Soon after former President Donald J. Trump took office, his staff explained how NATO’s mutual defense obligations worked.

“You mean, if Russia attacked Lithuania, we would go to war with Russia?” he responded. “That’s crazy.”

Mr. Trump has never believed in the fundamental one-for-all-and-all-for-one concept of the Atlantic alliance. Indeed, he spent much of his four-year presidency undermining it while strong-arming members into keeping their commitments to spend more on their…


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