessing very few: “is this making me money?”

    Given his serial bankruptcies, can we really count this?

  110. 110
    Cacti says:

    @srv:

    So many people terrified of change, wearing the chains of the status quo.

    The status quo for NATO is no World Wars for 70 years.

    I’d call that a status quo worth preserving.

  111. 111
    Miss Bianca says:

    @philadelphialawyer: So now I’ve gotten to this part (I have to take it slowly because of a), work, and b), extreme queasiness at the content):

    And we’ve got our soldiers sitting there watching missiles go up. And you say to yourself, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Now we’re protecting Japan because Japan is a natural location for North Korea. So we are protecting them, and you say to yourself, “Well, what are we getting out of this?”

    Seriously…“What are we getting out of this?”?!

    How could a guy this brain-dead manage to get this far in the process?

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dmsilev: I didn’t say he knew what to do when the answer was “no.”

  113. 113
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I wonder how many things he’s ever had to know about in his life. I’m guessing very few: “is this making me money?” and “will putting that near my body’s orifices feel nice?”

    @FlipYrWhig: JESUS I JUST ATE

  114. 114
    srv says:

    If you don’t believe in America First, perhaps you should think Dollar First.

    An expansionist NATO and subsidized EU don’t end well for your reserve currency dollar-denominated retirement funds.

    Enjoy your neoliberal catfood, you’ve earned it.

  115. 115
    Gian says:

    @Ben Cisco:
    he’s forest gumps box of chocolates candidate

  116. 116
    Corner Stone says:

    @mike in dc:

    Over/under on how long it takes for Trump to go off-script tonight: 20 minutes. I’ll take the under.

    Did you mean to type “2 minutes” ? Because otherwise that is the easiest betting line I have ever seen. I don’t think his very good brain can take the pressure of tonight. Add in the fact that there is zero chance he’s going to not say extended remarks about Ted Cruz…the 2 minute mark may be a pretty easy target also too.

  117. 117
    dmsilev says:

    @Miss Bianca: Well, we’re getting a Japan that’s not being bombarded by North Korea.

    And the question of “should Japan spend more and the US spend less to defend Japan” is a complicated one because of the history of what happened the last time Japan built a big military. I’m sure you know this of course, and I’m equally sure Trump doesn’t.

  118. 118
    Miss Bianca says:

    @srv: Jesus, to paraphrase Elvis Costello: “you used to be amusing, now you’re just disgusting.”

  119. 119
    dmsilev says:

    Story headline over at TPM: Trump Delegate Who Posts Under Handle ‘Whitepride’ Yanked From RNC

    Delegate is from Illinois, so Blues Brothers jokes about Illinois Nazis are now in order.

  120. 120
    Trollhattan says:

    @rump::
    When they were developing Dr. Strangelove they started out making a drama and it became so fearsome they realized it needed to become a comedy.

    Trump is trying to flip it back to the original.

  121. 121
    SFAW says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    Oh, bullshit. Of COURSE you can deal with foreign policy issues the same way you renegotiate the terms of your loan with the bank, when you owe them 10 gazillion bucks (not so much if you’re a small borrower, of course). I find it refreshing that Trump is calling a spade a spade, and is letting Khrushchev Brezhnev Gorbachev those Europeeing bullies (sans Russia) know that we WON’T BE PUSHED AROUND ANY MORE, and if they don’t like it, too bad.

    As long as it makes Pooty-Poot happy, then America is happy, right?

    I swear, if vote suppression were applied to the voters who are really too fucking stupid to be let anywhere near a ballot, then Hillary would get something like 623 Electoral Votes. Instead, we get Trump making it “interesting.”

  122. 122
    Corner Stone says:

    @srv:

    An expansionist NATO and subsidized EU don’t end well for your reserve currency dollar-denominated retirement funds.

    I…uhhh…hmmm. Isn’t that the exact recipe I want for my reserve currency dollar-denominated retirement funds? Granted if I had any, that is?

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dmsilev:

    To be fair, we’re talking about people who don’t seem to be able to make a connection between the number of mass shootings in the US and the easy availability of guns in the US.

