To say that Donald Trump is the most history-ignorant U.S. president that ever served would be to use superlatives with as much abandon and as little supporting research as does Trump himself. But we do know that in Donald Trump, the U.S. has a president who is grossly uninformed about history. Not only that, he is our president because, in part, the people who elected him “don’t know much about history,” either, and are damned proud of it.
Trump’s supporters seem to see a kind of righteousness in Trump’s (and in their) ignorance of history. Had they understood (or cared about) the importance of having a leader who could navigate treaties and historic global relationships, perhaps Donald Trump would never have stumbled into the Oval Office. It’s an embarrassment that so many citizens of our country have so little knowledge of its past, its place in the world, and its friends and enemies. But the bigger embarrassment by far is that our 45th president has perhaps even less knowledge, and less desire for knowledge, than his supporters do. It’s more than embarrassing, though – it’s dangerous.
In a recent example, Donald Trump, “leader of the free world,” proved that he barely knows what NATO is, or why it was formed. He insulted member nations (our allies), and in his lack of knowledge of the Obama administration’s 2014 formal agreement already in place with NATO countries, tried to bully them into making greater contributions to its defense fund. At the same time, showing that he was unaware of the real figures, Trump exaggerated the dollar amount of the United States’ contribution. Overall, he likely weakened the U.S. stance with an organization that would help protect U.S. security.
Though the Soviet Union, per se, no longer exists, a former Soviet, Vladimir Putin, president of Russia and adversary of the United States, is alive and well. Putin would like nothing better than to weaken or even dismantle NATO. Trump, however, has demonstrated his apparent ignorance of Putin’s history as well as the history of the American relationship with the former Soviet Union and what is currently Russia, by repeatedly maligning our crucial allies while cozying up to our enemy.
Since Trump’s supporters don’t appear to be familiar with this history, and since they don’t appear to see the importance of understanding this history, it’s no wonder they can continue to make excuses for Trump, even in the face of his astonishing behavior. It’s a threat to our country’s well-being, however, when Trump, a man who ignores history to this extent, is leading us all.
Trump again questions the entire point of NATO | CNN [2018-07-18]
Trump pressures allies to boost NATO defense spending | Fox Business [2018-07-12]