DG: You are certainly right that Trump is far from an ideal candidate to be raising the issue of NATO's lack of value. He is rightly viewed as a racist, divisive figure. But no other candidate is addressing the issue that NATO is a huge taxpayer expense to America's taxpayer, while providing no real benefit in terms of enhanced security. One of the problems is that there is no real peace movement on the political left of American politics, which was evident in the Sanders campaign. Now the Sanders campaign was indeed path breaking when it came to class domestic politics and economic inequality. By my reading his campaign was the first major presidential campaign since 1948 that really addressed the issue of class, and Sanders deserves great credit for reintroducing this issue. However, Sanders was clearly weaker on foreign policy. And so far as I am aware, he made no major criticisms of NATO or of America's policy of confrontation toward post-communist Russia.
JB: You could be right about Sanders and NATO. I simply don't recall any statements on the subject. Care to make any predictions about how NATO will fare in the debates and general election?
DG: My hope is that there will be a regrowth of an authentic peace movement on the political left, which will link up with the issue of inequality. What needs to be emphasized is that America's hundreds of overseas bases, in Europe and elsewhere, constitute a real drain on the living standards of middle and low income people in the United States, and do little to enhance security. Indeed, one could argue that most security threats the US faces today results from previous failed interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Perhaps Trump's criticisms of NATO will help trigger a more generalized debate on foreign policy, not only from the right but from the left as well.
JB: Thanks so much for talking with me, David. Our conversation demonstrates to me that things are rarely black and white and sometimes ideas worth exploring come from the most unexpected places.