Inept at best and deliberately insulting at worst

Europe doesn’t like Trump.

When President Donald Trump lectured NATO members on their contributions to the trans-Atlantic alliance, he demonstrated a lack of understanding about how the group works and potentially alienated the US’ closest allies, analysts said.

The speech comes at a time when Washington’s longstanding partnerships with the UK and Israel have endured friction over intelligence gaffes by the new administration.

“Diplomatically, the speech was inept at best and deliberately insulting at worst,” said Jeff Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

I’m going to go with both inept and deliberately insulting. That’s very Trump, after all.

Trump’s remarks Thursday, alongside his continued misrepresentation of how the alliance works and his failure to reaffirm US commitment to the group, is likely to further unsettle US allies, sowing doubt about US leadership and possibly making it harder for NATO leaders to convince their people of the need to spend more on defense.

Ivo Daalder, a former US ambassador to NATO, said that “this was a perfectly scripted event to deliver a very simple message that every president of the United States has delivered at the first possible opportunity, which is that the United States stands firmly behind its commitment to the defense of NATO.”

“We signed a treaty, we uphold it. It was really easy,” Daalder said. “And the fact that he didn’t do it was disturbing and will take a long time to overcome in Europe.”

They did their best. They were warned that he’s a giant baby, so they arranged things for a giant baby.

NATO leaders had envisioned this summit as an introduction to the new US President, adjusting the format to make it more accommodating for Trump, changing the date, shortening the day-long proceedings — in part by telling leaders to make speeches briefer — and making a casual dinner the centerpiece of the gathering.

They had someone pre-chew his food for him; they put stuffed animals in his chair; they ordered gallons of Diet Pepsi and all the ice cream in Belgium.

In Brussels, Trump charged that “many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years” and implied that these countries owed that money to the United States.

“This idea that countries owe money is flat-out wrong,” said Rathke. Countries commit to the 2% target for defense spending — a goal only five NATO members currently meet — within their own countries. The money is not paid to a central fund, though Trump continues to allude to a system like that, raising questions about his ability or willingness to listen and learn.

“Anybody with NATO expertise knows that there is no such thing as ‘debts’ owed by NATO allies for what they haven’t spent in the past,” Rathke said.

Well you’ll have to excuse him: he’s very stupid.

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