Jeffrey Goldberg: Obama ‘Himself Has Rattled America’s Allies’

Posted on 5/29/2016 2:45 PM in Politics


For more on the president’s historic trip, we are joined by “The Atlantic”‘s Jeffrey Goldberg.

Jeffrey, let’s start with the conversation I was having with Senator Johnson about this notion of being rattled. The president — it was kind of extraordinary for the president to talk about the nominee of the other — of another party in America. What did you make of have comment?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, “THE ATLANTIC”: It is interesting that he would do that.

It’s not since Eisenhower talked about Kennedy, I think, like that overseas that we have seen this. What is interesting, there’s a small irony here, which is that the president himself has rattled America’s allies in ways that we haven’t seen by talking about free- riders, people who take our money, but don’t do anything for us.

On the other hand, I think the president, on the continuum of rattling, foreign leaders understand, even though they are sometimes distressed by the things that President Obama says, they understand that he accepts and understands the post-World War II international order led by the United States.

And so when I talk to people from South Korea, Japan, Britain, France, other allies, they question whether Donald Trump even understands that post-war international order that has brought 71 years of stability and an absence of world wars to the planet.

DICKERSON: What is the practical reality of being rattled? In other words, if countries are rattled, what — they could just be nervous and have another drink and move on. But what do they do?

GOLDBERG: We see that in the Middle East, to the extent that our allies in the Middle East are rattled by President Obama’s decision to somewhat withdraw from their affairs.

We see them going to war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia going to war in Yemen, for instance, that the U.S. doesn’t find helpful. That’s a destabilizing thing. So what happens, when countries don’t feel like they’re protected by the United States — this is the burden of being the sole superpower.

When they feel that they’re not protected, they go off in their own directions, and sometimes those directions are dangerous to the United States.

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