    So, sure, let’s allow a country with a history of invading its neighbors to have access to arms again. What could possibly go wrong?

  124. 124
    Cacti says:

    @srv:

    If you don’t believe in America First, perhaps you should think Dollar First.

    And withdrawing from the world and putting up walls is the way to ensure the future preeminence of the dollar as the world’s default currency?

  125. 125
    scav says:

    It’s more than just NATO, it’s just the entire concept of being a trusted partner in any international setting. We’re also just out flagrantly pimping our military to the highest immediate bidder.

  126. 126
    Trollhattan says:

    @hovercraft:
    Day 1 in office: Trump issues fiat outlawing bankruptcy for anybody not named Trump. Luckily, Fiat refuses to start.

  127. 127
    RK says:

    Trump is the classic asshole who thinks that just being more and more of an asshole in each and every situation is always the most desirable, most effective strategy.

    It’s worked for him so far politically. (Not that his campaign hasn’t been an act bordering on white nationalist parody.)

  128. 128
    Anoniminous says:

    (after reading the transcript)

    Well, that’s a new and innovative* Foreign Policy.

    * is that the word I want?

  129. 129
    Keith P. says:

    This makes Ted Cruz look even better, believe it or not.

  130. 130
    Gene108 says:

    @dr. bloor:

    You do not need people to understand anything more than headlines that summarize to Trump = Bad, Trump = Dangerous.

    Nobody can tell you exactly what either Clinton has done that is illegal, but there have been so many headlines “Clinton scandal” people just assume something is wrong.

  131. 131
    Gravenstone says:

    @Original Lee:

    blames both Clintons for a shootdown in the Caribbean

    Shootdown, as in drug smuggling flight interdiction? Not like we’ve been stomping about through the Caribbean (Grenada aside) all that much lately.

  132. 132
    Miss Bianca says:

    I’m not sure how much more of this fact-free horseshit I can take. I’m forcing myself to read it but I just want to throw up.

  133. 133
    raven says:

    @dmsilev: You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. . .

  134. 134
    dmsilev says:

    @Anoniminous: Disruptive. I think disruptive.

    Or batshit insane.

    (random aside: OS X’s spell-check recognizes ‘batshit’ as a word. Thanks, Apple!)

  135. 135
  136. 136
    Trollhattan says:

    NYT has four decades of dealing with Trump, literally in their neighborhood. Either they have no institutional memory of who and what they’re dealing with or they’ve turned a blind eye to his character…deficits for so long they’re no longer able to see them at all.

  137. 137
    dmsilev says:

    @Mnemosyne: Or, for that matter, what could possibly go wrong by incentivizing China to build up its military even further?

    I mean, never mind actual experience with foreign policy or even cracking a history textbook, could we at least get some reassurance that Trump has once played through a game of Risk or Civilization? I would say Diplomacy, but I think we all know the answer to that one.

  138. 138
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Like all the other countries in the world are just going to roll over and play dead for DT.

    Trump seems to believe the same lie that Romney’s advisors believed. The lie that Boris Johnson and old school Brits still believe. That all it takes is for a strong white male (American or British) leader to stand up and assert authority, and the rest of the world will tremble, bow and yield.

    The worst thing is that Trump seems too dense to understand how little he understands about the world. I always thought that Romney was a coward who, if elected, would lead America into danger by foolishly trying to pretend to be a real, tough leader.

    But Trump is something else. A bully and a blowhard who tries to brashly turn lies into truths, he won’t see that he has led the country into danger or into a trap, and he would be utterly and completely unable to react intelligently after he has been cornered.

    And the crazy thing is that there are supporters of his who have bought his BS, hook, line and sinker.

  139. 139
    Mike in NC says:

    Donny Rotten just wants to be the boss of us all. King of the World!

  140. 140
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @Miss Bianca: By running against a bunch of losers for the votes of a bunch of hateful idiots and control of a fossilized party, that’s how.

  141. 141
    Punchy says:

    Who does he mention more often tonight….Cruz or Clinton? I’d say the line should be Clinton -2.5, but if the media keeps up this “Cruz bitchslapped him” motif, I’d have to flip that to Cruz -3.

