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NATOME: Donald Trump's 'beautiful' new acronym for expanding NATO into the Middle East

President Donald Trump delivers remarks on proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, at the White House, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Washington.
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, at the White House, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Washington. Copyright APEvan Vucci
Copyright AP
By Julie Gaubert with AP
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"I'm good at names, right?" Trump asked reporters.

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Donald Trump has congratulated himself on coming up with a “beautiful” new acronym for extending the NATO military alliance into the Middle East.

He says it should be called NATOME.

It came as Trump, speaking in the week the US assassinated Iran military chief Qasem Soleimani, called for the alliance to help more in the region.

The US president said it should expand into the Middle East because the problems were international in scope and that he had discussed his idea with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

"I think he was actually excited about it. I actually had a name. NATO, right, and then you have ME, Middle East. They would call it NATOME," Trump said.

"I'm good at names, right?" he said and noted how the new North American trade agreement — previously NAFTA — is called USMCA for the US, Mexico and Canada.

"What a beautiful name - NATOME,'' Trump added, pronouncing it "Nay-TOE-me."

Little other detail has emerged as to how NATO, a 70-year-old group relying largely on American leadership and firepower, might replace the US in Iraq or other Middle Eastern conflict zones.

NATO members consist mainly of European countries, as well as Canda and the US.

The Trump administration has been at odds with some leading NATO members, including Britain, Germany and France, over the US decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement that had been brokered during the Obama administration.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defence and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, said that Trump's latest call for NATO to get more involved is partly about his long-sought desire for allies to share more of the burden and partly about sending a message to Iran that he has “full backing of its European allies”.

“I think he's going to be disappointed,” Carpenter added. “He wants to have it both ways - that the United States can do whatever it wants, wherever it wants, whenever it wants, but that we can still call on allies to support policies in which they have had no input or some cases have had grave doubts about.''

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