The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views.

How Donald Trump Is Making Us Insecure

Jul 21, 2016

by

Recent comments by Donald Trump in the New York Times should and will frighten Americans and our allies around the world. In response to questions about the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) the Republican nominee suggested that he would abandon our friends and fail to protect our allies if they didn’t pay a high enough price. “If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries...then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, 'Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.'”


“No man (or woman, I’d add) is an island unto itself...we are all part of the main” is what poet John Donne once wrote.

Is Donald Trump really putting a gun to the heads of our allies? “Those countries” that Trump dismisses and threatens are our friends — 27 countries who are helping America around the world. These are countries that just voted to help us defeat ISIS. These are countries that are training and capacity-building in Iraq and supporting our military presence in Afghanistan. These are countries that are doing joint surveillance with us to stop terrorists. These are countries that are working with us to beef up security in countries in the Middle East and North Africa that are targets of radical Islamic extremism. These countries are part of the America family of nations and have been for decades.

What Donald Trump is calling into question are basic tenets of American security — diplomacy, use of the military, intelligence-sharing, and alliance-building. With his words, he is threatening to undermine American post-World War II leadership and our fundamental ability to project our power and interests around the world. With careless rhetoric, Donald Trump risks destroying America’s power and credibility around the world at a time when Russian belligerence is high, and when Europe is struggling to contain the spillover from the Syrian war.

Now is not the time to give Vladimir Putin room to maneuver. This is not a moment to cause panic in Europe. In the wake of Russian incursions into Ukraine, Trump is undermining the confidence, for example, of the Baltics from which many American ancestors hail. By doubling down on his attacks on NATO as “obsolete,” he is putting our principles in jeopardy.

“No man (or woman, I’d add) is an island unto itself...we are all part of the main” is what poet John Donne once wrote.

This is not a time for America to be isolated and alone in the world. This is a time for collective security and collective action. From Russian global meddling to climate change, from instability in the Middle East to the spread of diseases like Zika, we need the best minds working together to solve big problems.

Let’s not undermine our own security. We can’t hunker down and hide under our desks. America never shrinks nor shirks its responsibility when the going gets rough. We are tough. We stand up for our values and we lead. As we always do.

Note from the CPD Blog Manager: This piece originally appeared at the Huffington Post.

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