  142. 142
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: It’s basically “all these people [*sneer*] understand is shows of force.” The Bush administration did the same thing constantly.

  143. 143
    Chris says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    In the real world, the US NOT being reliable, in terms of its most basic obligations under international law, makes things much, much worse. Trump is the classic asshole who thinks that just being more and more of an asshole in each and every situation is always the most desirable, most effective strategy.

    As with all things Trump, the seeds of this were kind of there in the GOP all along. One of the forerunners to this in the last decade or two would be nominating John Bolton, a man who made it clear that he thought most of the UN should just be scrapped and the United States made the only significant voice on the Security Council, as ambassador to the UN. That sort of sentiment has always had a lot of currency with the right wing base, but the fact that a guy like that was nominated to an institution he basically wanted to dynamite showed that the party leadership was perfectly willing to indulge it. The general sentiment of “the institutions upon which the post-1945 world order was built are expendable if they don’t always act as appendages of U.S. foreign policy” wasn’t exactly unknown in the previous administration.

    Trump is, of course, taking it to the next level. But for a lot of us, he’s just an epitome of trends that have been obvious and growing in the GOP for years, even decades, not just in the public but among the supposed VSPs as well.

  144. 144
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @mike in dc: Cornell man is trying to trick us. No way in hell the over/under would be twenty minutes! More like five.

  145. 145
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: At least Romney would know how to conduct himself in the quiet back rooms where decisions would be made and negotiations take place in his administration. Romney would also have some understanding of the terms of negotiations, and think about the consequences. Trump is capable of none of that.

  146. 146
    different-church-lady says:

    @jl:

    It’s very difficult to tell when Trump really means something and when he is riffing or BSing.

    Actually, it’s very easy: it’s always the latter.

  147. 147
    different-church-lady says:

    @mike in dc:

    Over/under on how long it takes for Trump to go off-script tonight: 20 minutes. I’ll take the under.

    Seconds. You meant seconds, right?

  148. 148
    sukabi says:

    @different-church-lady: you’re all wrong, not going to be “on script” at all tonight. Regardless of if drumpf thought last night would make him look “strong” the Zodiac has been stomping his dick all day taking all the attention for himself. Drumpf ain’t gonna let that stand.

  149. 149
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    Trump seems to believe the same lie that Romney’s advisors believed. The lie that Boris Johnson and old school Brits still believe. That all it takes is for a strong white male (American or British) leader to stand up and assert authority, and the rest of the world will tremble, bow and yield.

    Which is also not a surprise: this delusion is very widespread in the American public. I wouldn’t have wanted to speak for the British, but Brexit’s made it pretty clear that it’s just as widespread over there. It’s not particularly Trump’s brand of BS that people are buying, it’s been there a very long time. It’s why the “Reagan won the Cold War” meme was so quickly and broadly accepted (I think even Thatcher’s managed to get in on that meme).

    And not just among the teabagger rabble. As FYW and I both point out above, this was basically a guiding principle of the Bush administration.

  150. 150
    Seanly says:

    Good post. I too have been seeing Trump’s comments as a serious misunderstanding of NATO. He treats it like it’s a protection racket but we’re too weak to get the money out of the frail shopkeeps. And it makes me wonder if he’s in the bag for the Russians.

  151. 151
    scav says:

    @sukabi: Other irritations stealing his spotlight today are Ailes and even the utterly different in tone Carpool Karaoke.

  152. 152
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Extremist nut case John Bolton was “disturbed” by Donald Trump’s extremist nut case comments.

    I think that qualifies as crossing the streams.

    I fully expect the universe to implode any moment.

  153. 153
    Arclite says:

    @Immanentize:

    Alan, Serious question — How can the people in the military support this view? Trump seems to have a lot of support in those quarters….

    Maybe they’re tired of being deployed overseas all the time? Maybe they’re tired of being deployed in places that have the money and ability to defend themselves?

  154. 154
    Mike in NC says:

    Our military wasn’t designed to undertake 10-15 years of nation-building in failed states, and back-to-back deployments have ruined a lot of people. There are something like 20 suicides by veterans every day. But Drumpf will fix all that because he has a very good brain.

  155. 155
    sukabi says:

    @scav: yep, but those aren’t nearly as personal.

