Army General Schools CNN’s Cuomo on Trump’s NATO, Russia Policies

Between President Trump’s trip to the NATO summit last week and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, the liberal media had been trying to portray Trump as a bull in a china shop damaging relationships with allies and upending global norms. During Wednesday’s edition of Cuomo PrimeTime, CNN host Chris Cuomo attempted to continue that narrative only to have it turned around on him by Brigadier General Anthony Tata (U.S. Army Retired).

Cuomo was offended that President Trump was demanding NATO members pay the defense obligations they agreed to and was hoping to get the General to slam the President for it. “This idea that the United States will back you as a NATO ally if you pay your share, is that the right message to send,” Cuomo scoffed.

But General Tata didn’t buy into Cuomo suggestions. “I think any discussion on the threshold on decision-making with regard to combat or decision-making regarding coming to the aid of a NATO member is a good discussion to have,” he stated. “The President has been consistent on his message. You've got to pay your fair share. And you know, it’s a good discussion to have.

“But the idea that it's an if/then, if you pay, then I'll take you back. That's not the way it's supposed to work,” Cuomo pushed back.

Tata reminded Cuomo that there was no talk of evoking Article V (mutual defense) of the NATO agreement by Obama when allies were being attacked by ISIS. “[H]e flicked lint off his suit. Right? And did nothing....I think it's perfectly valid for the President of the United States now to have a conversation, what is the threshold [need to invoke Article V] and should member nations pay more,” he argued.

 

 

Cuomo chided Trump by suggesting he wasn’t thinking at as high a level as the General was. He then proceeded to use a 2016 clip of current National Security Adviser John Bolton criticizing then-candidate Trump by suggesting his thoughts on NATO were inviting an attack by Russia. “That's the situation we're in right now,” Cuomo declared. “Do you share the concern?”

“I don’t think that’s the situation we're in, Chris,” Tata dismissed. “I've been all over the Balkans. I've been in Bosnia, Croatia. I’ve been through Montenegro. I’ve been in Macedonia, Kosovo. Montenegro is well-protected. They may have some cyber-attacks or whatever but I don't think there's any threat against Montenegro right now from Russia.”

The General stepped up his rebuttal to Cuomo’s hysteria by expertly pointing out that Trump’s demands to have NATO members pay more would lead to a stronger alliance that could stand up to Russia more effectively:

I think it was just the President being very consistent with his messaging with regard to NATO. Member nations must pay their fair share is essentially what he’s been saying. And it makes the alliance stronger, Chris, if everybody does. And that sends a message to Russia that this is a stronger alliance. Meanwhile, our military has the largest budget it's ever had.

With Cuomo back on his heels, Tata hit him with a reality check regarding how “in the face of Russia,” the U.S. had been under Trump. “We have attacked Syria, a Russian state, for lack of a better term, that Russia has a naval base right close to where several of our attacks came in,” he recalled. “We killed about 200 Russian mercenaries and didn't apologize for it. We just steamrolled right through them as part of our ISIS fight. And so, Chris, we've been very tough on Russia.”

“All right, I hear you, General. I hear you. I'm just saying it's been a mixed picture given what we saw in Helsinki a little bit before,” Cuomo huffed as he threw in the towel.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

 

 

CNN's Cuomo Prime Time
July 18, 2018
9:50 PM Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO: Let's bring in Brigadier General Anthony Tata, author of the novel Dark Winter coming out this fall. Thank you very much. General, I'm not going to take a lot of your time. I just have one question. This idea that the United States will back you as a NATO ally if you pay your share, is that the right message to send?

BRIG. GEN. ANTHONY TATA: I think any discussion on the threshold on decision-making with regard to combat or decision-making regarding coming to the aid of a NATO member is a good discussion to have, because, if you remember, 9/11 was the first time Article V was enacted--

CUOMO: That’s right. In our defense.

TATA: -- by the North Atlantic Council and they employed eight measures to assist us as we went to Afghanistan, overflight rights, and early warning and that kind of thing. The President has been consistent on his message; you've got to pay your fair share. And you know, it’s a good discussion to have.

CUOMO [Interrupting Tata]: But the idea that it's an if/then, if you pay, then I'll take your back, that's not the way it's supposed to work.

TATA: Well, I think the way it's supposed to work is-- Let's look at what President Obama did when France was attacked, when Belgium was attacked, when Turkey was attacked, when Germany was attacked, he flicked lint off his suit. Right? And did nothing. He didn't even talk about Article V. France had over 260 people killed in two separate attacks by ISIS, an enemy that we were fighting at the time and there was zero discussion of implementation of Article V. So, I think it's perfectly valid for the President of the United States now to have a conversation, what is the threshold and should member nations pay more.

CUOMO: That's fine, if that’s what he was talking but his threshold is financial. He's not talking about some of the higher concepts that you are. That's why I wanted to bring you in for this conversation. I understand your point, it's just not the point he's making. And it's interesting that making it about money, saying you have to pay into NATO. First of all, as you know, and the audience should know, there is no such mechanism, nobody pays into anything, it's about your commitment to pay into your own defensive preparations. And you know what he's saying goes against what one of his main advisers says. Listen to what Bolton said in 2016 about the idea of what Trump is saying right now.

JOHN BOLTON: He offers this hypothetical: If a Baltic State is attacked by Russia, that he would decide then whether or not to come to their aid, only after reviewing whether these nations have fulfilled their obligations to us. That is an open invitation to Putin to attack.

CUOMO: That's the situation we're in right now. Do you share the concern?

TATA: I don’t think that’s the situation we're in, Chris. I think Montenegro-- I've been all over the Balkans. I've been in Bosnia, Croatia. I’ve been through Montenegro. I’ve been in Macedonia, Kosovo. Montenegro is well-protected. They may have some cyber-attacks or whatever but I don't think there's any threat against Montenegro right now from Russia.

And so, I think it was just the President being very consistent with his messaging with regard to NATO. Member nations must pay their fair share is essentially what he’s been saying. And it makes the alliance stronger, Chris, if everybody does. And that sends a message to Russia that this is a stronger alliance. Meanwhile, our military has the largest budget it's ever had.

CUOMO: Right.

TATA: And we are a stronger military. We have exercises going on all across Western Europe. We're in the face of Russia. We have attacked Syria, a Russian state, for lack of a better term, that Russia has a naval base right close to where several of our attacks came in.

CUOMO: I hear ya General.

TATA: We killed about 200 Russian mercenaries and didn't apologize for it. We just steamrolled right through them as part of our ISIS fight. And so, Chris, we've been very tough on Russia.

CUOMO: All right, I hear you, general. I hear you. I'm just saying it's been a mixed picture given what we saw in Helsinki a little bit before. We’ll see what happens after it and I'll have you come back to help us make sense of it. General, thank you.

TATA: Thank you, Chris.

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