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‘NATO is not a golf club’

August 2, 2016
Randall StoneProfessor of politcal science Randall Stone. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

During this political season, and particularly in the weeks since the Republican and Democratic conventions, voters have heard a lot about Russia’s possible involvement in the U.S. presidential election process. Coupled with Donald Trump’s recent statements about U.S. involvement in NATO (as well as his own campaign manager’s connections to Ukrainian politics and Russian president Vladimir Putin), this has left political science professor Randall Stone wondering, “whether this is a novel written by Tom Clancy, or whether this is an episode of House of Cards.”

On WXXI’s Connections with Evan Dawson, Stone described some of the issues with the rhetoric coming from the Trump campaign. Stone is the director of the University’s Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, which offers a variety of programs and initiatives in advanced research, undergraduate education, and community outreach.

Stone expressed concern that, in a recent interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump “did not seem to understand how NATO works.”

“NATO is not a golf club where you pay your dues in order to be a member. There are no dues. … There is nothing that Estonia is required to pay in order to be a member of NATO.”

Stone also pointed to the involvement of Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort in Ukrainian politics, “and always on the wrong side from the perspective of either a Democratic or a Republican administration.”

In his work to reshape the image of his client Viktor Yanukovych, Manafort encouraged the latter to avoid providing details about specific programs or policies, and instead focus on the terrible economy and the ethnic and national divisions within the country. “And it’s remarkable how similar that message is to Donald Trump’s.”

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Category: Voices & Opinion