  156. 156
    scav says:

    Poor military people. Not being able to chose exactly where their job is located and pick and choose who they get to serve and protect in the national interest. “That customer has arms, she can load her own damn bags, I don’t like her and why isn’t this store closer to my house?”

  157. 157
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @scav:

    Carpool Karaoke.

    Oh god, I really must get my eyes checked. I saw “Ca—- Ka—-” and thought for a second it was “Captain Kangaroo.”

  158. 158
    scav says:

    @sukabi: I’m willing to overload, just to make that final personal one sting all the harder.

  159. 159
    sm*t cl*de says:

    So after so many decades of accusing their opponents on softness on communism, the Republican party are now rallying behind a candidate who is allowing Putin to dictate his foreign-policy agenda (and his approach to opposition).
    Truly Loki love us.

  160. 160
    catclub says:

    @dr. bloor: I bet a diligent researcher could find the website where Trump got that $800B defense budget and $800B trade deficit line.

    Zero Hedge?

  161. 161
    catclub says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Yeah, when I saw that Trump wanted to punish Iowa for dissing him by taking away first in nation status I wanted to cheer for that.

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I admit, I mostly scanned that, but I’m not getting how it was Bill Clinton’s fault, much less Hillary’s. The pilots were warned by the US government that they were pissing off the Cuban government and that they were endangering themselves, the pilots insisted on continuing the flights, and they got shot down. What were the Clintons supposed to do, declare war on Cuba?

  163. 163
    Tripod says:

    The old man is back again…..

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scav:

    I’m not sure where you’re getting that the military is enthusiastic about leaving their overseas postings in places like Germany or Japan. Source?

  165. 165
    Arclite says:

    Of course I’ll never vote for Trump. Ever. But I like this idea that he’s challenging the status quo. European nations spend 2% of GDP or less on defense, while we spend 3.5% and are perpetually stationed in their nations. Why must we be? They could be spending more on defense. Even if by some fluke Trump became the president, he couldn’t universally withdraw from NATO. The US withdrawal would have to be ratified by the Senate, and that would never happen.

    France and England are long-time allies over whom we’d sacrifice everything to protect, as NATO specifies. Are Latvia and Lithuania at that level? Would we risk nuclear war for them? If not, why are they in NATO?

    Trump is a buffoon, but he’s laying out a negotiating position. Of course we’ll never leave NATO, but from his position you can come to a place where European nations take a more active role and spend more money toward their own protection and let us spend our money things we’ve been ignoring, like on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, for example.

    As things stand now, nothing will change.

  166. 166
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    [Trump]’s had a lot of Russian financing for his development deals and been connected to members of the Bratva for years.

    Only a few weeks ago, Putin was fulminating about the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and vaguely threatening that he might have to invade Finland (because that worked so well last time). Didn’t take long for “Dismantle NATO” to find its way into Donnie’s foreign policy.

  167. 167
    scav says:

    @Mnemosyne: I didn’t mean to suggest that, was aiming more at mocking the idea that they, unlike most jobs, get to pick and choose details like that after signing up. Especially when all those eternal advertising slogans about seeing the world and people complaining about their entire deployment being in one of the Dakotas.

    ETA: and it’s not like current worldwide military spending is exactly the magic number that keeps us safe, so that our bloated budget is only up there because other nations aren’t devoting more of their cash on similar shit.

  168. 168
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @Arclite:

    let us spend our money things we’ve been ignoring, like on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, for example.

    That’s hilarious.

  169. 169
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @Botsplainer, Neoliberal Corporatist Shill:

    … Trump could drop his pants, take a steaming shit on stage…

    Actually, that will be his concession speech.

  170. 170

    Has the Saint of Burlington spoken. I see that his minions on Balloon Juice are echoing Trump’s talking points.

  171. 171
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s basically “all these people [*sneer*] understand is shows of force.” The Bush administration did the same thing constantly.

    Disagree slightly on Bush. Bush and Cheney were not just about shows of force. They thought that they understood how to use power, that they were the masters of the universe.

    Bush and Cheney were going to teach liberals and America a lesson. They were re-fighting the Vietnam War, but this time they were going to do it right. Defeat the enemy and rebuilt Iraq.

