John Bolton Claims Donald Trump Would Have Disbanded NATO in a Potential Second Term

John Bolton believes that former President Donald Trump would have dissolved the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during his second term.

The former United States national security adviser and long-time fixture of US foreign policy circles went on a Washington Post Live event on March 4, 2022, where he declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “waiting” for the US to potentially withdraw from NATO. 

During this live event, Bolton received a question about how close Trump was to getting the US out of NATO.

“Yeah, I had my heart in my throat at that NATO meeting (in 2018). I didn’t know what the president would do. He called me up to his seat seconds before he gave his speech. And I said, ‘Look, go right up to the line, but don’t go over it,’” Bolton responded.

“I sat back down, I had no idea what he’d do. I thought he’d put his foot over it, but at least he didn’t withdraw then,” he added. “In a second Trump term, I think he may well have withdrawn from NATO, and I think Putin was waiting for that.”

A report by Press TV noted that Bolton’s comments were met with criticism from Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Trump.

“John Bolton is only happy when America is at war. President Trump led America into one of the most peaceful times in US history, which included growing investment into NATO by $50 billion,” Budowich declared in a statement.

“John Bolton is just mad he was fired before it could be spent,” he continued.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki offered her take on Bolton’s during a press briefing on March 4. She asserted that most Americans were “grateful” that President Joe Biden is at the helm of American foreign policy decisions.

“I saw those comments —  you know, another reason why the American people are grateful — the majority of the American people — that President Biden has not taken a page out of his predecessors’ playbook as it relates to global engagement and global leadership, because, certainly, we could be in a different place,” Psaki stated.

PressTV noted that last December Bolton was calling on NATO to “stand up to Russia” during a time when tensions between Russia and the American-led military alliance were mounting. 

On December 28, 2021, Bolton published an article listing off “misjudgments” the West made with regards to Russia and what he believes is part of its “hegemonic agenda.”

Bolton claims the West has “made two fundamental mistakes in the years since Russia’s new flag was first raised over the Kremlin.”

“In an understandable rush to add to NATO states escaping the defunct Warsaw Pact and resuming their rightful places in the West, America, in particular, failed to delineate where the expansion would end,” he declared in the article. He argued that the West created a “grey zone,” which Russia is now taking advantage of.

Bolton asserted that Putin was “outmaneuvering” his Western rivals. In addition, Bolton observed that China has diplomatically supported Russia.

On the campaign trail, former president Donald Trump described NATO as “obsolete” and constantly took European countries to task for assuming their military budget requirements.

Per NATO guidelines, member nations must spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense matters. The US currently spends 4% of its GDP on defense.

“Trump was right in 2016 that NATO serves no purpose, it is obsolete,” James George Jatras said to Press TV in an interview. 

“There is no military threat to the countries of Europe, so why do we have this alliance and why is the United States in it,” Jatras stressed.

“This alliance should have been disbanded decades ago but it sort of survives as kind of a zombie alliance that goes forward under its own inertia.”

Jatras is correct in noting that NATO is outdated. Europe is a rich continent that should be able to handle its own defense matters. Trump’s instincts were initially correct about NATO being obsolete. However, he never followed through with trying to extricate the US from the alliance. Instead, countries like Montenegro and North Macedonia were added to NATO under Trump’s watch. 

As for Bolton, he is one of the most seasoned hawks in the DC swamp and is someone who hates the idea of a restrained, non-interventionist foreign policy. Trump made a huge mistake in hiring Bolton in the first place. Overall, Trump’s presidency was filled with countless misses when it came to foreign policy. 

Should Trump be elected again or another national populist figure assume the presidency, they should make it a point to get out of NATO and give Europe full-blown security autonomy. All self-respecting nations, especially those with the resources, should be assuming their own defense functions. The U. is not obligated to be the world police or the country that’s always holding other nations’ hands.

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