"An empty policy basket makes almost impossible the kind of substantive debate on which democracies depend. And while it is true that ambiguity sometimes can be useful in diplomacy, a lack of clarity also can be dangerous, enticing rivals to be aggressive and allies to seek new friends.
The latter risk does not seem to worry Mr. Trump: He describes the fundamental U.S. alliances that have helped keep the peace for the past half-century as essentially obsolete. “NATO is costing us a fortune,” he said. “I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved.” He asked why Japan and South Korea, which already pay a substantial share of the costs of U.S. bases, don’t pay 100 percent. We asked: Does the United States gain nothing by a forward presence to help maintain the peace? “Personally, I don’t think so,” Mr. Trump said. It might have made sense when we were “a very powerful, very wealthy country,” but “we’re a poor country now.”