    Also the judgment of history is out on the degree to which Dubya personally wanted to whip Saddam’s ass for messing with his daddy.

    Bush and Cheney thought that they were masters of realpolitik, that they had reliable puppets in Chalabi and other Iraqis, and in Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf.

    The difference here may just be one of emphasis. Trump thinks he can make a deal or kick ass. Bush and Cheney thought that they could control the world and impose their will upon it.

  172. 172
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Arclite:

    Of course I’ll never vote for Trump. Ever. But I like this idea that he’s challenging the status quo.

    “Of course I’ll never vote for the crazy guy. But wow, I sure like his crazy ideas! I mean, why NOT shake up the primary institution that’s kept Europe from warring on itself – and by extension, the rest of the world – for 70 years? Why NOT treat it as a protection racket? Why NOT make it ‘pay for play’? I mean, I don’t take Trump seriously, but I sure think that he and Putin have a point here!”

  173. 173
    Arclite says:

    @Miss Bianca: Take the idea on the merits of the argument. Trump is a deal maker, so of course he’s going to start out in left field. But that’s not where you’ll end up. You’ll end up at a place where the USA is still part of NATO, but those strong European economies will contribute more and we’ll contribute less. How is that a bad thing?

    Why is USA-as-world-policeman such a sacrosanct idea as to be unchallengable or even undiscussable?

  174. 174
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Arclite: The idea has no merit. the arguments have no merit. The ‘idea’ is a steaming heap of bullshit from a bullshit artist who has NO FUCKING CLUE how the world works – that is, the world where he doesn’t get to con, cajole, and bully people out of their money and then walk away from the steaming, fly-buzzing shitpile he created.

    Look again at what Adam wrote above, because I can’t say it better than he did:

    Does NATO’s mission need to be regularly reassessed and periodically adjusted? Without a doubt. As do a number of the international security and economic institutions. But scrapping NATO, or any of these agreements, doesn’t make Europe or the world safer, it makes it less stable and more dangerous. And scrapping NATO and other agreements that form the basis of the current international system without any plan other than “nice country you’ve got there, be a shame to have anything happen to it, so the boys’ll be around every third Thursday to collect” is not just unacceptable, but stupendously reckless and dangerous. I am not arguing that the current system is perfect, that it hasn’t caused its own share of unintended negative outcomes, but it has been amazingly stable compared to what came before. What Trump is proposing isn’t.

  175. 175
    Barb2 says:

    The GOP cranks want to jail/hang Clinton over email, over a classified system that is badly flawed? None of these dumb fucks have even bothered to understand the whole story and that earlier SO S had to use outside email to do their jobs.

    Meanwhile all the time these du,b fuck GOP were diverting from the REAL security issue – Putin’s Puppet – Trump?? This is thousands of times worse.

    Putin’s Puppet!!!!

    So the traitors at the RNC are good with their candidate selling out? To whoever is the most flattering to Trump?

    My guess is the Trump fan base doesn’t give a damned. They are too full of hate. They are a mindless mob. Hate is easy – understanding the real world is hard. Most of theses himbos don’t even know what NATO is, nor the history.

    Trump trying to make everyone as stupid as he is.

  176. 176
    Fair Economist says:

    @Cacti:

    The status quo for NATO is no World Wars for 70 years.

    I’d call that a status quo worth preserving.

    I think it’s the longest peace in Western Europe since Marcus Aurelius. Not bad, really.

  177. 177
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Arclite:

    Trump is a deal maker, so of course he’s going to start out in left field.

    A sensible lawyer doesn’t start the negotiation of a minor car accident case with a demand for $100 billion. Threatening to turn an alliance into a protection racket isn’t an opening position in a negotiation; it’s batshit insanity.

  178. 178
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Arclite: This has now become the bullshit Trump argument of choice. Trump says some ignorant, stupid, or otherwise outrageous crap? Well, don’t be silly, he doesn’t really MEAN it, that was just his opening big. Art of the Deal, doncha know.

    Please.

