Trump at a NATO Summit in Brussels, July 2018
Reinhard Krause / REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump’s distaste for international cooperation is well known. For decades, he has denounced U.S. allies for “taking advantage” of the United States. According to a recent article in The New York Times, he has repeatedly expressed a desire to withdraw the United States from NATO. But international cooperation covers a lot more than treaty alliances and multilateral organizations. Every year, countries sign dozens of security agreements covering everything from biological weapons to defense research. The United States used to be a leading player. No longer. Under Trump, the flood of new security partnerships has slowed to a trickle. That is bad news for U.S. security.


Military alliances, such as NATO, are the best-known instrument of security cooperation, but they cannot address every concern. Governments also sign specific agreements on a wide range of issues, military exercises and training, peacekeeping, counterterrorism, personnel exchanges, defense

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  • BRANDON J KINNE is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis.
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