Former Secretary of State John Kerry blasted President Donald Trump for what he described as a “disgraceful” speech to allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
During NATO’s annual summit on Wednesday, President Trump had some tough words for allies like Germany, whom he said was “totally controlled by Russia.”
He also reiterated his previous complaint that NATO allies paid a disproportionately low amount on common defense, something he has harped on in the past. In response, Kerry called his remarks “disgraceful” and “destructive.”
He said President Trump’s speech “flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States.” But where Kerry saw ”counterproductive“ rhetoric, Navy SEAL veteran Eli Crane saw a ”flare of brilliance.”
In a statement to IJR, Crane praised the president’s tough approach on NATO:
“If you are one of the many Americans discouraged and blown away by our president’s willingness to publicly call out our partners and allies, get in line and listen up. There is a flare of brilliance behind his strategy of publicly calling out those not paying their fair share and more importantly a flare of brilliance for those Americans who elected him. Trump is getting things done which is exactly what people who voted for him wanted him to do. People and critics are shocked and very confused seeing as how many of us have learned that leadership 101 dictates that you “praise in public and discipline in private.” It is pretty obvious that President Trump was either absent on this day of leadership school or quite possibly and more accurately he has realized that strategy hasn’t worked for those who have tried it before him.”
Crane argued that President Trump took action where his predecessors were ineffective. The president didn’t want to “dismantle NATO,” Crane said, adding that his past as a businessman helped him understand how to make NATO stronger:
“Make no mistake about it. President Trump does not want to blow up or dismantle NATO. As a renowned business man, he understands that we only have so many resources and doesn’t want the US to be alone and stretched too thin in our endeavors to stabilize the globe and keep the wolves at bay. He is actually trying to make NATO stronger and quite simply tired of others riding our coat tails and not paying their fair share. If you are new to this whole Trump-NATO feud much of the beef stems from the original agreement that all countries within the NATO alliance would allocate a minimum of 2% of their GDP or budget towards national defense so that we could all contribute and help each other out if an enemy outside of the alliance attacked one of its members to prevent another WW2.”
By making public how allies hadn’t paid enough, Crane argued, President Trump was making sure everyone knew about their “free loading.”
As a businessman himself, and as a former SEAL, Crane saw how the president’s strategy could be effective:
“People may not understand or agree with the way Trump does business but they had better get used to it. As the founder and CEO of my own business bottlebreacher.com I understand that there is often posturing and leveraging before any deal or progress is made. If the other side in any agreement believes you to be soft or unwilling to hold them accountable or walk away from a bad or lopsided deal you will probably end up on the short end of the stick like many of our recent leaders who exclusively negotiated from the standard diplomatic playbook. This is Trump’s style and the American people understood this even the ones who didn’t vote for him. He continues to be pragmatic, flexible and is willing to be the bad cop when necessary because it worked so well for him in business and it is clearly working for him now.
Of course, the president will use diplomacy if he believes it will work but if he believes if that has been tried over and over and always leads to failure he will think outside the box and act unconventionally. He will throw away the diplomatic manual and try another tactic. He has done this with North Korea, immigration and with trade to name a few. As a former SEAL who was taught to think unconventionally and to out think and maneuver our enemies I love this about him. Trump is much less concerned with how the the job gets done, who gets offended, upset or triggered and much more concerned if he is keeping his promises to those who turned out to vote for him because they were tired of the same politicians yielding the same poor results.”
Despite all the criticism, Crane also predicted that President Trump would see a second term and will put both the world and NATO in better shape.
“The thing that I am the most optimistic about is that I believe that we will continue to see the same rate of success throughout his presidency,” he said, “because he isn’t afraid of making a stink, ruffling feathers or throwing out ‘conventional wisdom’ and trying a different approach.”