    This guy has no fucking clue about FP. He would treat it just as he does his business dealings. And not by being a keen negotiator (which he is not), but just by being a complete asshole, and then using his muscle and money to get away with it. That works in bankruptcy court. That works when it comes to screwing some bartender or waitress out of her last week’s wages. But it doesn’t work here. He would be, if he were president, doing the worst possible thing he could do, ie signaling to Putin that it is OK to attack US treaty allies, if their defense spending is a dollar short of some “target.” And that could actually lead to WWIII.

  179. 179
    sukabi says:

    @Arclite: if he was a good deal maker, the banks in this country would still be doing business with him, he wouldn’t be screwing people out of their wages and other contracts they’ve entered into with him.

    He relies on extortion, bullying and dishonesty to get what he wants. There’s a name for that but it’s not businessman.

  180. 180
    wjs says:

    What Trump is proposing is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of not just the North Atlantic Treaty, but also almost every other international institution that has been established since the end of World War II. NATO was not just about opposing the Soviet Union. Rather it was part of several institutions that the US either was directly involved with creating or supported the creation of in order to change, hopefully permanently, the pre WW I and WW II dynamics of Europe. NATO militarily binds the European nation-states to each other. Every member of NATO’s member state’s militaries have, at this point, grown up in a Europe and served in their state’s militaries within the context of France and Germany and Britain and Spain and Italy and Greece and Portugal, etc, etc, etc all being allies. They’ve been on joint NATO training missions, participated in high stress, little sleep joint NATO exercises, and been assigned to joint NATO billets. Almost all of the senior officers and general officers/flag officers have been educated at multiple levels of American Professional Military Education. And because of the EU they and/or their relatives work, travel, and play all over Europe. All of this is intended to forge strong, tight, and effective bonds to prevent the parochial political, social, economic, and/or religious ambitions of people within each of these states being wrapped into nationalism and gushing forth in the death, destruction, and waste of The Thirty Years War, World War I, and WW II. The goal of these institutions and arrangements, as well as similar ones in Asia and other parts of the world, is to prevent the region’s disputes from becoming wars and those wars from engulfing the world. For over 70 years it has worked. Trump proposes to wreck it because he doesn’t think the US is being paid enough and this is a sign that our allies and partners don’t treat us fairly.

    You have a tremendous command of the history of modern Europe; this should be reiterated again and again, and into the faces of people who think we’re throwing money away with foreign aid.

    Thank you for this.

  181. 181
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @different-church-lady: As they used to say about LBJ:

    When he scratches his nose he’s telling the truth. When he crosses his legs he’s telling the truth. When he hitches up his trousers he’s telling the truth. But when he opens his mouth he’s lying.)

  182. 182
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @wjs: You’re welcome. What folks don’t realize is that our allies and partners that can pay – for basing, for participation in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program, for participation in joint and multinational exercises – already do. Those that can’t we subsidize. Some we subsidize by loaning them funds that they then repay by spending it on training or material (weapons and equipment and technology). And we do so in order to help them not lose face by needing this assistance.

    Is this stuff in our own self interest? Without a doubt. But that doesn’t also mean it isn’t in the interests of our allies and partners and the stability of the system we live in now, regardless of whether there is a better system we could eventually transition to.

  183. 183
    Tehanu says:

    TRUMP: If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, …

    We’re being properly reimbursed by the fact that we’re not fighting World War Three. As Adam and several commenters have pointed out, sure, there’s room to renegotiate our costs vs. the costs paid by the other members; heck, there’s room for improvement in everything — but Hair Furor doesn’t understand anything except cash money, and the idea that peace might have some value never occurs to him, because it’s not in his wallet and can’t be used to pay for his latest bimbo’s boob job.

  184. 184
    Paul in KY says:

    @hovercraft: Plus a militarized Japan has always been great for everybody!

  185. 185
    Paul in KY says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Holy shit!!! When John Bolton thinks you are out there in wackoland, well that just says it all….

    Jiminy fuckloops!!!

  186. 186
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: I personally am fine with the Cubans shooting them down.

  187. 187
    Paul in KY says:

    @Arclite: Arclite, pro tip: You do not want Germany spending more on defense Another pro tip: It is good to have Germany & France be in an alliance together.

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