Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Trump Says NATO Is Obsolete - Most In U.S. Disagree
During his campaign, Donald Trump had disparaging words about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and even inferred that the United States might pull out of the organization. That bothered many, both in the U.S. and Europe, but it was thought that if he became president he would temper his views, and realize how important NATO is to defending the West.
That hasn't happened. Just a few days before his inauguration, Trump gave interviews to a German newspaper (Bild) and a British newspaper (The Times) -- and he told both that he thought NATO was obsolete. That has many Europeans worried that the United States (under Trump) might not fulfill its obligations to NATO (and the defense of Europe) -- especially since in that same interview, Trump had good things to say about Russia and talked about removing the sanctions on that country.
Is Trump going to abandon Western Europe and embrace Russia? It certainly looks like a real possibility (especially considering the help he received from Russia in the presidential campaign).
The real question at this point is -- what do the American people think? Are they ready to let Trump abandon NATO? The YouGov Poll did a survey on American attitudes toward NATO on January 18th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults (with a margin of error of 4 points).
They found the American people are much more supportive of NATO than Trump -- with only 15% opposing NATO (& 47% supporting it), only 16% believing NATO doesn't have an important role in defending the West (& 46% saying it does have an important role). Those are pretty large pluralities in favor of NATO.
The third chart shows what the American public thinks NATO should be focusing on -- military attacks or terrorist attacks. A majority agrees that NATO should put equal emphasis on both. And that seems to be exactly what NATO is doing these days.
The American people disagree with Trump. They think NATO is important. If Trump tries to abandon it, he will just create more trouble for himself.