Congress Approves Bill (Aimed At Trump) To Prevent Any President From Exiting NATO

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 17, 2023 - 12:35 PM

Buried within the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was just passed in both the House and Senate is an amendment which aims to prevent any future president from withdrawing the United States from NATO.

One of the legislation's co-sponsors Tim Kaine (D-VA) described that it "reaffirms US support for this crucial alliance that is foundational for our national security. It also sends a strong message to authoritarians around the world that the free world remains united."

Of course, none of these Democrats and Congressional hawks are worried for a moment that President Biden would ever entertain the idea of leaving NATO, but this is certainly a scenario Republican presidential nominee frontrunner Donald Trump has floated at various times over the years. The bipartisan legislation was also led by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Trump has in recent weeks said it's something he would consider if reelected to office. He's long called the Western military alliance which stood down the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War a "paper tiger" at this point.

Via Reuters

He spent his first term aggressively denouncing NATO members which had failed to meet the alliance's commitment to spending at least 2% of GDP on their defense budget.

As early as the year 2000, Trump has been on record as favoring the idea, for example writing in is book The America We Deserve that "pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually."

On the other side of this is Biden who has called the NATO pact "sacred". But Trump has long criticized the kind of Washington foreign military adventurism that being at the helm of the alliance invites. From endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to NATO spearheading regime change operations from Libya to Syria, Trump and his supporters have lambasted such quagmires. But in reality it's more often Washington that conducts military adventurism under the guise of 'international support' via NATO (for example, Obama's Libya intervention used NATO as a fig leaf).

In response, the Biden administration has played the 'Russiagate' card and smeared Trump with cozying up to Putin, including in a statement in October:

“Donald Trump's threats to weaken NATO and side with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin undermine America’s strength on the global stage and threaten our national security,” campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa said in a statement. “As president, Donald Trump spent four years cozying up to dictators and making our country less safe. The idea that he would abandon our allies if he doesn't get his way underscores what we already know to be true about Donald Trump: The only person he cares about is himself. And, it’s exactly why Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office.”

Yet the reality remains that NATO expanded into Montenegro and North Macedonia during the years of the Trump presidency - and Trump's vows to negotiate an end to the Russia-Ukraine war would likely be predicated on maintaining a powerful NATO to use as leverage.

Still, Trump's past rhetoric has clearly made Congressional leaders and deep state hawks very nervous. It seems they are also preparing for a potential Trump victory in 2024.