By Umar Farooq
President Donald Trump suggested multiple times last year he wanted the U.S. to pull out of NATO, according to The New York Times.
Senior administration officials told the newspaper Trump had made the suggestion in private throughout 2018. During the NATO summit last summer, the president said he did not see a point in the alliance, with other countries lagging behind in their defense spending.
During the summit, Trump antagonized U.S. allies by questioning why other countries were not increasing their defense spending and also directly criticizing Germany.
NATO was created in 1949 as a military alliance for countries to act as a deterrence to the then-Soviet Union. A U.S. withdrawal, however, would be the "wildest success" Russian President Vladimir Putin could ever dream, the Times said late Monday.
Any potential move by Trump to withdraw "would destroy 70-plus years of painstaking work across multiple administrations, Republican and Democratic, to create perhaps the most powerful and advantageous alliance in history," Michele A. Flournoy, a top defense official under former President Barack Obama, told The Times.
In 2014, NATO member countries committed to 2 percent of their GDP toward defense spending by 2024, however, only four of the 29 countries have done so.
Trump has been highly critical of other NATO members, saying that the U.S. pays far more than any other country and protects allies that spend less on defense than they committed to.
When National Security Adviser John Bolton and then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis were drawing up the country's NATO strategy, they did not say whether a U.S. withdrawal from the alliance would benefit Russia or weaken America's influence in Europe, according to The Times.
When multiple reports surfaced after the summit indicating Trump had threatened to pull out of the alliance, the president did not deny the allegations and mentioned he had been firm with his allies.
Trump has pulled the U.S. out of more than one transnational alliance during his time in office. ‘
In the two years of his presidency, Trump announced the withdrawal of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Paris Climate Accords and the